About the property
- Mill1200 sqft
- Half Baths1
- Minimum Stay2 nights
Enjoy river views from the 1867 mill's first floor apartment, deck or patio.
Unique architectural accents from grain milling days entice you to marvel at the high ceilings graced by maple floor joists that are braced by black walnut columns and saddles in this impressive living area. Original, massive, 13 1/2-by-12 inch, mortise-and-tenon constructed beams provide the backdrop in this 5-story mill with a limestone foundation that is 4 feet thick at the base. Doors and windows are framed with hardwood reclaimed from damaged floors on upper stories. Light streams from the bedrooms into the living areas through 6-pane windows removed from the mill prior to 1985. You will relax in the 1,200 square foot, 2 bedroom , 1.5 bath, street-level apartment furnished with antiques and decorated with a pictorial history of the mill. The larger bedroom has a queen bed and walnut gentleman's dresser with mirror and marble inset between the handkerchief drawers. The smaller bedroom has a full bed with antique spoon-carved commode. Both have windows overlooking the river. Red accent walls remind you of barns from earlier days. The full bath has a tub/shower combination and large vanity with single sink. The half bath has a pedestal sink, toilet and washer/dryer. Towels and linens are provided. The living room is furnished with a comfy couch, rocking chairs, and a futon that makes into a full-size bed with extra thick mattress. Only the walnut columns divide the living and dining areas, and the kitchen is open to both with plenty of cabinets and counter space. The dining room's antique-oak table seats six with an eclectic mix of captains chairs and walnut chairs with caned seats. The fully-equipped kitchen has basic provisions such as coffee, tea, flour, sugar, spices and cooking oil; plates, mugs, glasses, flatware; casserole dishes, baking and muffin pans. You can enjoy preparing popcorn or a four-course meal using the microwave, blender, electric glass-top range, oven, refrigerator and crock pot. You don't need to leave your cozy place for breakfast with the coffee pot and toaster within easy reach. If you prefer not to cook, a cozy cafe and pub are a short walk across the river bridge. A dishwasher makes your clean-up easy.
Your private entrance overlooks the Shell Rock River, a tiny perennial garden and a sidewalk to the river's edge. Off-street parking for vehicles, including recreational vehicles, is on-site.
Remnants of milling days, including massive turbines and partial millstones, are lawn ornaments in the mill's park-like setting. You may walk up the mill's outside stairs to a deck 25 feet above the river where you can gaze at an adjacent, three-arch bridge built in 1916 which is on the National Register of Historic Places, the upstream rubble dam, and mesmerizing sunsets. A pool below the dam is spawning territory for walleye in early spring, as well as a popular fishing spot year round so bring your fishing rod.
Listen to nature calling as you relax on the private patio overlooking the river, flanked by a rustic bridge railing and millstones. A grill, tools, picnic plasticware, even the picnic basket, are provided for your convenience. You may view eagles, blue herons, Baltimore orioles, cardinals and migratory species like the colorful cedar waxwing. At night you may even catch a glimpse of a deer, raccoons, beaver or otter in the area.
A favorite day for the owners involves launching kayaks at Heery Woods State Park near Clarksville about 8 miles away. Then floating down the Shell Rock River, picnicking, skipping rocks and taking out kayaks above the dam at the park next to the mill. At the mill we mount bicycles, ride the Rolling Prairie Trail back to Heery Woods where we retrieve the transport vehicle. What a wonderful way to combine relaxing with nature and exercising!
Canoe and kayak rentals are available 6.5 miles away in Waverly, IA. If you are a bicyclist, more than 100 miles of hard-surfaced trails in the Cedar Valley are within 25 miles of the mill (including Cedar Falls and Waterloo, IA trails) with the closest trail less than two miles from the mill's front door.
Come and stay in the comfort of our small town's landmark where grain was milled in the late 1800s through 1978. The mill is located two miles from The Avenue of the Saints, a four-lane highway which connects St. Louis, Missouri, and St. Paul, Minnesota.
No Pets. No Smoking.
For this vacation property Mill #1056730, the mill's first floor (street level) is the rental unit. It has a private entrance. Two night minimum stay. Weekly rates available. Maximum six persons.
NOTE: The deck level of The Pals' Old Mill is available separately - Mill #1136016 (sleeps 4). Rent both levels for a gathering of friends or family! The inner stairway can be unlocked for direct access between the two levels.
Central air & heat
Belgian waffle maker
Grill, Deck, Patio
Iron & board
Kitchen fully furnished
Dishes & utensils
Linens & towels provided (Bring your own beach towels)
Washer & dryer
LOCAL ATTRACTIONS & SERVICES - MOST WITHIN ONE MILE
Cafe & pub
Canoe & kayak rental (6.5 miles)
Convenience store with food including breakfast sandwiches, pizza & gas
Golf within 10 minutes
Medical Clinic (Hospital within 10 minutes)
Municipal swimming pool
University of Northern Iowa within 20 miles.
