Hankering for a good plate of corn meal mush or buckwheat cakes with rugged-textured sausage? How about a pair of biscuits the size of softballs, accompanied by a vast bowl full of creamy sausage gravy? If those are your likin’s, come to Clifton Mill and feast. This genuine water-powered grist mill, the largest in the U.S., has a rustic dining room with a view of Clifton Gorge and the huge mill wheel turning just outside.
That mush is really good: three tiles of cornmeal fried into crunchy squares with a delicious sticky interior – great with a little syrup poured on top. The biscuits and gravy is a daunting meal … although we did watch a ten-year-old boy at a nearby table polish off the whole thing with precise strategy, mopping the last of the gravy with his last piece of biscuit. The assortment of pancakes, made from grain ground on premises, is vast, including whole wheat, buttermilk, buckwheat, cornmeal, apple-cinnamon, banana walnut, and oat bran honey. Blueberries, raisins, or chocolate chips can be added to any kind you like.
There is a gift shop attached to the restaurant where the mill’s grains are sold along with country-style nick-nacks. Christmas aficionados should note that Clifton Mill puts on a display that is WAY over the top: 2.5 million lights on the building, in the gorge, and in the waterfall itself, plus a collection of 3000 different Santa Clauses, and a live Santa who goes up the chimney every half hour. Starting the day after Thanksgiving and continuing through New Years, the lights display goes on every night at 6 and runs until 9:30, weather permitting.