Northern California Nature September 08, 2018
A Trip To This Charming, Working Mill In Northern California Is Unforgettable
Modern technology is great and all, but there’s something beautiful about witnessing how things used to be done. For a sweet taste of the past, you’ll definitely want to visit this incredible historic park. At the forefront of the park is a real, working mill that still grinds out flour even to this day. You can even take a bag home with you! Not only does the mill still work but it’s absolutely gorgeous, as well. Witness for yourself how flours and meals were created back in the old days and plan a visit soon. Keep reading to learn all about this fascinating destination.
Located near the quaint town of St. Helena is an authentic, working mill that you'll want to see with your own eyes. Not only is this historic park incredibly informative but the mill itself is a gorgeous place to spend the day.
Built back in 1846, this water-powered grist mill still grinds grain even to this day. You can see the mill in action when you visit and you might even learn a thing or two about how flours and meals are made.
During your visit you'll observe the original set of French Buhr millstones grinding grain into Bale Mill flour. The slow turning of the grind stones is said to give the flour and meal products a special quality. The proof is in the wholesome and amazing flavor of the bread you make with it.
Back in the 1800s, farmers all around Napa Valley would bring their grain to the mill and place it into the elevator. The elevator would mechanically transport the grain upstairs to be cleaned and sifted by various types of equipment. It's actually quite the impressive system considering this technology is nearly two centuries old!
The structure itself is definitely worth admiring. Both the gristmill and granary were built with locally found materials such as Douglas firs and coastal redwoods. The foundation was composed of native stone and the giant waterwheel was powered by water diverted from nearby Mill Creek.
You'll be delighted to find that you can take some original Bale Mill products home with you. Items like polenta, cornmeal, spelt, buckwheat, rye, and whole-wheat flours are available for a small donation.
Once you're done checking out the
inside of the mill, you'll definitely want to explore the outside. After all, this area is absolutely gorgeous. The tree-covered area surrounding the mill is perfect for a family picnic or brief hike.
If you can, try to plan your visit around one of the park's many events. Ocassionally, the park will hold events like harvest dinners for the community to come together and soak up the amazing history the mill has to offer.
The park is open only on weekends, during which they offer mill demonstrations and historic tours of the park. Be sure to plan a visit for a unique look into the rural heritage of Northern California.
You'll find Bale Grist Mill State Historic Park at 3369 St Helena Hwy, St Helena, CA 94574.
Doesn’t this working mill look absolutely charming? This is a piece of the past that will hopefully live on for years to come. For more historic destinations, take a look at our list of
11 Historical Landmarks You Absolutely Must Visit In Northern California.