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“Don't miss this” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Bale Grist Mill State Historic Park

Bale Grist Mill State Historic Park
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Napa Valley Wine Train with Gourmet Lunch and...
Ranked #41 of 110 things to do in St. Helena
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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!
Greenville, Ohio
Level Contributor
108 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 29 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
1 Thank retireetraveller47
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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52 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Portuguese first
  • Any
English first
Kenwood, California
Level Contributor
209 reviews
68 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 54 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
Thank Kris132
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cupertino, California
Level Contributor
15 reviews
15 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“State of the Art technology once upon a time”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 11, 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
2 Thank David C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sacramento, California
Level Contributor
153 reviews
43 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 83 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
3 Thank TravelLightOften
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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
Thank Antonia B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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