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“Fun little hike!” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Bale Grist Mill State Historic Park

Bale Grist Mill State Historic Park
3369 St Helena Hwy No.( Highway 29), St. Helena, CA 94574
+1 707-963-2236
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Ranked #1 of 3 Attractions in St. Helena
Type: State Parks
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Attraction Details
Owner description: Built in 1846, this water-powered mill served Napa Valley's farmers who brought their wheat grain and dried corn to the mill to be ground into flour and meal. Bale Grist Mill has one of the largest waterwheels in the country and still mills grain the old-fashioned way! Visitors can take home organic wheat flour, cornmeal or polenta. Come enjoy what was once a vital part of rural life!
Kenwood, California
Top Contributor
100 reviews 100 reviews
24 attraction reviews
Reviews in 43 cities Reviews in 43 cities
33 helpful votes 33 helpful votes
“Fun little hike!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 14, 2013

While touring the wine country, take this little hike and learn a little history of the valley while you are at it!

Visited March 2013
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27 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
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English first
Cupertino, California
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 attraction reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“State of the Art technology once upon a time”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 12, 2012

It is not just a big wheel for decoration, This mill still functions well. Be sure to see the demo of the mill operation.

The creek outside is small. It is hard to believe that it provides enough power to move this wheel. There are two mills. Each of them can be embedded with the wheel to be driven. Other questions to be studied includes:
* What are the adjustable parameters of these mills?
* How the grinders ground the grains?
* How to decide the granularity of the powder?
* Why do they need two grinders instead of one?
* How are these two grinders different?
* How stone and dirt are filtered out from the grains?

Not only kids but also adults can learn a lot of good idea from it. It is a very good learning experience on this excellent engineering project.

Visited May 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sacramento, California
Top Contributor
130 reviews 130 reviews
37 attraction reviews
Reviews in 52 cities Reviews in 52 cities
70 helpful votes 70 helpful votes
“Fascinating site for CA history buffs, bakers & technology fans”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 26, 2012

Stopped here on a rainy Sat. afternoon for a tour ($3?) Had to drag my husband away - he was absolutely mesmerized. The miller was totally engaging & made the long history (1846-now) of the mill come alive. And the best part was watching the mill in action. For someone who loves history, water, word origins, or any cook who wants to know how various bread & pastry flours, or polenta is created, this is the ticket. Excellent for children who can sit, listen & focus for a few minutes (maybe 6 or 7 years and up). Gift shop offers some great items.
Good restrooms too! Sadly, lovely Bothe-Napa Valley State Park is slated for closure by the state of California this year, but according to the miller, it will be taken over by an association.

Visited March 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Gloucestershire
1 review
“A real living piece of history brought alive by an excellent guide.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 12, 2011

We visited the Bale Grist Mill while on holiday from the UK, camping in the adjoining State Park. The Mill itself has been lovingly restored and is lovely space to be in. The mini-museum as you go in is interesting and there are mill/baking/flour related items for sale which make great take home gifts. We would strongly recommend joining one of the free tours. These take you through the history of the mill, it's restoration and it's current working - you get to see the whole process from turning the mill wheel to grinding the corn. The guide is excellent and has a gift for bringing the place and it's history alive. A real gem.

Visited August 2011
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Oakland, California
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
7 attraction reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
“Excellent Historical Experience”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 17, 2011

You can walk through by yourself, but we suggest that you wait for the guided tour through this 19th-century mill, which has the largest water-wheel west of the Mississippi. It was a fascinating experience for all 3 of us, an elderly couple with our 12-year-old grand-daughter. This is one of the 70 California state parks which are scheduled to be closed later this year (2011), so SEE IT NOW!

Visited July 2011
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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