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“Fabulous tour of a working mill” 5 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!
San Francisco, California
Senior Contributor
35 reviews 35 reviews
9 attraction reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
“Fabulous tour of a working mill”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 26, 2013

This is a neat little mill, and a nice park, but the major highlight is the continuous tour of the mill's grounds, history, and processes. This is an active mill that produces flour and corn meal on weekdays, and the miller gives tours on weekends. He very clearly knows his stuff, from the history of the mill and the surrounding area to the way the mill works and is maintained. The difference between wandering through a restored mill with signs and descriptions and being led through the mill as its working is night and day. If you have any interest in technology, history, or really just a well-done presentation you should check out the tour. (I think they only run on weekends.)

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
Greenville, Ohio
Senior Contributor
25 reviews 25 reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“Don't miss this”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 15, 2013

Our tour of the mill was led by the miller himself and he was very knowledgeable about the mill, the milling process, and the history of the area. He was enthusiastic and it was quite evident that he loves what he is doing. The mill still runs and produces several varieties of flour and corn meal. The technology is the same used in the late 1800's and is fascinating to see in operation.

Visited March 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kenwood, California
Top Contributor
110 reviews 110 reviews
27 attraction reviews
Reviews in 46 cities Reviews in 46 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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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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.

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