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The Harmonist Sundial: A Timeless Wonder

New Harmony is home to many cool historical artifacts, from large buildings to small personal possessions. One such artifact is the Harmonist sundial: a device of simple construction, the sundial uses the shadow cast by its gnomon, or style, to tell time.

In 1821, the original settlers of New Harmony, the Harmonists, installed the sundial on the mansion belonging to the leader, Father Rapp. When the mansion caught fire in 1844, the sundial was saved and later fixed to the south wall of Community House Number 2. There, it could accurately tell time except during daylight savings time.

Today a replica of the Harmonist sundial continues to adorn the south side of Community House located at 410 North Main Street. The original is displayed inside the same building with several pieces of authentic Harmonist furniture, some of the few remaining examples of Harmonist craftsmanship presently in New Harmony.

To see the original sundial, take a tour with one of Historic New Harmony’s fabulous tour guides—they’ll be happy to point it out to you. Tours begin each day at 10 o’clock at Historic New Harmony’s visitor’s center the Atheneum. Don’t forget to check out www.visitnewharmony.com for other events and activities in New Harmony!

Fling Yourself Into Spring!

I am SO looking forward to New Harmony’s Spring Fling, happening on the weekend of the Vernal Equinox (March 21 and 22) in the historic Ribeyre Gym.

There will be hand made crafts and homemade goodies, high-quality antiques and other collectibles, a veritable potpourri of locally made & repurposed arts and craft items. When you combine all of this with the galleries, shops, and restaurants offered in the unique, utopian village of New Harmony, you’ve got a winning weekend trip.

The main things attracting me to the event will be the sinfully rich and incredibly varied types of locally-made fudge offered by 3 Chicks Fudgery (Red Velvet fudge? Oh, yeah.), and the repurposed pallet crafts, which give a really classy spin to the entire notion of “reuse.” These are just my faves; you may find other things more interesting. I hear fresh kettle corn and pork rinds will be available. And there’s no shortage of wonderful, jaw-dropping crafts to see: handcrafted gourds, handmade goat milk soap and bees wax lotions, handmade purses, baby afghans, origami owl lockets (I can’t wait to see what those look like!), and much more.

This will be a great weekend to shake off cabin fever. Check out www.visitnewharmony.com to get information on accommodations, food, and all the amazing things New Harmony offers.

Next Up: Celtic-Inspired Music and Multimedia Show at Under the Beams

One of the many things that keeps me returning to New Harmony from north Vanderburgh County (can I coin the term NorVanCo?) is the fantastic Under the Beams concert series, now in its fifteenth season. Every year this series brings remarkable musical talent to our little corner of Indiana, and this year my sweetie Steve bought us season tickets as a Christmas gift — maybe just to save himself the trouble of asking me before every concert if I want to go. I tend to be more of a homebody on winter evenings, but these concerts, without fail, are so very worth getting out for.

And I’m really loving the Murphy Auditorium as a concert venue. Perhaps that’s partially because it’s where I first saw Pokey LaFarge, last February, who immediately became my favorite musician in all the world, but it really is a wonderful place to hear live music. The sound, the seats, the whole experience are pretty much perfect.

Often I go to Under the Beams concerts “cold” — without having heard the music of the group, or even reading about them. But I’ve been listening to Solas a bit this week, mostly watching YouTube. And I’ve discovered that they are way more than a Celtic band. Their ethnic heritage is their foundation, of course, and essential to their sound; but to that foundation they add a folky, Appalachian, bluegrassy dimension, which is really appealing to me these days. (I started life as a Beatles fan, then big band swing, and finally, with the help of “O Brother, Where Art Thou” and Alison Krauss, got to bluegrass.)

Just as appealing as their sound are their thoughtful lyrics and their social/cultural sensibilities. Their current tour is a multimedia show that brings to life their Shamrock City album, an exploration of the immigrant experience a century ago in Butte, Montana. So it sounds like this concert will be an immersive experience, in addition to being simply lovely music.

Buy your tickets at http://www.underthebeams.org/event/solas/ and, if you want to add a few other stops to your time in New Harmony, plan your visit at www.visitnewharmony.com.