There are lots of quirky things about Arkansas and the rock shops near Hot Springs rank right up there. As a kid, I remember our family stopping at rock shops while on vacation in the Ouachita Mountains. Last week while driving on Scenic Highway 7 to Hot Springs, I began seeing signs for Coleman’s Rock Shop.
I couldn’t resist stopping.
Deja vu for sure. I’m certain my younger self walked through Coleman’s in 1970-something.
I don’t know why, but I’ve always had an affinity for rocks. I’ve been known to drag rocks home in my suitcase from vacation destinations to use in the garden. I imagine that even our videobsessed* kids of today would enjoy stopping at a rock shop to explore. Boy oh boy, Coleman’s has every imaginable and unimaginable crystal, glass, rock, geode, and stone available, not only in a natural state, but also blown into vases, formed into eggs and paperweights, and shaped into earrings and pendant necklaces.
You know how typically when you return (as an adult) to a childhood place, everything seems minuscule and swallowed by time? This was NOT my experience at Coleman’s Rock Shop. Not only was the retail store crammed with shelves and displays, but out back, the rock yard was just that—yards and yards of rocks organized by category and color.
And bonus!—for a mere ten bucks, customers can mine crystals at the Coleman quartz mine (15 miles away) keeping every treasure found. I seriously intend to do this soon. Anyone want to join me?
Let me take you back for a moment…
For years and years, a small, glass jar of rocks (bought possibly at Coleman’s) sat on the window ledge in the bedroom I shared with my sister. Although my jar of rocks somehow disappeared over the years, I remember it clearly. The jar had originally been a baby food jar, and the rocks were assorted and sparkly and magical. How I managed to lose something so special, I have no idea.
I wondered if Coleman’s still sold those jars? I began searching, certain I had fallen into a time warp. I met my younger self around every rock display and heard my own words trapped along the paneled walls. Momma, can I get this jar of rocks? Pleeeeeease?
Just before giving up and returning to my car, I spotted an entire bottom shelf packed tightly with baby food jars of rocks. The same rocks? I’m gonna say YES because they were exactly as I remembered. The lids may as well have been covered in 1971 pixie dust.
My heart did a flip flop.
I searched for the perfect jar, the one most like my original with a black lid and containing a lump of fool’s gold inside.
And I found it.
For the bargain price of a jar of rocks, I took a trip back in time. My new jar of rocks sits on the windowsill of our bedroom, just as it should.
Grace Grits and Gardening
Farm. Food. Garden. Life.
*made up word
Check out these other area rock shops.
The Who, Bargain (1971)