Drive north on US Highway 89 from Kanab through Mt. Carmel to Orderville and you’ll see a distinctive rock-shaped building on the right side of the road just before the center of town. Matching the famous colors of the Southern Utah’s hills, the Rock Stop in Orderville has been selling rocks, tchotchkes and roadside treats for 45 years.
From left to right, photos by Don Jennings
Terri and Jeremiah Halstead at the Rock Stop in Orderville, Utah.
Utah Septarian Nodules at The Rock Stop in Orderville.
Joe and Maria Caruso ran it as a well-known rock shop in the 1970s, specializing in the Utah Septarian Nodule. Millions of years ago, when the Gulf of Mexico covered Southern Utah, decomposing sea life attracted sediment, forming mud balls that fossilized into uniquely beautiful nodes. Joe and Maria’s son Bob eventually purchased the business from his parents, and still cuts and polishes septarian nodules for the shop today.
Don and Mickey Davis bought the shop in 2008, and last year their twin daughters Terri and Carrie bought it from them. I met with Terri Halstead (née Davis) and her husband Jeremiah inside the shop to hear their story. Terri’s twin Carrie McGuinn (née Davis) was away on business, but her husband Kyle was there to say hello.
Jeremiah said they all met in college in Washington State and have owned and operated the business together for about a year. I asked Terri what she likes best about the shop, and she said meeting hobbyists and collectors, as well as the tourists passing through town.
The first thing I heard about The Rock Stop was they had great coffee, and I’m happy to report it’s absolutely true. You can also get Rockin’ Tacos and Rockin’ Donuts on-site, as well as a wide range of cold drinks, Italian sodas, ice cream and sandwiches.
Terri showed me around until we found a piece of smoked quartz shaped to resemble a small frog, which earned me a few bonus points when I got home. My wife really likes frogs.
All told, the Rock Stop is a valley classic, and should not be missed. Whether you’re an actual geologist looking for one-of-a-kind samples, a traveler looking for an above-average cup of joe or a family out for a fun day trip, you simply can’t go wrong. Just head north to Orderville and look for the building shaped like a rock! Located at 385 W State Street in Orderville, the Rock Stop is open seven days a week from 8 a.m. - 6 p.m. Visit the Rock Stop at therockstoputah.com, on Facebook at facebook.com/therockstop, or on Instagram at instagram.com/therock.stop.