single frame: Main Street, New Harmony

Around New Harmony

Margaret and I try very hard to get away four times a year for a three-day weekend, just the two of us. The concentrated us time really does our marriage good.

Chicago had become our default destination when we decided to mix things up a little. Our last trip, to Bardstown, Kentucky, showed us that small-town outings could be just as fun and much more relaxing.

I’ve always wanted to visit New Harmony, population about 700, in the southwesternmost county in Indiana. I tried once before, on an epic 2007 Spring Break tour with my sons of historic and scenic Indiana places. But it poured down rain the whole time. We drove around the town but never got out of the car.

New Harmony has a fascinating history. Twice in the early 1800s, groups tried to build utopian societies here, one religious and one not. Some of their buildings still stand. We didn’t dig into that during our stay — we wanted to experience New Harmony as it is now and just have a nice time. If you’re interested, this article tells the story in compact form.

A nice time we did have in New Harmony. We rented an 1840s cottage but due to something there being out of order found ourselves upgraded to an enormous four-bedroom house built in about 1860. I’ll share photos of this lovely home in an upcoming post. Renting a house let us bring food with us to make our breakfast and lunch, which let us save a little money, eat more healthfully, and relax through our mornings.

We brought our bikes with us and rode all over this little town, and then halfway through the trip decided it was no trouble really to walk anywhere we wanted to go. We serendipitously enjoyed live music two nights and met many interesting people, some from New Harmony and others visitors just like us.

The only things we wished were different about our trip related to restaurants. Only one restaurant is open in town on Sunday night, and it’s the town’s nicest and most expensive place; we really wanted a light bite in a cozy nook. We also wished menus more easily accommodated our various dietary issues, as we’re used to in the big city.

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11 responses to “single frame: Main Street, New Harmony”

  1. J P Avatar

    That sounds like a fun time. I have never gotten there, not even for a quick drive-through.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      It takes a while to get there as it’s surprisingly remote, but it’s a lovely trip once you’re there.

  2. Andrew Karlson Avatar

    Thanks for this snapshot into a town I’ve always been curious to visit! The other Indiana destination on my bucket list is Columbus, due to my art history background.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Columbus is really interesting. I hope you make it there someday. Here is the one post I’ve made with photos from there.

      1. DougD Avatar

        Very nice, we are doing a getaway trip to Stratford (Ontario) to see a play this weekend. How genteel, and we don’t have to go all the way to England. I hope you felt a little more relaxed afterwards.

        Dining in small towns can be a problem. When my parents used to trek to Myrtle Beach a couple of times a year they would text me what little town they’d stopped in, and I’d try to find them a decent restaurant they’d enjoy. Sometime there were no options so they’d just make a meal at the grocery store.

        1. Jim Grey Avatar

          Towns that seek tourists need places open Sunday night! We run into this problem a lot. The dietary restriction challenges we do sort of understand.

  3. Pat F Chase Avatar
    Pat F Chase

    I love NH. My Fillingim ancestors moved there in 1819. My mother was born there and we use to visit often. My grandparents lived in the Fauntleroy house with Mrs. Fauntleroy about 1900. They were all stockman and the Gentrys had a livery stable. My distant cousin Don Blair was responsible for some of the early restoration in the 1950s working with Jane Humble. His photography collection is at the Evansville IUPUI southwest college(not really sure of its name) archives on line.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Oh wow, your family goes all the way back to the Harmony Society! How exciting!

      1. Pat F Chase Avatar
        Pat F Chase

        They were not part of either group. Their farm was on the Plank Road going towards Mt. Vernon. There are no socialist in my pedigree.

        1. Jim Grey Avatar

          Oh! I’m sorry to have misassociated you!

          1. Pat F Chase Avatar
            Pat F Chase

            it is a common misunderstanding. I am not sure why they migrated there. My mother always jokingly said that our family greeted the “Boat Load Knowledge”. The Gentry side of my family bought land from Owen in the 1840s. There are some historical files on them at the Workingman’s Institute. NH is a fascination place. How industrious the Rappits were with their buildings and economic endeavors and then the brilliance of the Owen family and the scientific community.

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