Recently Jimmy and I were visiting family in western Pennsylvania. On our last day there, our brother-in-law, Lou, asked us where we would like to eat lunch. I requested, “Someplace funky with local interest and good food.”
He treated us to the historic Harmony Inn that entices visitors with 30-some craft brews and tales of ‘a little girl in a white dress roaming the upstairs.’ The 160-year old inn sits in historic Harmony Borough designated a National Landmark District and is located about 30 miles north of Pittsburgh where early Native American trails crossed.
It is written that in 1753, a young George Washington and wilderness guide Christopher Gist camped on the north bank of the small Connoquenessing Creek near a Delaware Indian village (site of Harmony). Washington’s mission is said to have help sparked the French and Indian War. “Nearby, the war’s first shot was fired at Washington by a ‘French Indian’.”
For lunch at the Harmony Inn, Lou chose the Reuben with “thin-shaved corned beef, IPA kraut, melted baby Swiss mopped with Russian dressing on toasted marbled rye.” I selected the Chicken Pot Pie Strudel and Jimmy opted for a burger. All lunches are served and a ‘side car option.’
‘Harmony’ got its name from the Harmony Society of German Lutheran Separatists who settled in the area seeking religious freedom in 1804. They quickly became 19th century America’s most successful communal group. This quaint settlement of brick and log buildings retains the old world architectural character of an German village and includes more than 50 structures in the National Landmark District.
Click on “Haunted Harmony Inn” for more pictures and to learn more about the haunting history of the Inn itself.
— Text and photos by Julianne G. Crane
Photos: (Top) Harmony Inn restaurant and saloon. (Next) RVer Jimmy Smith of Oregon (center) and brother-in-law, Lou, having lunch in one of the beautifully renovated Harmony Inn downstairs rooms. (Right) Classic Ruben Sandwich. (Bottom) Information sign in Harmony Borough, Pennsylvania.