The quaint little town of Harmony (30 minutes north of Pittsburgh) has interesting old buildings, restaurants, and an even more fascinating history. The town was founded in 1805 by Harmonists, a group of exiled, pious Germans that followed their prophet leader to Western Pennsylvania. Their settlement was a common trust where no one individual owned anything, and in the 1800s, the society was worth $2 million. But their riches didn’t last; church leaders called for a celibate period, eventually dissolving the group after 100 years.
The main thoroughfare in Harmony looks a lot like it might have in the late 19th century. (Megan Harris / City Cast Pittsburgh)
Go, See, Do!
Harmony boasts dozens of historical sites in just a few flat blocks: the old Town Hall, Harmonist Stohr, train station, and bunches of churches, barns, cabins, houses, and “hauses.” Spend the night or take a quick dram at the beautifully spooky Harmony Inn, take a ghost tour with Neff Haus, or go bird watching off Main Street along Connoquenessing Creek.
George Washington reportedly came through Harmony when he was 21 years old. Hear about the visit; the land’s Lenape, or Delaware, origins; and how German settlers seeking religious freedom lived and died at the Harmony Museum, open 1-4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.
Look out for the German Christmas Market next Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 11-12, and the annual Silvester New Year’s Eve celebration Dec. 31, which features a fun run, live music, ball drop (at midnight German time), and a competitive Christmas tree toss.
Eat & Drink
Grab a hot, homemade pretzel at Two Fraus Bakery, breakfast croissant at Lagerhaus Coffee Bakery, or a cinnamon roll waffle at Wunderbar Coffee & Crepes. Plan ahead for sweet treats at the seasonal Neff Haus Ice Cream Shop, which prides itself on gobs of cookie dough and assorted soft serve. For happy hour, check out Union Brothers Brewing “how to” series, including imperial IPAs, or their short stack pumpkin pie sour.
Special thanks to shop owner Kelly Scott of Harmonie Laden for her expert recommendations. (Megan Harris / City Cast Pittsburgh)
Pick up unique gifts and homemade candy at Harmonie Laden, vintage vinyl at Last Dog Records, or homegrown art at Bottlebrush Gallery, which showcases all kinds of work from artists living in or originally from a 50 mile radius of town. Harmony Decor & More just kicked off their occasional DIY Christmas ornament classes.