Ringing Rock Music & The Columcille Megalith Stones

In June of 1890, Dr. JJ Ott went out to a sprawling, natural quarry field in northern Bucks County, PA to collect a bunch of rocks. When he arrived, he made sure to pick up a variety of rubble, enough to “play” a chromatic scale of  pitches. These rocks were special as they made a “ringing” sound (like a metal pipe) when struck by a mallet. Dr. Ott turned the stones into an instrument and at the Buckwampum meeting in Stony Garden, he had the Pleasant Valley Band accompany him, at what may have been the first ever “ROCK CONCERT”. {Wah, wah, waah -- cue the Muppet Show music}

If you’re like me, a fan of Stonehenge or the giant heads on Easter Island, then eastern Pennsylvania is a must-see location you need to check out.

There are two drastically unique rock gardens located approximately thirty miles apart from each other -- Ringing Rocks County Park and Columcille Megalith Park.

Ringing Rocks is a natural deposit of oddly placed volcanic basalt. These boulders have small tubes running throughout the rock which, when struck, makes a ringing sound. Not all rocks in this river of boulders will chimb, but that’s part of the fun. You can spend hours just hiking around the area, trying to make your own rock music. Be sure to use a rubber mallet though, as metal hammers leave damage to these natural wonders. Also, the park is home to Bucks County’s largest waterfall (which stands alone in seeing). (More info: http://www.davidhanauer.com/buckscounty/ringingrocks/)

Columcille Megalith Park is located a few miles north of Bangor, PA and is a collection of local rocks, boulders, and megaliths, put together to recreate the Isle of Iona (off the coast of Scotland). This outdoor sanctuary, made up of over 350 rocks, is the vision of a Celtic spiritualist, Bill Cohen Jr., who wanted to create a gateway to another world. St. Oran’s legend is promoted throughout the park, reminding the seeker that “the way you think it is may not be the way it is at all." (More info: http://www.columcille.org/index.html)

Both parks are free and fun for the whole family and make for a mysteriously fanciful day trip.

Happy exploring!

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