Last weekend we set off on a Park Quest. We were driving the hour or so to Wye Island Maryland to do a quest that involved hiking and solving a crossword puzzle. Except, on the way, we discovered that we were low on gas. So I used the gps to try and find the closest gas station. While looking at the closest it did occur to me that it might not be in service since the name did not contain anything that sounded like gas, but we decided to turn off the main road and check it out. Sure enough, it was closed and there was no gas so we had to get back on the highway. On the drive back to the highway we drove past a small place with a sign outside that said “Open” and one that said “Stone Ground Cornmeal.” The kids, who have always loved interesting places, wanted to stop but our sights were set on getting gas and right away! As we got back to the highway we were going to turn left and go the 7.3 miles to where the gps said we would find gas when T said “Mom! Look! Over there!” and there, peaking through the trees right across the highway, was a gas station. So after gas the kids begged to go back to the stone ground cornmeal sign and since it was less than a mile away we figured we’d stop for a second and then be on our way to the hike.
Well it turns out that The Wye Grist Mill is on the National Register of Historic places and that the history is fascinating. Since one of the only things my kids like more than exploring is museums, we were hooked!
The volunteer who did our tour was amazing. He took us through each piece of information and really involved the kids in the conversation. We were there over an hour learning about the history of the mill, the area, and milling in general. The entire visit was free though they do take donations, and is located just off of Route 50 if you’re on your way over the bay bridge going to the Eastern Shore of MD. On the first and third Saturdays of the month, spring to fall, they actually grind things in the mill which I think would be very interesting to watch.
We bought some stone ground cornmeal, some stone ground buckwheat flour, and some strawberry jam. As we were buying it I started thinking about how there really are so many different options when it comes to buying things even though we don’t always see them or think about them. I have been trying to seek out local places to buy things (which is what lead me to joining the CSA with Taylor’s Fresh Organics) when I can. I love the farmer’s markets locally and really need to get there more. But it’s also nice to find the out-of-the-way places to buy things. When I bought my flours I felt good knowing I was also preserving history while spending my money. And yes, we did leave a donation.
After the tour we indeed went and did our Park Quest. We loved the hiking and it was a great day. But what an amazing find to be able to watch an old mill really grind flour! What places have you discovered “by accident”? Discovering places like this makes life more enjoyable, in my opinion.