Sunday, October 22, 2017


 Located on the outskirts of the Burke County hamlet of Valdese at the foot of McGalliard Falls in the Meytre Mill.  Fred Meytre constructed the mill on this site in 1906 and operated it into the 1940's.  

The falls are 45 feet tall and flow over a broad granite slope.  The waterwheel is 16 feet in diameter and 2.5 feet wide.  It is a large overflow wheel feed by a channeled millrace, the remnants of which still can be seen.

The original waterwheel was washed away in the 1916 it was replaced with a turbine.  The mill was restored in 1982 and a replica waterwheel was installed.
The site is now owned and operated by the town of Valdese.  The park has a nice strollway and a large picnic shelter.  The creek feeding the falls loops around the park to the centerpiece of the park, McGalliard Falls.

In 2015, a large tree fell and damaged the restored metal mill race.  Though it is evident there has been some work to shore up the foundation of the restored mill, there is much work to be done to put this mill back into operation.
The park regularly hosts weddings and engagements as well as various other events throughout the year.  It is a picturesque venue with both the mill and the large waterfall as a back drop.

I hope the good folks in Valdese see fit to spend some more money on the mill and it one day will grind meal again.  In the meantime, it is a great place to stop on the way to a visit to the Blue Ridge Parkway.

The address of the park is located at 1400 Falls Road, Valdese, North Carolina.

I had to post this one last picture...a great reflection.

Saturday, October 21, 2017


We visited the most authentic working grist mill in North Carolina.  The Dellinger Mill is four miles outside of Bakersville, North Carolina on the Cane Creek.  It is the site of a farmstead and mill that has been working on this site since 1867 when it was constructed by Reuben Dellinger.  It is registered in the National Registry of Historical Places and is a historical gem!

The mill is currently operated by Jack David Dellinger, a fourth generation miller.  When we were there, Jack David was entertaining a group of tourists so we did not get to talk with him.  But he was kind enough to let us wander around the place and take pictures.  Jack David Dellinger is a graduate of NC State University and is a retired rocket scientist for kidding!  This guy helped land Neil Armstrong on the moon! When he retired he moved back home to Hawk, North Carolina and re-opened the family mill. It had been idle since his father died in 1955.  GO WOLFPACK!

The mill is nestled between a curvy mountain road and Cane Creek.  The Creek serves as the water power to turn the wheel that grinds the corn.  It is diverted into a long millrace that eventually is elevated across the mill yard to the mill. 
The mill consists of two buildings built using wood from the extinct American Chestnut tree. One of the remaining buildings is ready to fall in, and two foundations of earlier buildings are on the creek banks upstream from the mill. But regardless what this mill looks like, this mill site is a timeless example of what mountain grist mills were like.  One of the best historical operating mills I have seen!  Walk onto the Dellinger Mill and you walk into the 19th century.  According to Jack, "It's the most peaceful place on this world."

The parking lot is small and the paths are well worn, but walking around you can understand the family commitment that has taken place in order to keep this mill operating for over a century.  

It is operated by a 10 foot metal wheel which according to the website is the same machinery originally purchased in 1859.  It is perhaps the only such mill operating in the state today.

Peering inside the mill is an eclectic experience.  It is as if you could expect Jack's father or grandfather to appear at any moment and ask if they could help you. 
According to Jack, he makes the best cornmeal that anyone has ever tasted.  Trouble is he was so busy talking to his tourists, I did  not have a chance to buy any!  Wonder if he will ship me some?

I really could not get enough pictures of this site.  But hopefully the ones I have tell the rich story of a family business lovingly resurrected by an NC State Engineer who claims his 4th grade educated forefathers possessed more practical engineering skills than he has. 

The next time I come this way, I am going to email Jack ahead of time to get a personal tour. I plan to send him a link to the blog and feature this mill in my end of the year calendar.  My only trouble will be trying to figure out which picture to use!
Oh, by the way, we stopped in Bakersville for the Apple Butter Festival....some of the best apple butter I have ever eaten! Some more photos:

Monday, September 4, 2017



As I have played Reynolds Park Golf Course in Winston-Salem since I was a teenager, I have known of the quarry on the ridge behind the fourth hole...even heard stories of cliff diving teenagers...but never ventured there until today.
The City of Winston-Salem unveiled this wonderful new city park last month and the Fat Bald White Guy just had to go visit...and get a hike in with the family too!

We elected to start at the newly constructed Salem Lake Marina and access the Salem Creek Greenway where it intersects with the Salem Lake Trail just below the dam.

