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Bale Grist Mill State Historic Park
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Napa Valley Wine Trolley and Castle Tour
Ranked #29 of 120 things to do in St. Helena
Certificate of Excellence
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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!
Reviewed 10 October 2013

My husband works for state parks and used to do the tours as the miller. I have seen 3 or 4 tours from others and some are better than others (longer too) but they are all good. This is a very interesting era of California history when wheat was grown in the Napa Valley. Recently more of the mill was restored and seeing it run is pretty cool. They only mill (run the water wheel) on the weekends, and it is the largest working mill west of the mississippi. You will learn the many sayings that come from milling. You can "mill around" as much as you want before or after the tour, even bring a lunch- it's nice country. The gift store has postcards, recipes and polenta, wheat etc. from the mill.

6  Thank Dianne59-12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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58 - 62 of 75 reviews

Reviewed 1 September 2013

My husband and I took a break from wine tasting to check out the local mill. It's located inside of a state park and is just a quick hike from the parking area. The tour fee is $5 for adults and $2 for kids and tours are given from 10am-4pm on the weekends. The miller made polenta, corn meal and flour while explaining the history of the mill to us. It was very interesting and a great activity for children. We even picked up a bag of bread flour and polenta to take home for a small donation. Check it out; you won't be disappointed.

4  Thank mjpino
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 August 2013

Make some time while in the Napa Valley to visit the Bale Grist Mill in St. Helena and you won't be disappointed. In fact, a visit to the Mill after or between wine tasting is a good option. I grew up in the Valley and remember visits to the Mill when it was mostly a park site and little else. Our recent visit was a great surprise and delight! The tour was very interesting, but a bit too long on details. It was great to see the actual operation of this mill and learn about the amazing history behind it. We all seem to forget the other agriculture of the valley, grain farming, and its impact on the history of Napa. We purchased some of the mill products, wheat flower and a cookbook. At the price of just $5.00 each what a value. We can't wait to make some pancakes or waffles and taste a bit of history...

1  Thank TrueTravel53
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 August 2013

What a great step back in time to see how production of foodstuffs was done in the bygone era. A great lesson in how work, manual labor, was needed to provide foodstuffs.

1  Thank Al J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 25 July 2013

Jim is amazing and gives an outstanding presentation. Kids are included and encouraged to use the equipment to help them get something out of this visit. It is fascinating to watch them make polenta, flour, and cornmeal. At the end you even can buy some of the flour that is made on the site. It's a labor of love, since our stupid government decided they are not in the business of preserving our history, now these amazing volunteers come every weekend and show us how it's all done. Definitely worthwhile - a lot cheaper than the stupid geyser and this is unquestionably real.

Thank Bellotheball
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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