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3 Watermills in Southwest Virginia

Updated: Jun 30, 2021

If you're looking for a quick little day trip around Wise, Scott & Lee counties in Virginia that are time friendly and relaxing, then this is the post to read.

Collier Creek & Duck Pond

Located in Jonesville, Virginia on Route 642, Long Hollow Road, sits this adorable log cabin and watermill. Originally built in the 1900's and rebuilt in 1984 by the current owners with some of it's original parts, this old mill is up and running. There is something completely tranquil and peaceful about this specific location. Water from the creek turning the old wheel, ducks swimming in the pond, the creek that is more like a babbling brook, and the not so trafficked area of this location makes this a must see for a leisurely day or picnic. There is a small parking area close to the pond. Across the road is a picnic table beneath a beautiful weeping willow.

My dogs personally found the small creek as the perfect place to cool off.

The Historic Bush Mill

The original mill was built in 1831 but was later destroyed by fire 1895, which is an interesting little story all on its own. The Bushes, who were the owners of the mill in 1895, ran to get help when the mill broke out in fire. Yet, some people say that Mr. Bush, the owner and operator at that time, was a bit of a prankster and the fire just happen to break out on April Fools' Day. So, as he sought help to extinguish the flames, help was a little reluctant to come, believing it to be a joke. By the time the locals realized the mill truly was ablaze, it was too late to extinguish the flames. The mill was essential to the community, and so the next two years after the fire, Mr. Bush and his sons constructed what is now the Historic Bush Mill, which is the one you see still standing today.

The mill has been renovated, though I will note, upon my visit, it was not operating. According to locals, the best time to visit the mill is in October, during Bush Mill Day. The Ruritan Club uses the mill to grind corn which they sell just like the old days. There are also arts and crafts and home made apple butter. Additionally, there is a property just adjacent to the mill that is rentable. It is roomy and available for birthdays, family functions, etc. Outside the mill on the grounds, there are picnic tables and benches all positioned next to the stream which is a lovely place to sit and wind down, or have a lunch. On our trip here, there were several deer that came in pretty close as we sat and watched them. Hopefully, you'll see them too!

Any Questions regarding the mill or facilities just call 423-863 7311

1154 State Rte 680

Nickelsville, VA 24271

Cowan Mill

Built in 1890, this gorgeous spot is listed as one of the most photographed places in Lee County, Virginia. However, the mill does sit on private property, so out of the respect of the land owners, please do not intrude and be considerate of their land. This is literally a pull over and snap a pic kind of spot. There are no additional activities to do at this mill.

Route 698

Indian Creek Rd

Ewing Va, 24248

I know you're likely not that kind of person, but let's be mindful to pick up and carry out our trash. If you're planning a picnic, take a trash bag with you. It's important, whether you are visitor or a local, to show respect and a bit of dignity and honor to the community that you are a part of or passing through. Maintaining these kinds of spaces is what keeps these beautiful places open for us all to enjoy.

Also, if you plan to feed the ducks, remember that oats and birdseed, or sliced grapes, make great snacks for them verses bread.

Happy Adventures Friends!

As always,

Keep it safe, keep cool, and stay curious.

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