BlogVirginia August 10, 2023

Yes, Virginia, We Even Have Fairies in the Great State of Virginia!

Yes, Virginia, We Even Have Fairies in the Great State of Virginia!

Greetings Folks, I have been to Fairy Stone State Park a few times over the years, and always wanted to find these fabulous little magical Fairy Stone crosses. Here is my success story in finding these treasures.

What are fairy stones?

Fairy Stones are Staurolite crystals (especially Staurolite pseudomorph) are found in only a few places around the world. Besides Virginia, which has the most abundance of them, they can also be found in Georgia, New Mexico, Brazil, and Switzerland.

Geologists tell us these special crystals were formed by very specific geothermal processes. In this article for the the park explains:

“Originally, this stuff was formed about seven miles underground.  As the mountains began to rise up, it brought the fairy stones to the surface.” She’s referring to the Blue Ridge Mountains that run along Virginia’s western border.

The crystals form into little tiny “bricks” that, under pressure, twist in 60 degree or 90 degree angles, forming crosses. Technically, geologists describe it like this (in an article for “The mineral commonly occurs as twinned, six-sided crystals that sometimes intersect at 90 degrees to form a cross. (An intersection angle of 60 degrees is more common.)”

“Once above ground, the action of wind and rain dissolved the softer surrounding stone called schist to reveal the precious cross-shaped minerals within.”

Fairy Stones come in three varieties

The Roman Cross, the St. Andrew’s cross, and the Maltese cross The rarest and coveted fairy stone is the Maltese shape. You will also find quite a few single “brick” shaped fairy stones that do not intersect.

What about the parking fee?

Here is the little twist I am only sharing with you right now. To hunt for fairy stones, you don’t even need to go inside the park. You read that correctly, as the access to hunt for these beautiful little stones is right off Highway 57, and while there is a parking fee inside Fairy Stone State Park, you can go there to hunt fairy stones at no charge.

Where to find them?

The parking area for the happy hunting grounds to find fairy stones is adjacent to this service station on Highway 57 near Bassett Virginia, just a few miles from Fairy Stone State Park.

While they may be found all over Patrick County if you know where to look (according to a source of mine), the official hunting grounds for fairy stones is right off Highway 57. I would definitely go to the park first to get the hunting map that gives you more information about fairy stones that you will want to keep, and it will also explain how special these little crosses really are.

You are not allowed any digging tools, but you are allowed to dig. So the best tool in the toolshed will be your hands, just plop down and start scratching the surface a bit. Because they are the same iron-ore color as the dirt, you may have to give it a few minutes for your eyes to adjust to see them.

Helpful Hint

Listen carefully to my helpful hint, this may be the difference between discovering many fairy stones, to not finding any at all. The best place to find them is around tree roots, as they seem to come to the surface after heavy rain.

You can keep as many as you find and typically, if you are like me you will want to find all four varieties and keep the best of those.

Visit the park in Virginia

There are many reasons to go to Fairy Stone State Park, pack a picnic, hike the trails, swim at the beach, go to the playground, camp, bike, fish, paddle, special events, classes, and geocache, etc. so for all of these reasons I recommend going to the park and spending some good family time there.

Legend of the Fairy Stones (source unknown)

Hundreds of years before Pocahontas father, Chief Powhatan, reined over the land that is now Virginia, fairies dance and played around springs of water with naiads and wood nymphs. One day an elfin messenger arrived from a city far away and brought news of the death of Christ. When the fairies heard the story of the crucifixion, they wept and as their tears fell upon the ground, they crystallized to form beautiful crosses.

Historic superstitions held that possessing one of these rare stones would protect its owner from illness, accidents, and even ward off a witch’s curse.

And so goes the legend of how these unique mineral formations came to be. In truth, they are brown staurolite, a combination of silica, iron, and aluminum. Together these minerals crystallize in twin form creating a cross-shaped formation.

They are found only in rocks that have been subject to great heat and pressure such as was found millions of years ago in the geological history of the formation of the Allegheny Mountains.

While various formations of fairy stones may be found around the world, nowhere are they more perfectly cross-shaped or abundant than in the area in and around Virginia’s Fairy Stone State Park near the town of Bassett.

Found only in rocks once subjected to great heat and pressure, the mineral was formed long, long ago, during the rise of the Appalachian Mountains.

The stones are most commonly shaped like St. Andrew’s cross, an “X,” but “T” shaped Roman crosses and square Maltese crosses are the most sought-after. The rare staurolite stones are found elsewhere but not in such abundance as at Fairy Stone State Park.


If you don’t find any fairy stones or wish to purchase one on a card, leather rope or as a set of earrings, then visit the park’s gift shop.

This park has a campground, cabins, yurts, a lodge that sleeps up to 16, and a conference/event center called Fayerdale Hall, call 800-933-PARK for more information on overnighting at this park, or hosting a special event here.

Fairy Stone State Park is located just 15 minutes from Martinsville Virginia, 1 hour from Roanoke, or 1 hour 30 from Greensboro, NC.

Fairy Stone State Park, located in Patrick County, Virginia, is the largest of the original six state parks that opened on June 15, 1936, and is home to the mysterious “fairy stones”, or staurolite. The stone, prevalent in the region, may have the St. Andrew’s or Roman shape. Wikipedia

Address: 967 Fairystone Lake Dr, Stuart, VA 24171

Phone: (276) 930-2424

Established: June 15, 1936

Area: 7.089 miles

The park is open daily from 8 a.m. – 10 p.m. The park office/gift shop is open Sunday – Thursday 8 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. and Friday – Saturday 8 a.m. – 8:30 p.m.

Mercantile: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Open daily through August 8th, then weekends only through Labor Day.

Snack Bar/ Concessions: 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Open daily through July 30 then closed for the season.

