Pilgrimage to New Harmony

While traveling to Southern Indiana to see my mom I usually take the long way home.  I like to travel the roads less traveled and hit the sleepy little towns along the way. You wouldn’t think Southern Indiana has much to offer, but my friends you would be wrong. You can choose back highways or Interstate, and either way you will come across places of interest.

I chose the Interstate some time ago and pretty much have gone the same way ever since. Why, you ask, for someone who drives the road less traveled? Several years back I was curious about a little town called New Harmony in the Harmony Township, Posey County in the state of Indiana and I have been making pilgrimages there ever since.

When you drive into this quiet little town the first thing you feel is pure peace and a strong energy that is beyond words. The streets are lined with beautiful old buildings that have been painted in the grandest of colors.

The doors beckon you to come in and browse.  You will find antique stores, clothing
stores, and gift shops of course. My personal favorite is the New Harmony Soap Company on Main Street. This is by far the best smelling stop in New Harmony, unless of course, you are there at the end of May when the peony fields are in bloom. That is hands-down the best-smelling place in New Harmony, but only at the end of May! If you happen to be there in June and the Golden Raintrees lining the streets are in bloom, you my friend, are in for a treat. There is actually a festival for those beauties. This brings me to one of my favorite places to visit while in New H, as I call it. Sara’s
Harmony Way Wine Bar and Pub.  This is where you meet the locals. Like I said, it’s a quiet little town so there isn’t a big party scene.  Choices are few but the ones you have are awesome.  Sara shops for the wine and she is a great shopper!  The food is wonderful too.

There are several B&BS and a hotel where you can stay. On one of my last trips there, I discovered a real gem.  The Old Rooming House on Church Street has no frills, no Wi-Fi, no TV, etc.*  Staying there is like you stepped back in time to the 1940s. The Rooming House has three rooms to choose from.  Each one is sure to bring a smile to your face with all of the antiques and fun things to ponder on.

Prices offered are very reasonable and there are bikes available to ride around town.  A lot of places are within walking distance, but I found the bikes were great form of transportation and loads of fun.  The Room Master (that’s just what I call him) Jim, is a very enjoyable innkeeper. He is very knowledgeable about the history of New Harmony. If you want to talk to him, he will talk.  If you want to be left alone and write your great American novel in the writer’s suite he will leave you be. Personally, if I were you I would pick this man’s brain over a cup of coffee if you can.

As awesome as the Rooming House, Sara’s and the Soap Factory are, they are not the reasons I make a pilgrimage to New Harmony at least once a year. Why do I drive out of my way to visit this sleepy little town you ask?  One word- rejuvenation. After all the hustle and bustle of everyday life I go there to relax and feel peace in my life.  It is a spiritual renewal you either get or you don’t when you visit.  That’s what I am told anyway. I get it. From the hedgerow labyrinth to the open air church to the beautiful gardens, it is just the complete package. Below is a picture of the Open Air Church where all faiths are welcome.

There are two labyrinths to walk while you are visiting, the hedgerow labyrinth and the cathedral labyrinth. Any visit is not complete until I have walked them both. The hedgerow is the oldest labyrinth in the county.  The labyrinths are part of the very deep history of New Harmony and the citizens who built them. Many people visit just for the labyrinths.  I consider them a very good reason to visit.

So does Southern Indiana have a few surprises? I think so. The next time you are riding down Interstate 64 and see a Posey County marker give it some thought.  Maybe you too would love New Harmony like I do. It may be just what you’re looking for – a little peace on earth plus a whole lot more.

* Photos used with permission from The Rooming House.

–Dee

Dee is a Circulation Assistant at the Florence branch.  She loves books, music, baking, and the BBC.  On her days off Dee likes to drive the back roads and discover new places.

The Truth is Stranger than Fiction: Mystery & Mayhem 2017

This May, we turn our attention to the true crime genre and invite you to join us for Mystery and Mayhem: The Truth is Stranger than Fiction. Whether it’s the O.J. Simpson trial and the TV series American Crime Story or the 1975 best seller Helter Skelter, Boone County Public Library has something to satisfy your inner detective. Our collection of true crime books, and movies based on these often sensational events are consistently among the most popular in our system.

If you aren’t familiar with it, this nonfiction genre explores horrific crimes and the motivations of the criminals that commit them.  These stories are most likely to be told from a reporting point of view, a historical slant, as a biography or memoir, or from a sociological or psychological perspective.  Similar to mysteries, readers often like true crime because they like to try to solve the puzzle. These stories allow us to follow along as facts are revealed and as investigators pursue the case, and we try to understand what motivates someone to commit terrible crimes. We wonder what we might do if caught up in a terrifying situation, root for justice to be served and ponder the perennial question of good vs. evil.

Visit any BCPL location in May to check out a true crime book and while you are there, enter to win one of the Mystery & Mayhem gift baskets. Each branch will be giving away a themed basket. After the branch basket drawings, all entries will be combined to draw one winner for the Grand Prize Mystery & Mayhem basket with these fun items:

  • $50.00 gift card to Pompillio’s 
  • 2 Gift Certificates for Newport Gangster Store
  • Clue Game
  • DVD American Crime Story
  • Popcorn
  • 2 Books

We’d love to have you join us at one of our interesting programs, in May, that will focus specifically on true crime. 

Teens are invited to join us on Thursday, May 4, from 6:30 to 8 p.m at the Florence Branch, 7425 US 42 in Florence, for Forensic Science: Fingerprinting 
Through hands-on activities with crime scene investigator, Brian Cochran, learn how police officers recover and lift fingerprints at crime scenes. Please register.

On Wednesday May 24 at 7 p.m., the Scheben Branch, 8899 US 42 in Union, will be the site for Sensational Crimes in Boone County. Learn more about events that in their day were the talk of the county.

Like something out of a CSI episode, the Florence Branch will, on May 30 at 7 p.m., host the program Horror or Hero? Flies and Forensic Entomology.  Learn how the study of fly maggots that feed on corpses can help resolve criminal investigations. Forensic entomology is one of the newest sub-disciplines to be recognized by international judicial systems. It deals with some of the most unpleasant evidence of all disciplines – fly maggots that feed on corpses. This presentation will serve as an introduction to forensic entomology and how scientists are using flies to help with criminal investigations. The organisms that will be highlighted are all around us and we often come in contact with the species used for investigations around a garbage can or feeding on a dead squirrel. While this can be a very gruesome topic, the topic will be explored at a level appropriate for adults and children. All are welcome. Please register.

When you visit the Library this May, our own book detectives, a.k.a. Librarians can help you find just the right thing to satisfy your inner crime scene investigator.  Or, if you prefer to remain incognito, browse the Mystery and Mayhem True Crime Display at any Branch.