Thursday, October 15, 2009

War Eagle Mill

A few weekends ago, we ventured out to visit one of my favorite places in our state. It's called War Eagle Mill. There is a little something for everyone, an amazing old building, food, history, a river with a spillway, and lots of rocks to throw in the water. That cover the major interests of everyone in our family so a trip to War Eagle makes everyone happy. I'll let you guess which parts I like the best. The drive out there is beautiful with windy mountain roads and fabulous views. As you approach the mill you cross over an old one lane bridge and from there you get the best view of the water wheel. This is one of the only operating grist mills left in the country and the history of the place is quite an education. Three times the building has been destroyed and rebuilt. The current owners run the mill, a large store and on the third floor, a restaurant called the Bean Palace. That name just makes me happy.

On the first floor is where the flour, cornmeal, jams, jelly, honey and other things are sold. All the flour and cornmeal is packaged in cotton prints that really add to the charm of the store. I bought a 10 pound sack of yellow corn meal for myself after Big Sister chose the flour sack material she preferred. She has a collection of flour sacks from War Eagle that she uses alternately for doll beds and bags. After she viewed all the choices she settled on a pink flowered stripe pattern. That girl knows her fabric!

Here is a view of Baby and the mill. The corn falls down in the funnel shaped thing and the grindstones are underneath it. The big wheel in the background is powered by the belt that runs down below to the waterwheel. It's pretty loud in there when it's running but the kids love it. They have displays of different grains and what the flour they each make.

This is a side view of the mill. You see the funnel thing with the corn in it? Well, below that on the floor is a gray box that collects all the cornmeal. And this is no ordinary cornmeal. When you pick up a pinch of it you can feel different size pieces in it. Cornbread made from this is something to write home about, as my Mamaw would say. Around here, we use it for baking and for making big pots of cheese grits. Creamy with a little bite to it, my kids devour it!

Head up the worn wooden stairs, I love worn treads on stairs, and you find a whole different shop. Up here they sell pottery, enameled dishes and pans, cast iron, wooden toys and trinkets, jewelry, quilts and other odds and ends. The kids always love the miniature cooking utensils and of course the boys love the pocket knife display.
These polished rocks are a favorite to dig into and find a special stone. My mom is a rock collector so whenever I see all those colors I think of her.
Here is Little Sister looking out the window at the water wheel and the river. She was busy running from one thing to the next in complete amazement. Almost wore her Grandma out.
Outside you can see the water wheel up close. I love the moss that grows on it when it is not being used. Speaking of that, I have only been there one time when the wheel wasn't turning and grinding corn. Big Brother pointed out the DANGER sign to me as he poked his head through the bars to get a better view. Thanks!
When you go down below the bridge to throw rocks in the water, what you say everyone doesn't go down and throw rocks in the water? Tell that to my boys! Anyway, when you are down there you can really get a feel for the size of the wheel. That thing is big! You can also get a feel of the spray from 30 feet away. All in all, it's just about my ideal day trip, rock throwing included.


The Vintage Kitten said...

That looks like a great place to visit X

Kristin said...

Oh fun! We've driven by but never stopped. Thanks for the peek inside. Love the photo of those little hands grabbing the stones.