The oldest continually operated gristmill in Indiana can be found at Bonneyville Mill County Park in Bristol. Flour is ground fresh there all summer long, and the mill still functions in its old fashioned way. In the 1830s, Edward Bonney started the company, and today it’s operated by the Elkhart County Park and Recreation Department. More than 220 acres of fun and exploration await your next day trip from Indianapolis.
Activities like fishing, skiing, touring, sledding and hiking attract hundreds of Hoosier visitors to the park each year. People travel from as far as California, Texas and New York to experience this peaceful Indiana park. Bonneyville Mill County Park is located just south of Bristol, Indiana, only 140 miles north of Indianapolis. Taking a day trip from the Circle City to this scenic park is worth the three hour drive.
The mill at Bonneyville Mill County Park sells freshly milled wheat, corn, rye and buckwheat from May through October. The Little Elkhart River separates the mill from the rest of the park area. Nature lovers visit all year round to enjoy the canal, garden, playground and five miles of hiking trails. A hotspot inside the park is the beautiful Bonneyville Mill Trail Garden, where bright red, pink and yellow dahlias flash each spring. The Elkhart Dahlia Society manages the plants in the garden, including the colorful dahlias.
Tons of environmental and historical education programming is available throughout the year at the park. Indianapolis kids love learning about Indiana history and classic farming technologies. If you pan ahead, your day trip might include a visit with the park’s interpretive staff or a war reenactment. Other educational and historical ideas for a day trip from Indy include Norm Skinner’s Farm Museum and Village in Perrysville, Tippecanoe Battlefield Park in West Lafayette, or the Ragtops Museum in Michigan City.
Bonneyville Mill County Park is a great spot to hold large parties, receptions, meetings and other events. The park rents out its various shelters, and some are even free of charge. All of the shelters have picnic tables, rain shelter, running water, restrooms and grills. Some shelters offer more amenities, like electricity and indoor areas. Visitors may also rent the park’s One Room School for a $100 fee. It’s a turn-of-the-century schoolhouse that was reconstructed here. It has a small kitchen and a wood-burning fireplace.
Extend the day trip in Elkhart County to the nearby town of Goshen, Indiana, and visit the Merry Lea Environmental Learning Center, the Old Bag Factory, the historic Middlebury, or the delicious Das Dutchman Essenhaus restaurant. This day trip could turn into a long weekend or an entire vacation.
Bonneyville Mill County Park
53373 County Road 131
Bristol, Indiana 46507