Wartburg College within 10 minutes.
Casino, large waterpark, art & science museum less than 30 miles.
Diana & Daryl Pals
- Response rate:
- Response time:
- within one hour
- Calendar last updated:
- May 22, 2018
About Diana & Daryl Pals
Mill curator, lovers of early 1900's antiques and primitives. We enjoy nature, bicycling, kayaking and restoration of antiques and buildings. We want to share the mill's awesome ambience with others. We lived in the mill from 2002 through 2015.
Diana & Daryl Pals purchased this Mill in 2002
Why Diana & Daryl Pals chose Shell Rock
Why did we buy this property in Shell Rock? Because the mill was here waiting for a new opportunity in its long life. The challenge was to take it from a shell with minimal electricity and no plumbing to an insulated, habitable residence while retaining the charm of the massive wooden beams. The previous owner purchased the mill when the business of milling animal feed closed in 1978. He focused on saving the mill from demolition by straightening it, then working from roof to foundation replacing shingles, siding, windows doors and mortar. Visitors remind us of the mill's awesome character which we now take for granted.
What makes this Mill unique
BENEFIT #1: Historic 1867 architecture! The craftsmanship is unparalled today with mortise and tenon construction. Massive beams, columns & their supports, "floating" floor joists are all visible. Drywall was hung & custom kitchen cabinets were built to leave structural wood exposed. Windows and doors throughout the mill are framed with wood flooring salvaged from the second floor level. BENEFIT #2: Get away from the big city hustle and bustle. Enjoy nature. Relax by the river or on it! Walk onto the deck above the river. It will take your breath away! Listen to the rush of the river over the dam. First thing in the morning, gaze out at the river as it tumbles by. Experience Iowa's varied landscape and small town friendliness from the mill's comfortable, convenient location. Kayak, canoe or fish just steps away from the mill. Boat launches are within one, five or fifteen minutes. If it is not high-water, you can even carry your kayak to the park next door, launch, paddle upstream and float back without getting in your truck! No kayak? No problem. Crawdaddy Outdoors rents them 6.5 miles away! Over 100 miles of hard-surfaced trails are within one to 25 miles from the mill. A short one is two blocks away along the river at Rasmussen Park - great walk or ride! An eight-mile trail is one mile north of town. Motorcyclists can enjoy the abundance of scenic county highways in the area. Swimming is available year round - summer at the town pool & all year at "The W" six miles away at Wartburg. BENEFIT #3: Wartburg College & University of Northern Iowa are 6 and 22 miles away with cultural and sporting events.
Local Services & Businesses
Sports & Adventure Activities
Check-in: 3:00 PM
Check-out: 11:00 AM
100% refund if canceled at least 14 days before arrival date. 50% refund if canceled at least 7 days before arrival date. You must contact the owner directly to request cancellation.
Wonderful place to stay and wonderful people to deal with
We liked the history of the mill and a very warm and cozy place to stay. The Pal's are very nice people to deal with. Very considerate people. The community of Shell Rock was also a welcoming community. We would stay again. The mill is a clean and comfortable place to hang out at.
Randy, Thank you for your kind comments. Seldom is the timing right for us to meet our guests. It was our pleasure to "turn on the lights" for you. We enjoyed interacting with you and your family! You are always welcome at The Old Mill.
Diana & Daryl
Old Mill Proprietors
Return Visit Exceeded Expectations! February 16-18, 2018
We just returned from our second visit to the Old Mill in 2018! During this visit we celebrated the birthday of family members and everyone loved sharing conversations, a home-cooked meal, and family time in the coziness of this fabulous location. Family members came from a variety of places around Iowa, Minnesota, Kansas, and California. Only three of us spent our nights at the Old Mill Lower level but fourteen people attended the birthday luncheon. There was room to set up a delicious buffet, as well as tables where we could sit, eat, and carry on a conversation. It was so much better than gathering in a restaurant!
The owner even had a personalized birthday cake waiting for us, along with the usual homemade cookies. Diana has thought of EVERYTHING to make her guest's visit relaxing and stress free, and I mean EVERYTHING! There is a crockpot, waffle maker, blender-you name it, and I would bet that it is available for your use.
The beds are comfortable, the "home" is immaculate, and Diana makes you feel like family. My family was texting me within an hour of our departure back to our homes to suggest another get together in Shell Rock.
There is no doubt that we will return! It has been quite cold during our January and February visits, -18 degrees in January and 18 degrees in February, but the chill vanishes the minute you walk into the warm and cozy comfort of the Old Mill. We are looking forward to visits in warmer weather because we want to experience the good fishing and outdoor activities previous guests have chronicled in the guest book. Thanks, Diana and Daryl for sharing this jewel with us!
