The venues sit across the Mettawee River from each other and are connected by an attractive footbridge making it easy to visit both. The Slate Valley Museum is the younger sibling, recently celebrating its 20th anniversary. Inside its attractive building the geology, industry and culture of slate come to life. Here you'll see displays honoring the ingenuity and hard work required to produce a useful product from a places natural resources. The museum exudes a justifiable pride in the areas history and continuing enterprise that's both upbeat and inspiring.
"Stories in the Landscape". He encouraged us to use our senses, and some commonsense, to see, touch and even taste rocks to figure out their history - how they were made, what has happened to them. His specialty is glaciation and the landforms it leaves behind but he also hopes to write a book on slate in the near future. Mango is also working on a project for general readers about the areas geology. This is exciting news. The Taconics have been extensively studied but most of the findings are in scientific papers that are hard to find and very tough sledding for us non-academics.
About 450 million years ago the churning of plate tectonics brought an arc of large islands into collision with Laurentia's east coast. The crustal plate carrying the islands pushed the accumulated rock off the seabed and up onto land in a huge mountain range. Using a shovel to push a few inches of snow off the driveway is a good analogy. The snow piles up, slides in stacked slices, or folds and breaks. That's what happened to the rocks with some of them experiencing just the right amount of pressure to align the minute clay minerals resulting in parallel cleavage and creating the metamorphic rock called slate. Subsequent erosion exposed the slates at the surface, people came along and an industry was born.
The place has long served as a focal point for nature lovers. Many years ago I helped Delight lead a series of outings to places such as the Dorset Bat Cave, South Bay and Lost Pond Bog in Vermont. We always had fun groups of knowledgable naturalists and I remember learning a lot on every trip. First Friday is a great way to get acquainted, and perhaps involved, with the Pember.
If you want to spend a whole Friday, or any other day, in the Granville area here are a few suggestions:
- The SVM has pamphlets describing walking tours in the village and driving tours in the valley. Both would be fun. I remember the time I was wandering backroads over towards Lake St. Catherine. I came across a bunch of quarrymen just getting done with work. In short order we were sharing a sixpack and talking rock. I learned more about slate in that half-hour than in a lifetime of reading. Thanks guys, for both the beer and the insight.
Haystack summit view - photo by Jana Mason from mountains website
Haystack Mountain - photo by Loretta Taylor from mountains website