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“Fun history, with unique shop”

Bale Grist Mill State Historic Park
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Napa Valley Wine Trolley and Castle Tour
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Ranked #33 of 118 things to do in St. Helena
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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 31 January 2014

Lovely, large store selling dozens of books and bags of flours actually ground there. The mill has many working parts that can be observed, and the staff are very knowledgable about its history. I enjoyed looking at the huge selection of California history books, and it was a nice, but not too long, walk through the woods from the parking lot to reach the mill itself. It can be seen from the main road, but the inside is not to be missed! This would be a much better choice for a family than any of the winery tours.

1  Thank LDSPd
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviews (70)
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51 - 55 of 70 reviews

Reviewed 8 December 2013

This is an oddity on the West Coast --an 1800s grist mill powered by a waterwheel that is still intact -- and it backs up on to a state park with 12 miles of trails alongside a stream that runs through beautiful old growth forest of Doug Fir, Western Red Cedar, and majestic Giant Redwoods.

4  Thank John A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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
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

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