Come Visit New Harmony
As a resident of Southwest Indiana, it is important to remind ourselves of the true treasures we hold in our backyards. Indiana is a melting pot for a wide variety of cultures and lifestyles, but we are unified in our Hoosier heritage. The same can be said about New Harmony.
The rich history of this once utopian society serves as a reminder to Hoosiers that great things can happen in the smallest of places. In the 1800s, New Harmony was a center for advancing education and scientific research. Its residents were forward-thinking in their construction of one of the first, free public libraries in the country – the Working Men’s Institute.
The prominent Owen family resided in the small, quaint town of New Harmony. Robert Dale Owen went on to serve as a US Congressman and created the Smithsonian Institution. Richard Owen, a state geologist and professor was Purdue University’s first president in 1872. The list of New Harmony’s residents who have made a positive impact on the Hoosier state goes on and on.
Today, the history of New Harmony is still prevalent as you walk through Carol’s Garden and Paul Tillich Park; both beautiful places. But, before you begin your visit, be sure to start at the Antheneum and take a historic tour. Richard Meier, a world-renowned architect, designed the modern and chic building that has models of New Harmony in 1824.
The next must-see attraction is the Cathedral Labyrinth, a replica of the famed labyrinth at Chartres Cathedral in France. The serenity you will find as you take the winding path to the center of the labyrinth and back out again is sure to alleviate all of your worries. For a slightly different experience, visit the Harmonist Labyrinth, a living walkway with hedges on either side of you.
If you are a history buff, the Working Men’s Institute – Indiana’s oldest continuously operating public library – is a must. The archives and 19th century museum will supplement your understanding of the communal societies that settled in New Harmony over 175 years ago.
Perhaps not as dated as New Harmony are what you will find in the numerous antique shops that the town has to offer. These shops are fun to stroll into as you relive childhood memories and peruse through collectibles.
Make a weekend of your trip to New Harmony by staying at the New Harmony Inn. This small, bed and breakfast has 90 rooms that provide great lake views and sprawling grounds with waterfalls and fountains. After the day’s activities have left you famished, look no further than the award-winning Red Geranium restaurant, a romantic setting for a night out. Pop’s Grill and Old Fashioned Ice Cream Shop is also a great place for a burger and a shake, but if you are looking for pizza and beer, Yellow Tavern is the place to be.
A vacation does not necessarily have to be a trip to a faraway destination. Being on the Wabash River, New Harmony is a great getaway or even a “staycation” that offers all the amenities and time for relaxation. For more information about New Harmony and tourism in Indiana, visit http://www.in.gov/visitindiana.
Guest column appears in the Posey County News.