My family and I took a thousand mile road trip from central Pennsylvania to Western North Carolina to specifically go to Emerald Hollow Mine. They are the only emerald mine in the world open to the public for mining, and recognized as one of the most unique & interesting geological locations in North America. Along the way we stopped at the Virginia welcome center where we learned why Virginia is for Lovers (I honestly didn't know).
She thought it would be fun to make the peace sign in the O :D
Then we stopped in at Black Dog Salvage, which only added fifteen miles to route. There we saw the largest pot, or urn, that we've ever seen in our lives, which they had for sale for $1,200.
At Emerald Hollow we spent two days and we DID get an emerald, as well as dozens of other indigenous gemstones and minerals. We highly recommend the Mine to anyone interested in this type of thing. They also are very educational, consistantly working with local schools as well as educating the public.