Boat house: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. (last boat can go out at 5). Open daily through August 8th, then weekends only through Labor Day.

Contact station: open daily

Cabins and Fayerdale Hall are available for rent. Guests must bring all linens: sheets, pillowcases, towels, bath mat, and kitchen towels and wash cloths

Check-in for overnight reservations is 4 p.m. and guests may proceed directly to their site after that time.

General Information

Home of the legendary fairy stones, this park is well known for its 168-acre lake adjoining Philpott Reservoir. The park is just minutes from the Blue Ridge Parkway. Attractions include cabins, a campground, group camping, an equestrian campground, a conference center, hiking trails, lake swimming, rowboats, canoes, paddleboats, kayaks, picnicking and two playgrounds.


From I-81 near Roanoke, take Route 581 to Route 220 South to Route 57 West to Route 346 North (Fairystone Lake Drive).

From I-77 near Hillsville, take Route 58 East to Route 8 North to Route 57 East to Route 346 North (Fairystone Lake Drive).

From Greensboro, take Route 220 North to Route 220 North bypass at Martinsville, then Route 57 West to Route 346 North (Fairystone Lake Drive).

From Richmond, take Route 360 West to Route 58 West to Route 220 North Bypass at Martinsville to Route 57 West to Route 346 North (Fairystone Lake Drive)

Its address is 967 Fairystone Lake Drive, Stuart, VA 24171-9588; Latitude, 36.792468. Longitude, -80.116840.

Drive Time: Northern Virginia and Washington, D.C., six hours (from Washington, DC); Richmond, four hours; Tidewater/ Norfolk/Virginia Beach, five hours; Roanoke, one hour

Park Size

4,741 acres, 168-acre lake adjoining the Philpott Reservoir.

The beach is open and swimming fees apply daily 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. when lifeguards are on duty. Beach will be guarded daily through August 13, after which time it will be unguarded.

The bathroom at shelter 3 is open and we have porta-johns located at the following parking lots: Office, Shelter 1, Amphitheater/Trailhead and at the Boat Ramp on Union Bridge Road.

Visitor Center hours vary daily. Programs are posted monthly on the database and brochures are at the office and Visitor Center.

Home of the legendary fairy stones, this park is also well known for its 168-acre lake adjoining Philpott Reservoir.

Added Note

The park is just minutes from the Blue Ridge Parkway and has days of outdoor activities waiting for you! Pitch your tent under the stars or cozy up in a cabin or yurt. Rent a kayak, canoe, or paddleboat and cruise the lake. Unleash the kids on the swimming beach where they’ll have hours of fun in this playground on the water. Hike a different trail each day, and don’t miss the waterfall! Bring your horses and camp right beside them after a day of exploring all the equestrian trails. Enjoy one of the many programs and guided excursions led by park interpreters. Bring your mountain bike for exciting rides through the forest.

Try your luck at hunting fairy stones!  Staurolite crystals (aka “fairy stones”) are naturally occurring crystals found only in a few places on earth.  Fairy Stone State Park is one of those special places! Just down the road from the main entrance of the park, you will find the “Fairy Stone Hunt Site,” which is the most abundant place to look. Anyone can find a fairy stone. It just takes a little patience and a good eye. Be sure to visit the Fairy Stone State Park Visitors Center to learn all about the various formations of the stone and its local lore.

Camping and Other Lodging

The Fairy Stone State Park offers traditional tent camping, RV camping, cabin rentals, lodge rentals, and even yurts!

Campsites have a fire ring with grill, picnic table, 12′ x 14′ sand pad, and parking for two cars (not including camping unit). Leashed pets are allowed. Most sites have electric and water hook-ups, but no sewer. All sites are shaded. Bathhouses and dumpsites are located nearby. You can even rent a campsite next to your horse at the park’s equestrian campground which includes stables.

Cabins and Lodge offer all the comforts of home with a rustic feel while you explore the park including A/C, bedrooms, full bathrooms and kitchens, living areas, porches, private parking, fireplaces, and great views. Pets allowed.

Try out a Yurt! These sturdy shelters are a cross between a tent and a cabin. Each yurt sleeps three and has a large wooden deck, a picnic table, a fire ring with cooking grate, and one queen-sized & one twin-sized trundle pull-out bed. Like a tent, yurts have no electricity or water, but water is available at the adjacent bathhouse. No pets allowed in the yurt.


Fairy Stone State Park has eleven trails, many of which are multi-use. Spend all day exploring the tail systems with your bike, your horse, or your own two feet!

Fairy Stone Lake

Between Memorial Day and Labor Day, Fairy Stone Lake is open to swimming and paddling! Enjoy fun in the sun the water playground, diving dock with slide, lifeguards at the ready, concession stands, picnic shelters, sandy beach, shade trees, locker rooms, and boat rentals!


Ample pan-fish are just waiting to be caught, so it’s the perfect place to teach the kids fishing skills. For more serious anglers, the lake offers some good largemouth bass. Bluegill, crappie, catfish, and October-stocked trout round out the park’s lake fishing. Just up the road is Philpott Lake, which offers good largemouth and smallmouth bass fishing. It’s also a good lake for walleye. Fishing is allowed with a valid Virginia fishing license. Fishing licenses are sold in the park office. A fishing area is accessible to visitors with physical disabilities. Canoe, kayak, and paddleboat rentals are available on a first-come, first-serve basis.


Hunting is allowed only in designated areas. About half the park’s land is open to hunting. Hunting is never allowed near the public facilities – i.e., the beach, cabins and campground. Next to the park is the Fairystone Farms Wildlife Management Area, which has a 5,000-acre deer management area. Visit the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries website for more information on hunting.

Happy Fairy Stone Hunting!