Camping and spending time in Great Smoky Mountains National Park was definitely a highlight of our summer last year. The park is known for its mills, and one of those happens to be Mingus Mill. Located close to the Oconaluftee Visitor Center, Mingus Mill happens to be unique in that it stands in its original site. That's definitely saying something because it was built in 1886.
The mill is open from 9-5 daily from spring until late fall. It was one of my must stop places because I really wanted to pick up some cornmeal while visiting. When we arrived, we parked and then had a small hike in to the mill. We crossed over a beautiful little stream along the way. Then in the distance, we could see the mill; if you look close enough, you'll see the millers inside the window.
Mingus Mill stands proud against a beautiful forest backdrop. It has a definite rustic charm that screams, “Take pictures of me!” I couldn't help but snap photo after photo while there. It was a gorgeous day.
Inside the mill, you'll find all the workings of a grist mill. Demonstrations are done by the miller, as he grinds corn into cornmeal. While the demos were done for the day when we arrived, we still enjoyed exploring the mill and seeing all the machinery.
Outside the mill was the best part. We walked up and down the millrace, which carries water to the mill, thus providing power to the mill. They had a trail all the way back to a stream, which marked the beginning of the millrace. The boys wanted to walk the trail, so we explored to their hearts' content. Watching the water flow down the wooden structure to the mill was kinda mesmerizing. Water also flowed off the side like a giant waterfall.
If you ever visit Great Smoky Mountains National Park, a stop at Mingus Mill is a must. This park is so rich in history…. I'm pretty sure one could never tire of exploring it.