Looking for a mix of history, nature, and art? The nationally acclaimed Historic Bear’s Mill is happy to power the way. This historic water-driven, stone-grinding flour mill and its age-old American Black Walnut walls come framed by fall colors cast by the mature black walnut trees, highlighted by reflections along Greenville Creek.
The four-story mill was built in 1849. Its faded and rugged facade against the vibrant bark and leaves is an inspiration for many artists and photographers. Walking trails provide escapes and clever angles of the long-standing building along the millrace and amongst the woods. Sit still and listen to the chorus of rustling leaves. It’s nature’s symphony. Then, watch the leaves that just couldn’t hang on any longer and their hypnotic descent as the orange and red droppings float left and right, back and forth, slowly, until it hits the blanket of earthen hues below. Bear’s Mill has a relaxing patio deck and other vantage points to sip coffee and eat snacks as the seasonal show plays outside.
The beauty of the place is experienced inside as well as out. Within the weathered wood walls, emitting a character all its own is an art gallery with exhibits that rotate on a regular basis. From late March through December, the Artists Series provides opportunities to meet artists from the region and purchase their pieces. A mainstay of the gallery is handmade pottery such as stoneware and raku pottery by the Bear’s Mill potters.
Take a free self-guided tour to explore the artistry of history that is unveiled on each floor of this active mill. It’s one of the few historic water-operated mills operating in Ohio. Cornmeal, whole wheat flour, and rye flour are still ground with the French Buhr stones powered by water from Greenville Creek. Natural lighting casts perfect highlights and shadows through the rustic windows and onto the manufacturing relics of the 19th Century. If reclaimed barn wood is all the rage today, the moody hand-hewed timber throughout the interior floors of Bear’s Mill is like a museum dedicated to it. Some of the beams measure 50 feet long without a splice. And when folks scale the age-old staircases, they may ponder the test of time. Bring a camera. The photos ops abound.
Eventually, visitors return to the first floor and The Mill Store. There’s a great selection of flour and meal that was stone ground at the mill. The store offers an eclectic array of products. There’s a variety of treats. Ask about the homemade buckeyes in the cooler. Handmade creations include gift boxes and custom baskets. And, of course, there are gourmet sundries and kitchen products. It’s where those personal gifts for any occasion may be bought without worrying about someone else giving the same thing.
Bear’s Mill is a treat every season. Community-oriented events, including educational tours, demonstrations, and nature walks, are offered throughout the year.
Plan a mix of fall fun at Bear’s Mill near Greenville, Ohio, at BearsMill.org.