The Salem Creek Greenway is a paved urban trail that links Salem Lake with downtown Winston-Salem.  It has existed for many years and is well used by bikers.  It generally follows the Salem Creek towards Old Salem.  Joining us today was Whitdawg and her two children, Awesome Possum and Billy Buck.  I billed this hike as a two mile out and two mile back...boy was I wrong!  But they were good sports about the extra two miles!

As I have never walked on this portion of the greenway I was ever so pleased with the scenery.   Salem Creek was alive and we were able to enjoy some very nice creek views.  Me and Billy Buck set the pace and soon found ourselves playing in the water.

The greenway is located between the railroad and the creek and generally follows the sewer line easement which occasionally is a bit ripe to the smell. 

The greenway passes over a low water bridge where there is evidently a nice fishing hole.  I don't think the fisherman minded much as Billy Buck had to check out the water. 

Just past the bridge the creek narrows between and rock wall and the railroad embankment. Some days this portion of the trail may be underwater I suspect.

Just below the narrows there is a small waterfall of note and some fast moving water that garnered my attention.

After passing the narrows, the greenway emerges into the sunshine and follows the back nine of Reynolds Park Golf Course.  Number 18 is rated as one of the tougher holes in the county.  The tee box is next to the greenway.

Passing the golf course the greenway turns to go beneath the Reynolds Park Road but due to the construction of the new bridge we found ourselves crossing the road and proceeding down the sidewalk of Peachtree Street.  Soon we found the greenway but it was going away from where I knew the quarry was so I hustled up the street and found the Peachtree Greenway.  Message to the City of Winston-Salem... you need better signs directing folks to the Peachtree Greenway....second you need to slow down the traffic on Peachtree Street if you expect hikers and bikers to cross that street to connect the Salem Creek Greenway to the Peachtree Greenway....or someone is going to get watch yourself here folks!

The entrance to the Quarry Park is about a quarter of mile up a sloping paved path.  The entrance is marked with a large boulder from the quarry and a brand new sign.  The trail slopes downward from the entrance to a bridge.  There you get the first glimpse of the quarry and its signature observation bridge.
The quarry was formerly owned and operated by Vulcan Materials and operated into the 1970's.  Neighborhood teenagers often jumped the fence for a swim and even some dangerous cliff jumping.  The lake is rumored to be over a 100 feet deep.  It was donated to the city of Winston-Salem in 1998.  A recent bond referendum provided the money for this park.  Architects provided the vision. 

The paved path from the park bridge to the observation bridge is a thumper of a climb of about a quarter mile.  Once you get there, there are several wonderful overlooks of the quarry to enjoy.  

These overlooks are on each side of the observation bridge.   The picture above is looking at the south quarry wall from an overlook perched on the eastern wall which can be seen in the picture below. 

But the real treat is climbing out on the observation bridge.  It is a metal beam structure that extends over a 100 feet above the quarry.  The floor of the bridge is made from metal grates giving you an extra view.  

On Labor Day the Quarry Park was a very popular place to be.  We had to wait our turn to take in the view.   Whitdawg and Billy Buck joined me enjoying in the view of the distant skyline.

I got a feeling that this park will soon be a popular view for marriage proposals, concerts, picnics and visitors to the Twin City.   But after hiking three miles to take in the view,  me and Billy Buck had to rest our dawgs.  For those of you not interested in a hike, you can access the park from Butler Street and there is a large parking lot.  It is also a handicapped accessible venue too!

The three mile hike back to the marina was much easier as it was mostly down hill.  As we approached the low water bridge, Whitdawg pointed out a Blue Heron perched on a log in the middle of the creek.

We tip toed around and he seemed unconcerned of our presence as we stood on the low water bridge to take in the scene.  

Finally we disturbed him enough and he took flight... a majestic sight for sure.

What I found today was a new urban trail.  A six mile greenway trail that has wonderful creek views that ends with a skyline view of the city over a quarry lake...Trail is rated a 9 only because of the poor directions to the Peachtree Greenway....Scenery is a 9... access is a there are several places to jump on this trail either by foot or bicycle.  Effort to view is slightly skewed toward effort...after all it is a six mile trudge that you would not want to take in 90 degree weather.  Overall a 9 ranked hike, one of the best urban hikes imaginable. The City of Winston-Salem has a gem with this addition to the Salem Lake Loop.  You can make this hike a 12 miler by adding the lake loop.  I would guess it is more suited for bicycles but I loved it!