The Freedly Quarry sits high above the small town of Dorset, Vermont, as a lasting reminder of the small town’s colorful past. Dorset played host to a huge mining boom in the late 1700s due to the high quality and uniquely colored marble that sat in the bedrock of the mountains surrounding the town.
From the year 1785, when the first marble quarry broke ground, up until the 1920s, marble from the Dorset quarries found its place in the architecture of cities like New York and Washington, D.C. It wasn’t until the invention of the cheaper and more versatile Portland cement that the demand for the marble dropped and forced many of the quarries to largely go bust.
Unlike other quarries in the area that were primarily just large holes dug into the Earth, the Freedly Quarry is unique in that it’s a deep, arch-shaped cavern dug directly into the east slope of Mount Aeolus. The cave features many offshoot passageways and a large pond of water that freezes solid in the wintertime, making it a perfect unique spot for ice skating.
During the summer months, off-road vehicles can be found making the trek into the cave, making use of the old jeep trails that snake their way through the Green Mountain forests to get to the entrance.
Know Before You Go
From the intersection of Morse Hill Rd. and Dorset Hill Rd., go north for about 2 miles on Dorset Hill Rd. to a dirt/jeep road on the left. There is a small parking lot about 100 feet up this jeep trail road, and from there the mine is about a mile's walk on a steady but mild incline. (4x4 vehicles with high clearance can drive the entire 1-mile distance to the cave.)