Starting in the in the 17th-century, grist mills were a major part of early American settlements. They were used to grind corn, wheat, and other grains into flour and meal. While it is a rarity to find working grist mills in Georgia today, there are still a few that still exist in and around Helen, GA. Read on to learn where to find these mills and the tasty products they produce.
If you’re interested in seeing the working grist mills in Georgia, you’ll love the other suggestions we have listed in our free Helen, GA Vacation Guide! Download your free copy today to find all of our favorite local attractions, activities, dining, and more.
What You Need to Know About Grist Mills
From the 17th to the 20th century, classic American grist mills supported farming communities and simplified the production of flour. Most villages had their own mill for local farmers to easily transport their grains to be milled. These communities were very dependent upon their mills as many staples of their diet, such as bread, relied on the ability to make flour. In 1876, the invention of the roller mill eliminated the need for grist mills, and they began to diminish in numbers. However, a small group of special mills is still in operation today!
How They Worked
Since grist mills were powered by water, most of them were situated on or near creeks with natural waterfalls. The wheel rotated huge millstones that crushed grains into smaller and smaller pieces until they formed flour or meal.
2 Working Grist Mills in Georgia That You’ll Want to See
1. Nora Mill Granary
The Nora Mill Granary in Helen, GA is home to one of the east’s last working grist mills. Since the late 1800’s, the historic granary has used 1,500 pound French Burr millstones to create a wide array of freshly ground products. They are all made the old-fashioned way and without any added preservatives.
During your visit to the mill, you can shop for grits, cornmeal, flour, biscuit mixes, and pancake mixes that were ground right in-house! Each product is also ground daily, so you know that you’ll only be getting the freshest around. Nora Mill Granary is also a great spot to find cast iron skillets, fresh jams, syrups, old-fashioned candles, and more. After enjoying your shopping excursion, head out to the newly refurbished breezeway and porch that overlooks the Chattahoochee River.
2. Mark of the Potter
The Mark of the Potter is another place where you’ll find one of the last remaining grain mills in Georgia. While the mill no longer produces ground grits and meals, you can still stop by to take a look and shop for beautiful pottery made by regional artists. After a flood damaged the mill into a non-operational state, it stood abandoned for many years until it was converted into the art studio you see today. Outside the grist mill, you can enjoy views of the river and watch local wildlife wade in the shallow water.
Immerse in the History of North Georgia During Your Stay at Pinnacle Cabin Rentals
Whether you’re visiting the working grist mills in Georgia or exploring the local hiking trails, a new adventure awaits around every corner in Helen. Our beautiful selection of mountain cabins is exactly what you need to accommodate the entire family comfortably in a memorable setting. In addition to luxury cabins, our guests are also treated to unparalleled guest services and convenience to all the best things to do in Helen, GA. You and your family will be talking about this getaway for years to come! Find your favorite cabin with us today and we look forward to welcoming you to the mountains soon!
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