About Us

Welcome to The Inn at Gristmill Square, where history, hospitality, and comfort unite to offer you an extraordinary escape in the heart of Warm Springs, Virginia.

The Inn at Gristmill Square

More Than Your Average Bed & Breakfast

Located in the heart of the picturesque village of Warm Springs in Bath County, Virginia, The Inn at Gristmill Square is a boutique inn that offers an escape from the rush and noise of everyday life. The Inn at Gristmill Square looks like a small 19th century colonial village, with lovingly restored historic buildings and an elegant restaurant and pub housed in a converted mill. Welcome elements of the modern world intrude gently – each room has a private bath, satellite TV, private phone line, mini-fridge, and complimentary Wi-fi. To view a map of our property click here.

The Innkeepers Jon and Kate

Meet the Innkeepers

John and Kate Loeffler have both spent their entire professional lives in the hospitality industry. The opportunity to purchase the inn presented itself one random evening at a get together with local friends. John and Kate knew Bruce McWilliams and always enjoyed listening to him speak so fondly of his inn. That night Bruce mentioned that he and his mother, Janice, were ready to give up their business of 30 years and move on to other adventures. John and Kate were both ready to start their own adventure, and inn keeping was the perfect opportunity for them to stay in Bath County and live their dream. In February 2011 they signed the paperwork to officially become the proprietors of The Inn at Gristmill Square. They never knew they could be so happy or feel so rewarded and fulfilled by simply doing what they enjoy most…taking care of their guests.

John and Kate reside near the inn with their dogs Porter and Rye.

Bath County, Virginia

Hidden quietly in the serene Allegheny Mountains of Virginia, Bath County is a seclusion lover’s paradise. With 89% of its landscape still covered in mountain forest, Bath is a place where you can unwind, reconnect with nature, with family, with yourself, and take a gentle journey on the back roads of the mountains and the back roads of time. The George Washington National Forest covers more than 170,000 acres in Bath County, offering outdoor recreation galore.

Bath County is named for the crystal clear mineral waters of the natural warm springs, and travelers have come to Bath to soak in the springs for more than 200 years. This is the perfect place to sit on a porch on a lazy afternoon, soak away your cares in a natural spring, or climb a hill to watch the sunset. It’s also a great place for active relaxation, like hiking, golfing, boating and mountain biking. High culture meets the mountains in Bath. Here you can enjoy an evening listening to fine music by the resident chamber quartet, or explore art, antique and craft galleries.

Exterior historical view of The Inn at Gristmill Square

History of Warm Springs Mill

There has been a mill on the present site on Warm Springs Run in the heart of Warm Springs, Virginia, since 1771. The present mill building was built in 1900 and operated until 1970 when it became home of the Waterwheel Restaurant (1973). The building is now listed as a National and Virginia Historic Landmark. The mill has retained most of its interior and exterior features intact, so it’s a virtual museum of milling machinery. The water-powered gristmill produced stone ground flour. The nearly 20-foot wide Fitz water wheel rests on a massive wooden block that rests on an eight-foot high stone pier.

The partially excavated cellar (now our wine cellar) contains much of the original millworks. A ten-foot wide vertical face wheel with wooden teeth is engaged to the horizontal lantern pinion wheel. The latter transferred the direction of the drive from horizontal to vertical and increased the speed of the millstone spindle compared to the slower motion of the water wheel shaft. The leather belts and wooden chutes of the grain elevator system are also still extant and are in good condition.

The first floor, now a dining room, is divided into two areas by a marked change in floor level. On the upper level is found the millstone in its wooden vat, which in turn rests on a large square granite slab bolted to the floor. The slab is notched with a meal spout connecting the vat with the lower level. A metal label on the south side of the vat identifies its maker: B.F. Starr, Baltimore, Md., Mill Builders and Furnishings, Reground and Re-corrugated Rolls. A wooden “horse” or frame supports the wide wooden hopper with damsel, which regulated the flow of grain coming from the two wooden chutes connected to the grain bins on the second floor. To the left of the millstone is the large stone crane with a screw jack used to lift and place the mill stones. A series of seven wooden grain elevator chutes, each with its own leather belt, scoops and glass windows, forms a wall dividing the millstone vat from the east side of the upper level. 

The elevator system was an important component in the automatic operation of the mill. Run by the action of the waterwheel, it elevated the grain mechanically to the top of the mill, cleaned it during gravity transmission to the hoppers, conveyed it to the top of the mill again and then cooled, bolted and barreled it during its second descent without the intervention of any manual operation. The former miller’s office, now the Simon Kenton pub, is located at the southeast corner of the lower level.

The most noted personality associated with the mill is pioneer Simon Kenton. Born in Virginia in 1755, he left his Tidewater home as a young man of 16 to hide out as a fugitive from justice. He loved a beautiful girl, but she loved another. Kenton and her suitor met in combat over her and Kenton fled as he believed he had killed his rival. In 1771, he located Jacob’s Butler’s mill on the edge of town and was employed briefly. 

The inn was created in 1973 utilizing five original 19th century buildings. A converted blacksmith shop houses the two guest rooms. The old hardware store provides space for seven more guest rooms. The Steele House, a once private residence, houses four guest rooms, the former home of the Miller (now known as The Miller House) has another four guest rooms, and our latest addition (added in 2016) is known as the Payne House. The Payne House is home to the office/front desk and gift shop, and the Turley Suite.

Exterior historical view of The Inn at Gristmill Square
Exterior historical view of The Inn at Gristmill Square
Exterior historical view of The Inn at Gristmill Square