15 Fascinating Things To Do in Valley Mills, Texas | Where Magnolia Table is Filmed

Explore Valley Mills, TX: Discover historical sites, an HGTV-featured sawmill, and the exclusive "Magnolia Table" filming location.

The Gristmill where Magnolia Table is filmed in Valley Mills, TX is one of the things to do near Waco TX.

Valley Mills, Texas, is home to many fascinating and historical things, including a Santa Fe Railroad Museum, a nationally recognized sawmill (as seen in HGTV's popular show, "Fixer Upper"), as well as the remains of a historic bridge in a hidden riverside park.

More recently, Valley Mills, TX, became the exclusive filming location for "Magnolia Table with Joanna Gaines," the Magnolia Network TV show.

A staged kitchen inside the store at Magnolia at The Silos
Photo by ExpertTexan.com

If you're visiting Waco and looking for unique things to do near Waco that are off the beaten path, look no further! Valley Mills is just a quick 20-minute drive down the road from Waco.

The Location & History of Valley Mills, Texas

Valley Mills, TX is a small, rural town in Central Texas located about 25 minutes West of Waco and 60 miles North of Fort Cavazos (Formerly known as Fort Hood) - the 3rd largest military base in the US.

The population is approximately 1,400, though the greater Valley Mills population outside of city limits is much higher.

Historic Church

Nestled in Central Texas, Valley Mills offers a treasure trove of historical and intriguing attractions. From a Santa Fe Railroad Museum to nationally recognized landmarks like the sawmill featured on HGTV's "Fixer Upper," the town is rich in heritage. Not to mention, it serves as the exclusive filming location for "Magnolia Table with Joanna Gaines," a renowned show on the Magnolia Network.

the road leading into the valley of Valley Mills, TX

Photo by ExpertTexan: The road leading into the valley in Valley Mills, TX

If you're seeking unique experiences off the beaten path near Waco, Valley Mills is just a quick 20-minute drive away. Let's delve into the charm and history of this quaint Texan town.

The Location & History of Valley Mills, Texas

Situated approximately 25 minutes west of Waco, Valley Mills traces its roots back to the mid-1800s when it was founded in Bosque County along the Bosque River. Over time, the town shifted to the other side of the river to be closer to the newly constructed railroad, a move that proved fortuitous when a devastating tornado struck the original town shortly afterward.

Today, Valley Mills boasts a population of around 1,400 and retains much of its historic charm, with numerous well-preserved buildings dating back to its early days.

Things To See and Do in Valley Mills

Despite its small size, Valley Mills offers a plethora of attractions for visitors. Here are some highlights:

The Historic Gristmill

Built in 1900, the Historic Gristmill now serves as the filming location for "Magnolia Table with Joanna Gaines." While tours aren't available, you can admire its exterior, including the greenhouse where much of the show's produce originates.

The Historic Gristmill in Valley Mills, TX where Magnolia Table with Joanna Gaines is filmed

Photo by ExpertTexan

The Gristmill (aka the Gaines film studio) during the Winter:

the historic Gristmill in Valley Mills, Tx during the winter with snow on the ground

Photo by ExpertTexan: The Gaines film studio during the Winter

Award-Winning Valley Mills Vineyard

Experience the beauty of Valley Mills Vineyard, which has garnered accolades for its exceptional wines. Set atop a picturesque hillside; the vineyard offers a serene setting to enjoy a glass of wine and soak in the scenery.

The sign on highway 6 in Valley Mills, Tx pointing to Valley Mills Vineyards, an award winning wine vineyard in Valley Mills, TX

Photo by ExpertTexan

The Bosque River

Cross over the Bosque River to reach the vineyard, where you'll encounter stunning views of this waterway that once divided the town. Fishers, researchers, and nature enthusiasts frequent its banks, providing a tranquil retreat from the Texas heat.

Santa Fe Train Depot Museum

Adjacent to the city park, the Santa Fe Train Depot Museum offers insight into Valley Mills' railroad history. The nearby train tracks are still in use today and add to the museum's authenticity.

The Santa Fe Train

Photo by Seri / Unsplash

Valley Mills Mantel Shop

Visit the renowned Valley Mills Mantel shop, featured on "Fixer Upper," and marvel at the craftsmanship of its woodwork. Housed in a historic building dating back to 1900, it's a testament to the town's artisanal legacy.

Valley Mills Mantel shop as featured in Fixer Upper on HGTV

Photo by ExpertTexan

First National Bank of Bosque County

Step back in time at the 1st National Bank of Bosque County, which has occupied its current location since 1908. Founded in 1896, the bank's enduring presence reflects Valley Mills' enduring spirit.

First National Bank of Bosque County in Valley Mills, TX

Photo by ExpertTexan

Rock Springs Cumberland Presbyterian Church

Just a few miles from downtown, the historic Rock Springs Church stands as a testament to Valley Mills' diverse heritage. Built in 1890 by freed slave James B. Sadler, it serves as a reminder of the town's rich cultural legacy.

Rock Springs, Texas, was one of the first free African American communities in the state. This church was the center of the community, overlooking one of the springs at "Rock Springs."

The very building that the community was centered around is also the only remaining building of what was Rock Springs—a remnant of a bustling rural Texas town that once consisted of schools, banks, stables, and other thriving businesses.

Historic Rock Springs Cumberland Presbyterian Church in Rock Springs, Tx; the first free black colony in the state of Texas

Photo by ExpertTexan

Hidden Boy Scout Park

Discover the hidden gem of Boy Scout Park, a serene riverside retreat tucked away from the bustle of town. Shaded by trees, it's the perfect spot for a picnic or a leisurely stroll along the riverbank.

Valley Mills Progress (1989 - Current)

Don't miss the Valley Mills Progress, a local newspaper that has been documenting the town's progress since 1989. Pick up a copy at various establishments around town to stay informed about Valley Mills' latest happenings.

Wall Mural Art

Admire the vibrant wall mural depicting Valley Mills' history as you stroll through downtown. A testament to the town's artistic spirit, it offers a glimpse into its colorful past.

In Summary

Valley Mills may be small in size, but it's big in character and charm. Whether you're a history buff, a nature enthusiast, or simply seeking a tranquil escape, this hidden gem in Central Texas has something for everyone. So, why not plan a visit and experience the allure of Valley Mills for yourself?

Interesting facts about Valley Mills, TX

  • Valley Mills, TX, is home to the Valley Mills Eagles baseball team. They became the 2022 State Champions after winning the Conference 2A State Championship game. The last time they had won a state title before that was 30 years prior, in 1992.

  • Donnie Sadler was born and raised in Valley Mills, TX. He also attended Valley Mills High School and played on the Valley Mills Eagles baseball team. He went on to be drafted in 1994 by the Boston Red Sox minor league team, and subsequently played in the MLB from 1998 - 2007.

  • Valley Mills, TX, was founded in 1867.

  • Valley Mills was named after a flour mill that was built on the banks of the Bosque River.

  • Valley Mills was home to Isaac Brock, a supercentenarian.