Heading over to the Mill from the parking lot is a beautiful Dahlia Garden. I've met members of the Elkhart Dahlia Society who care for this. They are dedicated to this beautiful and complicated plant.
This is a BEAUTIFUL spot for pictures!
There are several gardens in this area. The younger crowd liked peeking behind the flowers. There is also an herb garden nearby.
The view is gorgeous, with the reflection on the pond.
While some areas are manicured, there are also very natural areas nearby.
You can see the water flowing under the mill. Inside, you can see historical artifacts relating to the operation of the mill. It's kind of mind boggling to see how the energy of moving water could be harnessed to power the grist mill and other operations within the mill--all dating back to the 1830s.
Here, the mill worker is demonstrating the various products when grinding corn. There is corn meal, grits, the chaff, and all of it mixed together. The machines can separate the different products.
There were also several different types of grains--I knew most of them! We have a Nutrimill Grain Mill and grind our own grains at home for the most part. They sell the freshly ground grains at reasonable prices. I know of several families that buy their flours here. A lady bought cornmeal while we were there--she said it makes delicious breading for chicken! We had a great conversation with the miller!
There is also a quilt mural on one of the nearby buildings.
We chose to go toward Briar Patch Shelter and stopped at a small wetland area nearby. We quickly found small frogs and noticed tadpoles swimming in the area.
We tried catching tadpoles, but weren't very successful. My husband joined the "hunt" and caught one!
The others all came back to investigate our discoveries. We could see the small back legs on most of the tadpoles. We spent a good half hour at this spot looking for frogs and tadpoles. We'd visited this area for an amphibian presentation in the past--good place for frogs! Earlier in the spring, I put together this post with links to local frog calls. We left the amphibians in their habitat, but it was fun to see them up close for a bit!
To think, it's just a platform; however, it took us into a world of amphibians!
Later we trekked over to Briar Patch, hoping for the nearby playground. The meadow is also near the area used for sledding in the winter nearby. The shelter was rented out for a family reunion--we often have family reunions there, too. The park was fairly active on Saturday, with a wedding with the waterfall behind (which is why we didn't head in that direction), another couple getting wedding pictures, and many more families out and about. There are several pavilions to rent in the park.
The kids were disappointed to see there was no playground here anymore. We weren't aware that it was gone!
A favorite tree was still nearby. I call it the "family" tree, as there are branches for a whole family to take pictures! We were glad to have several cousins along with us! They also had fun finding toads (and releasing them)!