on October 3, 2006
This could have been the more morbid part of our trip. A stop by a place that makes...headstones, and other stone memorials. Rock of Ages is one of the nation's largest makers of such items. In Barre, you are able to see how these statements in stone are made, as well as take a chance of making your own.Don't be confused. There are two locations for the same company. Coming down the road, the first one you are going to stumble across is their "visitor center". A newly constructed building behind their plant. There, you will find the history of Rock of Ages, and see examples of their work. It is also there where you can board their tour to the quarry. A bus will take you down the road to their quarry to see where all their fine rock comes from.While we did not take the bus tour (due to time), it does leave every 45 minutes and their prices seemed reasonable ($4/adults, $1.50/kids 6-12)You can go on a short self-guided tour by going into the processing plant in the rear of the visitor's center. You end up on an overlook looking down onto the manufacturing floor. Here, you can watch the hard men and women creating lasting memories for many.For the record, while a good portion of their business are headstones, they do also manufacture benches and stone monuments for larger buildings and cities.It was truly remarkable to see simple slabs of rock turn into magnificent monuments. They also have an outdoor granite bowling alley on-site at the visitors center. While we were there, kids were having a kick out of bowling and resetting their own pins.If you leave the visitor center, and turn left out of their parking lot, about a mile down, you will see their stone activity center. There, kids can take part in activities like grinding flour with a granite wheel and constructing a quarry truck (for a fee).One neat thing you can do is sandblast for yourself. You can purchase a tile, with a wax design on it. You then put it in a box and blast away, with the supervision of a Rock of Ages employee. When you are done, you sit and painstakingly remove the plastic covering and remaining wax, to unveil a sandblasted piece of work that you can take home.You can walk to the back and look at the rear part of the quarry and see a wonderful pond. They also have some free samples of the blasted rock. They appear to be leftover shards, so kids need to be careful, but with the right pieces, they could bring home something.All in all, it was a good experience. Price was reasonable, given that we did the free self-guided tour, and only bought one souvenir.Kids and families, I think, would have a good time at Rock of Ages, even if it is where eternal memories are made.
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