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Old 01-18-2018, 09:30 PM
 
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Our family is planning a trip from Nashville, TN to Branson, Missouri for spring break at the end of March. I have long wanted to visit the Crater of Diamonds State Park and thought we could head West from Memphis to the park spend a day and then head due north and visit Branson.

Assuming it might be a pretty long day at the park and then we would head north to Branson are there any suggestions for a town along the way to spend the night that had several hotel options in the Holiday Inn Express or Hampton Inn budget range to split the drive up? Also, an exit with plenty of places to eat? Is there anything along that route that we should try and make a point of seeing as we head north to Branson?

I understand the park rents everything you need to dig, however, can any of you who have experience recommend what we could bring our self to save money? Such as buckets, small spades or picks, Etc.

Thanks for any suggestions.
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Old 01-18-2018, 11:31 PM
 
Location: The Natural State
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I have stayed at the Queen of Diamonds Motel in "downtown" Murfreesboro several times, on business trips, and it has always been clean and quite. They serve a continental breakfast. There is also an good café just around the corner but I don't know their schedule or hours.


Tools - will depend on the weather. The soil can be mud, or packed soil, although they do plow it up from time to time. Unpredictable. If you bring your own you'll need, at least, a "sharpshooter" shovel if you have room to pack it, and if no room, a garden trowel[s]. And some type of screen, not larger than 1/8 inch. Some of the gems are quite small. Oh, and there are also semiprecious gems there. Oh, a military entrenching tool would be perfect and not take up much packing space.


I have visited the mine only one time and got more kick from "people watching" than actually looking for gems. And plan on getting dirty. The one time I visited, a family of tourist were passing through and decided to stop and look. The lady was dressed in all white - shirt, shorts, socks, and tennis shoes. When they left she was all gray!


Enjoy, and have a safe trip.

Last edited by Old Fossil; 01-18-2018 at 11:39 PM.. Reason: more info
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Old 01-19-2018, 12:26 AM
 
133 posts, read 315,388 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Old Fossil View Post
I have stayed at the Queen of Diamonds Motel in "downtown" Murfreesboro several times, on business trips, and it has always been clean and quite. They serve a continental breakfast. There is also an good café just around the corner but I don't know their schedule or hours.


Tools - will depend on the weather. The soil can be mud, or packed soil, although they do plow it up from time to time. Unpredictable. If you bring your own you'll need, at least, a "sharpshooter" shovel if you have room to pack it, and if no room, a garden trowel[s]. And some type of screen, not larger than 1/8 inch. Some of the gems are quite small. Oh, and there are also semiprecious gems there. Oh, a military entrenching tool would be perfect and not take up much packing space.


I have visited the mine only one time and got more kick from "people watching" than actually looking for gems. And plan on getting dirty. The one time I visited, a family of tourist were passing through and decided to stop and look. The lady was dressed in all white - shirt, shorts, socks, and tennis shoes. When they left she was all gray!


Enjoy, and have a safe trip.
Thanks for the hotel suggestion and tools needed for sure.
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Old 01-19-2018, 06:39 AM
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March might be a good time to go. There could be some rain by then to loosen the dirt up, and it won't be oppressively hot yet.
Petit Jean state park and/or Mt. Magazine could be a nice stop along the way to Branson. Also Eureka Springs possibly depending on which way you go. All this stuff would be off the main thoroughfares, but might be along a more direct route.
If you cross I-40 in the right spot, there will be some hotels along there. State parks have cabins. Mom & pop's on the back roads, but definitely check reviews.
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Old 01-19-2018, 09:41 AM
 
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I've also stayed at the Queen of Diamonds and it was nice and clean, but admittedly it was a looong time ago...I guess about 25 years ago.

I'm not getting the timing of your trip, though....are you saying you would be starting out from Memphis and wanting to get to the Crater of Diamonds in the same day and then hunt for diamonds and then take off again toward Branson (finding somewhere to spend the night along the way), all in the same day? 'Cause, whew....long drive from Memphis to Murfreesboro. And another long drive from there up to Branson.
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Old 01-19-2018, 11:13 AM
 
133 posts, read 315,388 times
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Originally Posted by Luvvarkansas View Post
I've also stayed at the Queen of Diamonds and it was nice and clean, but admittedly it was a looong time ago...I guess about 25 years ago.

