The first marble quarry in Danby, Vermont, was an open pit-now rubble wreathed in New England forest. Instead, Vermont Quarries tunnels into the mountainside below the pit to reach the precious Vermont Danby marble, and the result is "gallery quarries" with ceilings as high as 100 feet. That sight alone would make the four-hour drive from Secaucus, New Jersey, worth it to Joshua Levinson, whose company, Artistic Tile, is one of the largest of Vermont Quarries's distributors. "It's like the Grand Canyon-pictures cannot prepare you," Levinson says. "You walk into the birthplace of this stone."
Saws with diamond-impregnated chains slice the marble from the walls, like wire cutting through Vermont cheddar if cheddar came in blocks 30 feet high. The claw of a digger topples the blocks and drags them toward the cave mouth, where another chain saw gets them down to size for processing. "These are big boys with big toys, literally moving mountains," Levinson jokes. Wire saws are used for slicing these smaller blocks into slabs and smoothing their faces. Chunks that have already been purchased sit outside, while those with no project designation are stored in a magnificent marble chamber. 877-237-4097; artistictile.com .