{New} Harmony, Gee I Really Love You

I may have mentioned in an earlier post that our method of fulltime travel is more leisurely than some. You won't find a leg of our journey (so far) that is in excess of 200 or so miles. We like late starts and early endings, which means leaving no earlier than 11 am and arriving no later than about 3 pm (preferably). That's just what we do and because of that we found ourselves parked at Harmonie State Park in New Harmony, Indiana back in late May 2013.

We were headed from the Louisville area to St. Louis to see family. Having never been in this part of the country we had no idea what there was to see or what towns might be of interest along any particular route. So, we arrived in New Harmony without a clue as to what to expect.

Carol's Garden

Turns out the town is exactly what it sounds like...harmonious. At first it seemed a little "Children of the Corn" and we joked about never being able to leave again. It's really like going back in time with small, cute houses with the proverbial white picket fences and flower beds. There aren't many cars either. Most of the locals (population 915) walk (holy cow...that's like exercise!!) or drive golf carts. They even volunteer their time to maintain the public gardens, labyrinth and flower beds in front of public building. Yes...volunteer...as in for free (and just for the sheer joy of living in a a place of great beauty with a strong sense of community). A far cry from the towns and cities we've lived in where most residents want to know 'what's in it for me'

One of the many volunteer flower beds throughout the town.
There were 2 separate attempts to settle the site as a utopia. The first in 1814 and again in 1825. Despite the economic and educational successes of these societies neither held fast but they did leave behind a very unique legacy of creativity and serenity. As a matter of fact, New Harmony hosts writer's retreats and is known as a romantic honeymoon spot. With this kind of scenery it's easy to see:

We drove into town to see the "sights"...or at least what Yelp and Trip Adviser suggested. The tiny town was surprisingly full of color, architecture, history and culture. I was smitten and actually declared that our road trip could now end...obviously this didn't happen.

The Descent of the Holy Spirit bronze sculpture by Jacques Lipchitz at the Roofless Church.
The Roofless Church
This stone carving of Our Lady and The Christ Child is from Isle St Louis, France, and the work of an unknown 15th century sculptor. This is New Harmony's oldest work of art. It was dedicated to the memory of the Trappist Monk, Thomas Merton by a Trustee of The Merton's trust. {A sure sign that we were meant to be in this place as our last 2 stops also involved Thomas Merton to some extent).
The Labyrinth
After tooling around the Roofless Church, labyrinths and gardens we found our way to Sara's Harmonie Way Coffee Shop and Wine Bar. Although we stopped in for a cuppa joe we ended up with some stronger libations. Clark sampled Indiana's first beer, Sara's Harmony Lager, and I kept him company by partaking in a tasting of various red wines as suggested by the barista.

Sara's Harmonie Way
Turns out Sara's is the local gathering spot and everybody we met had a talent and a story. First we met Rachel Mathew (who's really from Evansville but comes to New Harmony often) an extremely talented photographer.

This is from Rachel's business page. Unfortunately I didn't get a picture of us together (I'm still a little shy about asking for pictures for fear of looking like a weirdo). But she's so amazing and beautiful I wanted you guys to "get to know her". Please visit her website and/or Facebook page!!
Then came Curt Schmitt, a cabinet maker who was bringing in 4 newly handcrafted bar chairs he had just finished.
Source: curtschmittcabinetry.com
He was followed by Jim and Stephanie of New Harmony Soap Company...transplants who fell in love with this little town during a visit and decided to make it home.

Hanging out with the locals at Sara's New Harmonie Way (on the new, handcrafted bar stools made by Curt (center in blue).
Everyone made us feel at home with lively and intelligent conversations. New Harmony certainly attracts a hard working, entrepreneurial spirit who is also very community oriented. The people here frequent each others business keeping the money circulating in this small but prosperous town. Their pride and interconnectedness means there's no litter, no crime and no one does without (think back to the good old fashioned barn raisings of the past).

I still list this quaint little town as one of my top 3 for places to {maybe} settle one day (although Clark is still set on the south). Perhaps this little cabin was a sign...

One of the original homes. If you can read the plaque see below.
My maiden name!

 (Elton John) written by Bernie Taupin

Harmony and me
We're pretty good company
Looking for an island
In our boat upon the sea
Harmony, gee I really love you
And I want to love you forever
And dream of the never, never, never leaving harmony