WESTPORT — The bucolic village of Adamsville is one of the region’s most picturesque spots where one can find a little-known culinary treasure that has drawn locals, a few tourists and lucky summer residents for visits and shopping for years.

Gray’s Grist Mill, located a stone’s throw away from the Rhode Island border, is one of the nation’s oldest continually running grist mills and the oldest in New England.

According to George Whitley, who has served as the miller here since 2015, there has been a grist mill continually operating on the site since before 1700, though the first official deed of ownership can be traced back to Philip Taber in 1717 — exactly three centuries ago.

Gray’s Grist Mill is owned by Ralph Guild, who spends summers at Westport Harbor and purchased the mill in 1980. It was bought from its previous owner with the stipulation that it continue as a working mill and museum.

“The mill’s main product is Jonnycake meal,” Whitley says. “It is America’s original pancake.”

The grist mill also offers Gray’s Pancake and Waffle Mix, made from yellow corn, wheat and rye flours, baking powder and soda.

The miller shares that Gray’s is one of a handful of grist mills still operating in the country that still makes Jonnycake meal the traditional way, using Rhode Island White Cap Flint Corn and ground with two 15-inch thick granite millstones.

“It was the original corn grown in this area,” Whitley says, noting the corn is grown on the southern coast of Rhode Island, where soft gentle breezes impart a distinctive rich flavor.

He adds that more than 400 years ago, friendly Native Americans taught the Pilgrims how to pound corn into a meal by using a crude mortar and pestle. The meal was then mixed into a stiff dough, which was spread on a smooth flat surface and cooked before an open flame into a cake.

Whitley says the name “Jonnycake” is probably a variation of the word “journeycake,” a term used by travelers hundreds of years ago to pack provisions carried long distances.

The expert miller says the battle continues over the consistency of the cornmeal batter.

“The further west you go the thicker you tend to get,” Whitley says, adding that some people like to add chopped onions and garlic to the batter and serve as a savory dish. Others like a thin batter and enjoy Jonnycakes for breakfast, topping the early morning treat with maple syrup or a dollop of jam.

Part of the fun, Whitley says, is meeting travelers and tour groups, and also introducing chefs to Jonnycake corn meal and discovering how many ways the corn meal can be used. Whitley says one area chef recently topped Jonnycake corn meal with fresh sliced peaches to create a delicious and unique summer dessert.

He says that corn meal can be used to bread seafood, chicken and other foods, or used to make corn bread or Indian pudding topped with vanilla ice cream for a delicious fall treat.