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Luxury

Historic Mill With a Hippie Past Could Be Your Live-Work Space in Virginia

  • bedroom1-1024x683-13ce9858d256e410VgnVCM100000d7c1a8c0____

    A cheery bedroom.

  • exterior2-13ce9858d256e410VgnVCM100000d7c1a8c0____

    The mill's exterior.

  • loft-1024x683-13ce9858d256e410VgnVCM100000d7c1a8c0____

    The open-plan loft space.

  • river-1024x768-13ce9858d256e410VgnVCM100000d7c1a8c0____

    Dodd Creek.

This 115-year-old former grain mill comes with a double punch of history: After decades of service as a working mill, it served as a headquarters for the hippie renaissance of Floyd, VA, in the late 1970s.

No matter whether you're more interested in its milling pedigree or its service as a hippie HQ, you won't be disappointed by its historical appeal -- or its price: The three-bedroom home goes for just $239,900.

Despite its grainy origins, the mill spent much of its history selling -- not making -- food. In the late '70s, a motley group of radical, alternative, Floyd County residents called the "New Pilgrims" transformed the first-floor retail space into the the Floyd Mill Co-Op, selling cheese, herbal teas, bread, flour, and other all-natural, whole-grain goodness.

The co-op served as "headquarters" for the New Pilgrims, according to the April 1981 issue of The Roanoker magazine: "The walls are covered with recipes for meatless casseroles and tofu dishes, notices of lectures on Eastern philosophy, and offers of free kittens and goats."

For the most part, the walls are now bare -- a similar wellness shop, Harvest Moon Food Store, operated on the first floor before moving closer to downtown. The space has remained empty since. Listing agent Kelly Thomas of Thomas & Wall Real Estate says the property could easily again become a viable store -- or gallery, or single- or multi-family real estate.

Each of the 4,320-square-foot building's three stories features a fully outfitted studio apartment, complete with a full bath, washer and dryer, and water heater. While all three can be rented as residences, the first floor is partitioned with both living and retail or gallery space.

Whether you choose to live in one apartment or all three, the mill -- located about five minutes from town and about an hour from Roanoke -- offers the kind of peace and serenity you can find only in the country.

"It's so nice and quiet," says Thomas. "Once you get there, your blood pressure goes down 10 points."

Dodd Creek runs alongside the length of the mill's 1.67 acres, its babbling streams just a few yards from the home's back door. Want to get a little closer? There's a small patio on the bank where you can enjoy your evening tea.

Inside, enjoy the colorful, artistic walls and railings added on by the current owner, a local artisan. But don't worry: The home may have been modernized, but it still feels historic, down to its aroma.

"You can smell it," says Thomas. "It's not a weird smell, but you just know it's a big old mill."