Think of New Harmony as a really miniature Williamsburg, or similar to a local North Carolina favorite, Old Salem. The town is a site of two previous commune attempts: one established in 1814 by German immigrants who established an independent religious community, and then one by a secular group of scholars led by Robert Owen in 1825. Neither attempt at Utopia lasted, but the interesting architecture and small-town focus on simplicity and harmony in nature persist.
Things to Do:
Check out the historic landmarks scattered across town from the previous utopian settlements.
|The Roofless Church is an unusual structure with a circular opening in the center that allows the skylight to come right through to anyone standing inside.|
Just walk around and look at the range of architecture. From Victorian gothic to basic log cabins, the homes here are full of history and details.
|The Orchard House is open for renters, and the main bedroom features a several hundred year old bed and, word has it,a real Picasso on the wall.|
|The Rapp Owen Granary was the site of the wedding venue and with candles in the window for Christmas it was a picturesque spot.|
Check out Sarah's Harmony Way for fresh cafe food, coffee, and a selection of local wine and beer. There are several other little restaurants nestled in the downtown area between art stores and antique shops.
Where to Stay:
Most of the homes in the area are available for rent, including the historic Orchard House. The New Harmony Inn was where we stayed, and the bed was divinely comfortable.
If you are planning to be in the southern Indiana/Illinois area, New Harmony is well worth your stop just to walk around and soak in the odd mix of simplicity meets quirky. This place was founded by people who think outside the box and were trying to create new ways of seeing the world, and that feeling of 'unusual' breaks through the small-town quiet as you walk along each street.