I'm not getting the timing of your trip, though....are you saying you would be starting out from Memphis and wanting to get to the Crater of Diamonds in the same day and then hunt for diamonds and then take off again toward Branson (finding somewhere to spend the night along the way), all in the same day? 'Cause, whew....long drive from Memphis to Murfreesboro. And another long drive from there up to Branson.
We are xoming from Nashville so like 3 1/2 hours to Memphis. We woukd probably spend the night between Memphis and Murfreesboro finish the next day....dig....and then spend night there as suggested or travel a couple hours towards Branson. Just depends on how long we dig which I would not anticipate more than 2-4 hours.
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Old 01-19-2018, 01:26 PM
 
Location: The Natural State
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Luvvarkansas View Post
I've also stayed at the Queen of Diamonds and it was nice and clean, but admittedly it was a looong time ago...I guess about 25 years ago.

I'm not getting the timing of your trip, though....are you saying you would be starting out from Memphis and wanting to get to the Crater of Diamonds in the same day and then hunt for diamonds and then take off again toward Branson (finding somewhere to spend the night along the way), all in the same day? 'Cause, whew....long drive from Memphis to Murfreesboro. And another long drive from there up to Branson.
Luvv, my last stay at the Q of D was this past October. It was still clean and quite
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Old 01-20-2018, 09:55 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Old Fossil View Post
Luvv, my last stay at the Q of D was this past October. It was still clean and quite
Good to know! We'd really like to go back to the Diamond Mine sometime in the future. Both times we went it was summer.
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Old 01-21-2018, 04:42 PM
 
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We also like to dig for quartz while we are in the area near Murfeesboro. You will actually find some quartz when you dig. The best place we have been to so far have been the Coleman Mines near Jessieville. You will get dirty, but it is fun.
You only have to spend an hour or two there and will come out with a load of treasure.

I don't know which route you are planning to use to drive North. I looked it up and there were three options at roughly five hours each to get to Branson from Murfreesboro. I wouldn't drive very far at night if you aren't used to driving through mountains. Some of the roads are pretty twisty and being rural, it's dark. You will usually see a lot more deer and other animal on the road then. Some of it is a beautiful drive so I would go during the daylight when you can see and it is safer.

Mt Nebo has a lodge and cabins and a magnificent view. We stayed there a few years back. It's not cheap, but would be a nice stop if it isn't too far out of your way. Petit Jean is also beautiful and has more to do, but it might be further out of your way. You will want to do more than just pass through so you would need to spend a day.

Blanchard Springs Caverns might be a nice stop for the route home. The caverns are beautiful. They will route you closer to Memphis. You might be better off working your way down to Little Rock from there.
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Old 02-14-2018, 02:34 PM
 
Location: Minnesota
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Bring something to sit on. A short stool, lawn chair or even a old towel so you are not sitting directly on dirt or crouching, for any adults anyway. A hat to keep sun off head. Some soap and wash cloths to clean up yourself a little before you leave.

Its been a while but the first time my husband and I went thinking this is crazy but as soon as we got there we were digging fools.. Didn't find anything. It was crowded so we just dug in dirt and sifted with the rental equipment, noticed some serious people even brought giant patio table umbrellas for shade out in the field of dirt.

The second time not many people and brought our 8 year old son. There are some covered, for shade, troughs of water you could bring a bucket of dirt to and rinse a small shovel full in your screen. Not many people so it wasn't crowded at the water troughs. It was much more pleasant and easier doing that than digging and sifting dry dirt.

Expect to get dirty, possibly muddy, and possibly wet. Enjoy the strange adventure with humor.

I'm from Minnesota but my in laws lived in Arkansas. They were prim and proper and thought we were crazy doing this, oh well.

If you have small kids those inexpensive sand box shifters, bucket and shovel OK, but the dirt is black and heavy so a garden trowel/hand shovel would hold up better.
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