In a bucolic setting tucked into rolling hills where southern Indiana meets Illinois and Kentucky, New Harmony, Indiana, casts a captivating spell. Two 19th-century communities claimed this territory with an eye toward developing it into utopian societies. Neither establishment ultimately thrived, but echoes of their early spiritual and scholarly endeavors are still present.
Today, the tiny town continues to attract visitors with its historic architecture and vibrant arts scene. In 2014, New Harmony celebrated its bicentennial, making it an ideal time to visit and explore.
Cook’s on Brewery Bed & Breakfast
This painstakingly maintained two-guestroom B&B makes a peaceful retreat in the heart of New Harmony within easy walking distance to shops, restaurants and landmarks. Johnathon Scott and David Flanders, welcoming owners of the cozy 1908 home, spoil guests with thoughtful details such as fresh flowers, hand-ironed sheets, complimentary use of bicycles (and helmets) and sumptuous breakfasts composed of locally sourced ingredients including farm-fresh eggs, housemade baked goods and seasonal fruits and veggies. 815 S. Brewery St., 812.682.3646, cooksonbrewery.com
The Old Rooming House
No misnomer – this character-rich 1896 Italianate Victorian was actually a boarding house in the 1940s. Guest rooms boast conveniences such as coffeemakers and mini-fridges, but be forewarned: You won’t find any televisions on-site – just a peaceful, shady respite furnished with antiques, books, board games and a chalkboard for conveying messages. If you like affordable accommodations with eclectic personality, this quirky inn may just be your speed. 916 E. Church St., 812.781.9218, oldroominghouse.com
New Harmony Inn Resort and Conference Center
With 90 simply furnished but perfectly contemporary Shaker-style guest rooms and suites scattered across a handful of buildings, as well as meeting facilities and three historic guesthouse accommodations, visitors might be surprised at how tranquil stays at this 125-acre facility can be. The beautifully landscaped property spans several blocks, and many rooms offer idyllic views from private balconies or patios, along with free Wi-Fi and a continental breakfast. 504 North St., 812.682.4431, newharmonyinn.com
Red Geranium Restaurant
New Harmony’s most notable fine-dining establishment, the delightful Red Geranium has been serving the region since 1964. Part of New Harmony Inn, this restaurant is the destination of choice for anniversaries, birthdays and other special-occasion meals thanks in no small part to a romantic atmosphere that includes three intimate dining rooms, a crackling fireplace and cozy rustic décor. The traditional American menu highlights premium Black Angus steaks, seafood, poultry, pasta and an impressive wine list. 520 North St., 812.682.4431, newharmonyinn.com/dining
Keeping the colorful theme going, this casual eatery holds court in a sweet historic building defined by a sunny golden-yellow façade and airy arched windows. The 21-and-up tavern keeps its clientele happy – and stomachs satisfied – with a familiar roster of pub grub heavy on pizzas, salads and sandwiches. Save a little room for the sinfully good signature bread pudding, and hit the ATM before your visit – the Yellow Tavern doesn’t accept credit cards. 521 Church St., 812.682.3303, theyellowtavern.com
Time-warp back to the 1950s at this nostalgic all-American diner brimming with Route 66 style – black and white checkerboard-tiled floors, exposed brick walls and red swivel stools at the counter. Kid-friendly fare such as cheeseburgers, crinkle-cut fries, housemade potato chips, root beer floats and old-fashioned hot fudge sundaes are a perfect pairing for the décor. A must-visit for families with little ones in town. 516 S. Main St., 812.682.3880, popsgrill.biz
Sara’s Harmony Way
With mismatched furniture, local art and antiques, a meal at Sara’s feels like dining inside an adorable vintage store. This is the place to go to sample small-batch Harmonist Lager, Indiana’s first commercial beer made from a 19th-century German recipe. Stop by in the morning for baked goods, coffee and light breakfast fare, or later in the day for a light dinner menu or appetizers such as tasty cheese plates, sausages, blue cheese terrine and fragrant lavender-shortbread cookies paired with a glass of Indiana wine. 500 Church St., 812.682.3611, sarasharmonyway.com
The wafting aroma of freshly made waffle cones greets customers craving scoops of handcrafted ice creams in creative gourmet flavors like salty caramel, brownie batter chunk, pretzel and brown sugar, peppermint bark and butter-toasted pecan made at the location in Mount Vernon, Indiana. Bliss Artisan normally closes every October and reopens on the first day of spring, but a recent merger with Woody’s Pizzeria, which is under the same ownership as Bliss, means the ice cream shop can stay open throughout the winter. For more substantial appetites, pizza and a handful of grilled wraps are also available. 610 Church St., 812.643.5009, facebook.com/myvintageharmony
If you don’t have time for a full-fledged dinner at the Red Geranium Restaurant, stop in for an abbreviated bar menu and draft beer, wines by the glass, bourbon and single-malt Scotch at its Grapevine Bar, a dreamy little room garnished with wood wainscoting, a vaulted ceiling and walls hand-painted to look like lush foliage. 520 North St., 812.682.4431, newharmonyinn.com/dining
Work off a few days of culinary indulgence with a free self-guided walking tour that trails past significant art, architecture and garden sites like the starkly modern Atheneum visitors center, the mushroom-domed al fresco Roofless Church, plus fountains, shrines and chapels. Cap off the stroll with a leisurely wander through the mysterious Harmonist Labyrinth anchored by a stone grotto. visitnewharmony.com
New Harmony Farmer’s and Artisans Market
Looking for some edible souvenirs to commemorate your trip to New Harmony? The market is now closed for the season, but each Saturday morning between April and October, visitors and locals browse a vivid inventory of seasonal, organic products including produce, meat, eggs, herbs, baked goods and more. 406 W. Tavern St., 812.270.1717, facebook.com/newharmonyfarmersmarket
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