Located conveniently between Manchester and Rutland, the park is popular for its wooded hillside campground, beach and swimming area, and nearby attractions and tourist destinations. The park surrounds 20-acre Emerald Lake, named for the emerald green color of its waters when viewed from above. Restricted to non-motorized watercraft, the lake is ideal for swimming and paddling. The lake also offers anglers an opportunity to catch yellow perch, small mouth bass, northern pike and other warm-water species. The park is a favorite destination of hikers, with the Long Trail and Appalachian Trail nearby, and trails on Dorset Mountain.
The Dorset area became well known for its marble quarries by the early 19th century. The first commercial marble quarry to open in the region, and likely the country, was opened in 1785 by Isaac Underhill on Mt Aeolus. The quarry age of Dorset spanned some 130 years. In the early years, marble was cut for uses like headstones and hearthstones. The Feedley and Sons Quarry, on the southern end of what is now the state park, opened in 1804. Huge blocks of stone were cut from the mountainsides at the Feedley quarry where they were placed on an inclined rail system and sent a mile down the mountain to a finishing mill. Finished stone was sent out on rail cars. During the quarry age peak, as many as 30 quarries harvested stone for many uses, including projects like the New York City library and many bank and public buildings across the country. Many local buildings and sidewalks are made from the local stone. By the beginning of the 20th century, however, quarrying marble in Dorset began to draw to a close. Quarries further north in West Rutland and Proctor proved to yield higher quality stone much easier than the rugged mountain quarries in Dorset.