Gena, Thank you so much for your return visit & kind comments about The Old Mill! It is a wonderful place for family gatherings! You & your family are welcome any time. We hope to personally visit with you and Steve next time!
We were in the area to visit family and help with a project that required manual labor. The Old Mill was the perfect place to rest and recharge after a long day! The owners are easily accessible and have thought of EVERYTHING to make a stay at their unique property delightful. Even though the thermometer across the street recorded -18 degrees, we were warm and cozy in the Mill. We enjoyed reading about the history of the mil, and the many activities in the area. We look forward to return visits, especially when warm weather returns!
Thanks, Gena, for your kind words. Good to know you stayed warm. We just added insulation in the kitchen - must have helped. Iowa will greet you with warmer temps next time!
Our family of 4 was visiting the area for my 16 year olds first Pre-Season National Wrestling Tournament! We love to travel and have experiences along our journey, and this amazing property delivered just that! My 14 year old was fishing (bring your own pole) every chance he could, our cozy same level living space was decorated very nice and made us feel like we were home:) We also enjoyed reading about the rich history of this dwelling:) We were suprised at the amount of 'extras' of both food and beverages. Nice clear instructions on the how to and when.....super easy to contact owner with any questions:) I really appreciated that!! Only thing I would have liked to know before hand would be type of cookware. Using a glass pan to scramble eggs didn't work out too well for me. Even with butter on the bottom...
I would recommend anyone looking for a home away from home to stay here!! Easy access to everything!!
Lisa, thanks for your kind remarks and suggestions. The cookware was selected with the glass stovetop and microwave in mind. I had not tried cooking eggs. An alternate-style skillet from upstairs will be added street level to make it easier. We will scout locals for fishing equipment sources to post in the welcome book. Previous fishing guests brought their own rods as we are not fishermen - no clue what is needed! Thanks for bringing your family to The Old Mill. You are welcome any time!
Daryl & Diana
Old Mill Proprietors
Clean, cozy, charming and comfortable!
They thought of everything! Just like home away from home. Came to town for UNI family weekend, after a busy day of tours, football and vollyball games it was great to come back to this hidden gem to relax and unwind! My daughter really enjoyed the board games! My son loved the welcome basket with cookies! Thanks again for a great time, it worked out perfectly!
We are pleased The Old Mill could provide a relaxing spot for your family after your busy day in Cedar Falls. Keep us in mind for your future gatherings! You are always welcome!
Quaint, cozy unit in great historic mill
Beautiful location on river in Shell Rock. I was welcomed with fresh baked cookies. The owners also keep coffee, tea and other basic foods and spices stocked in the unit so that it is really easy to hit the ground running without even having to make a trip to the grocery store.
Daryl and Diana, the owners of the Old Mill happened to be staying in the other unit the first night of my stay. They asked me to join them for dinner at the little diner across the street. I really enjoyed getting to know them and learning more about the history of the Old Mill and the stories about their process of renovating the historic building.
The unit was a clean, quiet, homey place to stay. Communications and check in were very simple. The only thing that would be a nice addition, would be internet access, especially since Verizon phone service doesn't seem to be available inside of the Mill
Thanks, Monte, for your kind comments and your recent visit. We apologize for the inconveniences with phone and internet services here. Internet options are being weighed versus costs. Verizon is getting better - in 2002 hubby drove to the closest town to make calls. Then our town had service but only at north and south ends of town (even though Verizon claims to cover the town). Now its service is outside the mill. Making progress! Other providers do work in the mill. We enjoyed dining together. Wishing your family success in their educational endeavors. You 're welcome at The Old Mill any time! Thanks.
Small town living two miles from the four-lane highway known as "The Avenue of the Saints" which links St Paul, MN, and St. Louis, MO. Within 30 miles are Lost Island Waterpark (one of the top ten waterparks in the country), a casino, over 100 miles of hard-surface bicycling trails, arboretum, wrestling museum, very competitive high school and college wrestling teams, art and science museums and lesser known Iowa treasures.The Little Brown Church at Nashua, Iowa, made popular by a song, is 25 minutes away. A state university and private college within 20 minutes provide cultural and sporting events. Also within a 30-minute drive, you can watch the Waterloo Black Hawks, a junior ice hockey team that plays in the United States Hockey League and the Bucks baseball. Numerous quilt shops are within 30-minute drive. It is 45 minutes to Amish at Hazelton, their produce auction, bakeries, furniture makers, general stores, etc.
Rates & Availability
Additional information about rental rates
May not be suitable for toddlers. No smoking. No pets. U.S. Cellular is the most reliable cellular service provider for the mill. Verizon and other services may not work inside the mill, but may work outside or a block away.