That creativity spreads from the shops through town. Under the broad, leafy branches of Bradford pear trees in Murphy Park—and around the community—artists set up easels to paint spring flowers at an annual plein air art festival called the First Brush of Spring (April 15–18 this year).
Even if you’re not an artist, pockets of spring’s lime-green beauty near the two-block downtown beg for attention. New Harmony has not one but two walking labyrinths, one with a stone grotto at its center and one modeled after a 12th-century original outside Paris. The Roofless Church, an open-air domed sculpture with no seating, and nearby Harmonie State Park also encourage quiet communion with nature.
With balconies and patios overlooking a lake and lush parkland, the New Harmony Inn conveys that same feeling of escape, even though it has 90 rooms in several buildings and a popular restaurant. Another eatery, cozy Sara’s Harmony Way brims with mismatched furniture, antiques and local artwork. The menu isn’t long—cheese and sausage platters, dips and spreads, and sweet treats such as the aromatic lavender cookies. The biggest draw is Harmonie Bier, brewed regionally according to the original Harmonist recipe.
Any springtime visit here really ought to include a performance that’s part of the annual Under the Beams concert series at the restored Rapp-Owen Granary, now a stunning venue with thick wood beams and iron chandeliers. Everyone in town seems to pack the shows (this year’s lineup includes saxophonist Tia Fuller on March 9 and Malian singer-songwriter Fatoumata Diawara April 6). Haven’t heard of them? That’s OK. New Harmony is just the place to relax and look at all kinds of art with a fresh perspective.
For more information or to plan your trip: New Harmony Business Associates newharmony.biz
What to do
Antique Showrooms in the Mews The epicenter of New Harmony shopping, the Mews combines four Victorian storefronts into a distinct boutique selling designer clothes, contemporary home decor, gourmet foods and high-end antiques. (812) 682-3490
Harmonie State Park Seven trails are perfect for a quiet stroll through the woods. (812) 682-4821; dnr.in.gov
Historic New Harmony Walking Tours Learn about history and architecture through film, dioramas and building stops. (800) 231-2168; newharmony.biz
New Harmony Gallery of Contemporary Art Showcasing vibrant, modern art, this boutique also highlights jewelry, functional pottery and wall hangings. (812) 682-3156; usi.edu/nhgallery
New Harmony Soap All-natural skin-care products with scents like lemongrass and mojito line the shelves of this new shop on Main Street. (812) 682-0515; newharmonysoap.com
Sara’s Harmony Way A small menu of appetizers and desserts complements the restaurant’s brews, including Harmonie Bier. (812) 682-3611; sarasharmonyway.com
Under the Beams at the Rapp-Owen Granary Built by Harmonist settlers in 1818, the beautiful, rustic space hosts high-profile performing artists. Slated concerts in spring 2015 include Irish-American band Solas on March 21 and Americana artist Béla Fleck with Abigail Washburn on April 25. Admission charged. (812) 682-3128; underthebeams.org