I recently web published a hunting short story titled,
Bonus Bobcat 1982 of
which I reference some grist mill stones and guess that triggered a trip
this morning to The
Old Mill of Guildford located on Highway 68 North in the
town of Oak Ridge, NC. I gave my bride short notice this morning and
it didn't take too long before we were on the road again sounding like one
of Willie Nelson's big hit songs.....grin if you must!
I quickly ran a map on Google and programmed the address into the Garmin GPS
unit but before leaving I decided to check the fluid levels in the Buick and
topped off the engine coolant in the reservoir of which I left the map print
out in the carport. It is a good thing the GPS was right on the money
except for a couple exit changes that was recently made but the unit worked
We stopped for breakfast at a MacDonald's on the other side of Seagrove, NC
off 220N and enjoyed their Big Breakfast which consisted of a sausage patty,
hash browns, eggs, biscuit and pancakes with syrup and a medium black coffee. I
don't think either my bride or myself finished off the entire portions and
speaking for myself, "I was tight as a Georgia tick on the back of a
coonhound in the mouth of July."
It didn't take but a couple hours of scenic and pleasurable driving to get to the Old Mill of Guilford in Oak
Ridge, NC and it was sometime around 11ish when we pulled into the
parking area with mixed shadows cast from the
brilliant glowing overhead sun at about the 11 O'clock position with a
beautiful Carolina Blue Sky backdrop with a a few white puffy cotton cumulus clouds
creating a wonderful panoramic view of the Old Mill Of Guilford. My bride and myself had fun
picking out, identifying and naming the different shapes of the puffy clouds
in route as if we were kids
again. It is very easy to imagine the farmers loaded horse drawn
wagons pulling up in front of the main door of the mill to off load their
large bulging sacks of grain ready to be ground. Below is pix of the
front entrance of the Old Mill of Guilford:
Old Mill of Guildford has a website
that documents the origin and history of the mill which is hyperlinked in
this sentence, therefore I will not try and reinvent the wheel...no pun
intended. Upon arriving, there were several unique and novel hand
crafted items under the overhanging porch and rest area. Below is
an ole sifter made into wind chimes:
The ole "cabbage grater" below with hanging spoons for another
type of wind chime.
My bride and myself really liked this unique candle stand fabricated from
horse or pony shoes welded together.
My bride taking a little short break before entering the ole grist mill.
She spotted a bunch of long slender graceful stalks of wheat planted out front with their
Golden brown "ears" which contain about 40 grains of wheat each forming a braided type pattern and would move
gracefully in an oscillating rhythm back and forth with the slightest hint of a breeze.
Those "ears" of wheat reminded me of the rattlers on our local Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake
but without the sound:
After making our way inside the dimly lighted building, the mill is very much operational as
evidenced by the numerous sacks of different grains to be ground and also
grain that has been ground, sifted, sorted and ready to be placed into
individual sacks for sale. We met a cheerful, smiling, attractive young lady
that was bagging ground grain and it was her first day on the job; pix below:
The mill has a good sized sales room with a large assortment of all the
grain products listed in their on line catalog along with various craft
items for sale too. I stocked up on 5 lb. sacks of white grits
and got a 5 lb. bag of their yellow grits just for making my version of
Charleston, SC style
shrimp n grits. Below is a pix of the
miller Annie Laura Perdue and sales
person behind the
counter who has a beautiful accent in her lovely gentle voice :
Click on the below thumbnail pixs for a larger screen
The grist mill's 24 feet diameter x 4 feet wide
Fitz overshot water wheel was repaired a few years back and they are
the process of adding an insert in the main water line that crosses
underneath Highway 68N and are using electric power to turn the
grist mill stones. Below a few pixs of the exterior area of the mill
and there are several places that are restricted and off limits that presents
a safety hazard and I didn't venture into those areas although I was
"itching" to do so:
The above picture shows the large 26 inch diameter water pipe that is need of
repairs (a liner insert) that shows numerous holes in it and it did route
the water from the mill pond underneath Highway 68 to the top of the water
wheel and then channeled the water on top of the water wheel by the
flume structure or large
trough but they are currently using electric power to turn the grist
mill stones to grind the various grains.
Below one of the buildings on the property that might have been used as
an early tobacco barn apparently used for storage
reminiscent of an old country one room store with an amenity of a small air
conditioning unit added; otherwise it would take you back to the early 1900s
Below is a pix of an ole upper or runner stone which has a metal band
around it and you can see the lugs carved into the stone for attachment to
the drive shaft.
There is a small stream below the water wheel with the water about
crystal clear. I was hoping to see a Rainbow Trout break the water at
any minute to feed on the local mayfly hatch which didn't happen...grin if
The above gentle flow of water was so peaceful, serine and tranquil of
which I could see the ripples in the water as it slowly trickled over the
miniature shoals as it meandered on its way leaving a soft trickling sound
that was totally mesmerizing! The mirror image reflection on the small
pool of water captures the outline of the foliage on the bank rendering a
surreal view. What beauty to be observed in such small
things as this gentle brook with God above who created this earth.
John 1:3 KJV All things were made by him; and without him was
not any thing made that was made.
Above view of the right end of the mill that was added later as a sales
room with it's beautiful and amazing
fitted rock work with a few peach trees in the background beyond the picnic
tables that has peaches on them about the size
of a quarter. In about a month, those peaches should be ripe enough to
become the main ingredient and star in some of my good home made peach cobbler with a
scoop of vanilla ice cream sitting atop.
Another grist mill stone that has long served its purpose and could
one of the original stones used when the mill was first operational in 1767.
Mill stones today are bringing a premium price for landscape architecture
with a 46 inch diameter stone retailing for around 6K dollars. Of
course that depends on what area you live in and how deep your pockets are
I purchased enough stone ground grits to last me a long time and I keep
them refrigerated and/or frozen in our basement refrigerator and freezer
that I use for such purposes. I do share the grits with those that
enjoy them as much as my bride and myself does. A big serving of Old Mill of Guilford
stone ground grits with a couple sunny side up eggs, large slice of country
ham, buttermilk lard biscuits and
coffee; that certainly is one of my favorite breakfasts.
You need to refrigerate the product since it doesn't have any artificial
additives or preservatives which in my humble opinion takes away from the
true natural earthy taste of flour, corn meal or grits.
There are a couple
1/2 lb. bags of dried apples in the above pix and plan to turn them into
some fried apple pies. Might go
pretty good with the Moonshine Jelly too!
I plan to go
back and take additional photographs when they get the new liner in their
water supply that feeds from the mill pond underneath Highway 68 to the
water wheel at the mill. My bride and myself enjoyed this short
scenic day trip and it is great to be able to view some history from the
past up close and personal.
The Old Mill Of Guilford is a very scenic
tourists attraction that will take you back in time when things moved at a
much slower pace and definitely worth stopping by and leaving with some of
the stone ground products that they offer for sale! I highly
recommend the products of The Old Mill Of Guilford. "Store bought"
grits does not compare with stone ground grits produced without artificial
In closing, Two of the greatest
ships that ever sailed: Friendship and Fellowship!
Web published by Bill aka Mickey Porter 06-15-13.