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Harmony, MN


Fri, Mar 23rd, 2001
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Like many small towns a hundred years ago, Harmony grew up near the railroad and was peopled by immigrants from Norway, Germany and Ireland. Local legend says that the settlers decided to make their community an incorporated "village" and met to choose a name. Each group wanted the town named for its leader, and the bickering became louder. Finally the chairman banged his gavel on the table and said, "Let's have Harmony here!"

That pioneer spirit has survived in the descendants of those hardy settlers as Harmony continues to serve the farming and business community. The trains have disappeared but the old rail bed has been developed into a hiking and biking trail.

The Harmony-Preston Valley State Trail connects Harmony to the Root River Trail System. The 54 miles of recreational trail allows one to bike, ski, hike or roller blade through lively country and observe the wildlife.

The symbolism of the name has taken on new meaning with the arrival of nearly 100 Amish families to the area since 1974. With their old-world farming methods, the Amish offer a stark contrast to the modern machinery and tall silos of their neighbors, while reminding tourists and residents alike of the lifestyle of our ancestors.

Today we live "In Harmony"...with our Amish neighbors. A number of Amish families accept visitors and two businesses, Michel's Amish Tours and Amish Country Tours, offer car and group tours of the Amish settlement. You may visit a basket maker, candy maker or baker, and/or a furniture shop. As you travel the back roads you'll see buggies and horse-drawn farm equipment.


The area is blessed with rolling hills and valleys, fertile soil for growing crops, and plenty of water in springs and brooks. The bluff country is also known for the "driftless area," being the only part of Minnesota untouched by glaciers thousands of years ago.

The Karst geologic formations and underground rivers created sinkholes and caves. The area's best known-- Niagara Cave has been in continuous development and operation for over 60 years! One-hour guided tours offer a chance to thrill at nature's beauties including a 60-foot waterfall, the crystal wedding chapel, huge stalactites and rock formations millions of years in the making, all far below the earth's surface. The cave stays a constant 48 degrees year round. Niagara Cave has a gift shop and a 10 acre picnic ground.

The Harmony area has some of the finest trout streams in the state, river canoeing with rentals available, snowmobile and cross-country trails, and outstanding hunting for wild turkey, upland game birds, deer and small game. Harmony also has a nine-hole golf course, one of a dozen in the area which offer an almost end-less variety of terrain as well as reasonable fees and uncrowded courses.

The Harmony area has many fascinating historic sites; our forebears were deeply religious and built many beautiful country churches. That pioneer spirit is evident today in the restored Lenora stone church near Harmony, built in 1856 (first in Fillmore County) by Rev. John Dyer, a Methodist circuit rider. A visit is a highlight of the Amish tours, and public services are held at holiday time and on several summer Sundays.

One of the nice things about spending some time in Harmony is the fact that we offer you a place to stay and good food to eat. The Country Lodge Motel is a welcome haven for travelers and visitors. Located in a former creamery building, the motel offers twenty-four rooms, a large lobby, meeting room, continental breakfast and other amenities. The Selvig House Bed & Breakfast is the beautifully restored family home of Dr. Carlus Selvig, one of Harmony's early community leaders, and the Park Place Guest Room is located adjacent to Harmony's Selvig Park. Slim's Bunkhouse will be the perfect place to stay for those seeking a more rustic atmosphere. Dining options in Harmony include the Harmony House and the Country Bread Basket.

Campers may find a comfortable place in Harmony's municipal campground. Primitive camping is also available at Austin's Angora Goat Farm.

Harmony offers the shopper many unique and interesting alternatives. For fine hand-crafted Amish quilts, furniture and other items, country crafts and period antiques you need go no further than Center & Main Antiques, Michel's Amish Gift Shop , Intrepid Traveler, Amish Connection, the Village Depot , Village School Quilt Shop or the Sugar Plum House. All are found in downtown Harmony. Harmony's newest addition is the Skandinavien Blomma which features fine Scandinavian gifts and imports and the Clover Art Gallary showcasing the creative talents of our artisans.

Another new attraction in Harmony is Slim's Woodshed which offers wood carving classes, artist's demonstrations, museum and gift shop. The Grand Emporium features hand crafted items, antiques, wood working, sculptures and pottery from over 50 local crafters. Austin's Angora Goats and Mohair Gift Shop offers a unique gift shop featuring Mohair yarn blankets, sweaters and goat-related gift items.

The Harmony Toy Museum offers a nostalgic look at our history, with exhibits of over 4,000 play things from the past. Toy tractors, trains, cars and early planes share space with dolls and toy animals of amazing variety.

Harmony is a small town with a lot going for it. We have a vital and growing business community. Besides having a reputation for our excellent family restaurants, we have the advantage of a community clinic, good schools, active industry, the only movie theatre in Fillmore County, library service, businesses and all the other things you would associate with a community that cares about its people and its future. We want the opportunity to show you what hospitality is all about.

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