In May 2016 I felt the need to “get away” to somewhere peaceful and tranquil and I found that place in New Harmony, IN. It wasn’t so much getting away from anything, because my home with two lazy cats is pretty quiet and happy. It was more going TO someplace different.
The quaint little town of New Harmony is about 140 miles from where I live in Louisville, KY. See short history and slide show of photos here: https://crookedcreek.live/2019/04/05/new-harmony/
“Attractions” may not be a good word for all the beautiful things to see and do in New Harmony because it might conjure up thoughts of crowded venues. It was actually the quiet that I first noticed. There was little traffic and most people got around on silent golf carts. I rented one and toured about leisurely from one point of interest to the next. These sites included the Roofless Church, Barn Abbey, Artists’ Guild, Gallery of Contemporary Art, Working Men’s Institute Museum, the Atheneum, and more. There was plenty to see on foot as well, walking among the historic businesses and residences. Gardens and trees surrounded everything and even covered the spaces between the sidewalks and streets.
Adding to the serenity of New Harmony were quiet gardens, a labyrinth, a maze and sculptures by various artists. Nature always nourishes my soul, but I found these prepared spaces enriching as well.
Lodging and Food
At the time I visited there were several Bed & Breakfasts in operation. I stayed at the New Harmony Resort Inn and Conference Center which was clean and quiet. There were several dining establishments to choose from. I enjoyed eating at the Red Geranium which had a breakfast buffet.
For me, the best part of my stay was the time I spent on hiking trails. They were scattered throughout the area, some wooded and remote, others by the Wabash River or the lake on the Conference Center grounds.
New Harmony, IN
I recommend it for anyone who likes quiet, loves nature and wants to briefly experience a different way of life.
“Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you.” Frank Lloyd Wright
During the mid-eighteenth century, there was a place in Delaware known as Murdering Town. The folks who lived there were from Germany and believed strongly in the separation of church and state. They developed into a pacifist society migrating to Pennsylvania where they built the town of Harmony, which sounds like a far cry from Murdering Town. These folks couldn’t seem to stick in one place for long and in the early nineteenth century, they moved their Harmony Society again, this time to the state of Indiana.
In Indiana, these peace-loving people gave all their worldly possessions to the Society which in turn provided for all their needs. They developed an existence dedicated to harmony and for a few years all was good, but then they made a fatal mistake. They adopted celibacy as a way of life, and “the rest is history,” as the saying goes. Eventually, the founders became extinct and the town was re-established by Mennonites who gradually faded away and closed their church there.
Today New Harmony is a wonderful place to visit and certainly appears to be an idyllic place to live. The old town once plagued by calamities such as fire and tornadoes has been restored. While full of interesting places to visit, eat and be entertained, it remains a quiet and peaceful village.
The homes are restored and surrounded by beautiful gardens. The public spaces are verdant in every direction. To visit there is to experience going back to a time of true harmony and tranquility.
Nearby is a 3,500 State Park, known as Harmonie. It offers hiking, horse and bike trails, campsites, fishing, and rental cabins. The park also has Interpretive Naturalist Service in the summer months as well as picnic areas and swimming in an Olympic sized pool and the Wabash River.
In the next post, I’ll tell you a bit about my personal retreat in New Harmony a couple of years ago.
“Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony.” Thomas Merton