There are some beautiful fall weekends ahead of us, and it’s a great season for homeschoolers to visit the lovely and historic Burwell-Morgan Mill in the Shenandoah Valley.
Nick and I visited the old stone mill in August, and it was fascinating for a 12-year-old and his mom. The Clarke County Historical Association provides background about the old mill, which has now been fully restored:
The Burwell-Morgan Mill, established in 1785, is the oldest operable merchant mill in the Shenandoah Valley. In the mid-nineteenth century the mill operated twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, processing more than sixty thousand bushels of wheat per year. The community of Millwood grew around this commercial center as related businesses were established, and by way of the seaports at Alexandria and Baltimore, mill products were shipped abroad.
The miller spent a lot of time explaining both the history and the physics of the old water powered mill to Nick and me. Nick got to use a small grinding stone to grind some wheat to flour, and we saw the huge indoor water wheel and mill stones. We also bought some wheat that was ground into flour at the mill, just as it was hundreds of years ago.
The mill is open on weekends, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays and noon to 5 p.m. on Sundays until Thanksgiving, and then closes until spring. Grinding takes place on Saturdays, for those who want to be sure to see the mill in action, but check the CCHA website for details, because the schedule differs during the upcoming art show at the mill October 2 – October 17, 2010, a worthwhile event you may want to take the kids to as well.
The mill’s grounds provide a beautiful setting for a family picnic, with the mill race meandering between weeping willows in the meadow below the mill. The Millwood area is picturesque, featuring some of Virginia’s finest horse farms and Clarke County’s signature stone fences along the roadsides. The general area is rich in early-American and Civil War history, and the Appalachian Trail and Shenandoah River are right there as well.
I hope you’ll enjoy a trip to Burwell-Morgan Mill as much as we did.