Thursday, October 30, 2008

New Harmony and New Friends

What through youth
gave love and roses,
Age still leaves us
friends and wine.

Thomas Moore

You all know I like to meet fellow bloggers. Not just any fellow bloggers, but the ones I speak with regularly and have established a relationship with. Albeit a online relationship-shhh-don't tell hubby!

Frances may not be too far off when she says she can see me traveling the country meeting fellow bloggers. One such blogger I wished to meet quite a while ago is Walk2Write. I knew she lived in Florida, but was in Illinois due to her husband's dream job of searching for oil. I had NO idea she was so close until she did a post and mentioned Carbondale. A light bulb went off. I knew I had heard of Carbondale and thought it might be close. It was quite close. I then set out to get a hold of Walk2Write to approach her with a meeting. Always a bit of an awkward thing because truly you don't know how the other person will react. Many are so afraid of meeting others from the Internet. To my delight, Walk2Write was open to the idea. Plans were made, telephone numbers exchanged and anticipation set in.

Now where to meet? How about a little city called New Harmony in Indiana? New Harmony....New Friends....hmmm...see a common thread here? New Harmony is a perfect town and Walk2Write was awfully kind to pick an area close enough we could drive to easily. I was not familiar with the area but she suggested we meet at the quaintest little restaurant called The Red Geranium. It had a darling little garden out front with some really huge turnips (thanks to the Jimster for identifying them), cardoon, Diamond Frost, and of course-geraniums. Scented ones that were huge! It also had a lovely seating bench where two garden bloggers met for a photo opportunity by more than willing husbands with cameras (a funny sight).

After a delicious lunch and some really good conversation around the table (and an even better photo op that Walk2Write has), we toured the town on foot. It was rumored there was a labyrinth in New Harmony. Well, after a bit of walking, we found the labyrinth. It was way cool. Looking at it from outside of it you would believe the shrubs were one solid mass of greenery. But what you can't see in the first picture is the multitude of paths that take you around this large labyrinth. I believe it was intended as a contemplative garden.

I had never heard of New Harmony and wondered what its background was all about. It was clear walking through the beautiful town that this was a religious town. I had never heard of Harmonists or Harmony, so thought I'd do a little bit of research. The Harmonists sounded like a pretty good sect, ones who valued gardens, peace and love judging by the many religious buildings in town.

Wikipedia says New Harmony was settled by the Harmony Society; which was founded by Johann Georg Rapp. The Harmonists left Germany after being religiously persecuted. I am not going into total detail, but it is interesting to note that the Harmonists settled in three areas of the United States; Harmony, Pennsylvania, then New Harmony, Indiana, then they returned to Economy, Pennsylvania (now Ambridge, Pennsylvania). The town still is very close to its German roots and was a super place to spend the day.

But back to our meeting with Walk2Write and her husband. Many of you know her husband is a geologist. What a cool job! I mean really cool! Mr. Walk2Write brought the Jimster a little gift that relates to his job as a geologist. And I want to say Mr. Walk2Write, if Jimmy chooses to become a geologist I will be grateful to you. This kit full of stones was quite the gift. The cards identifying them all and telling some folklore and history were very fun and educational. We all loved this kit of stones. In fact, I tried very hard to convince the Jimster it was given to me, but he wasn't buying it at all. lol

All kidding aside, I am hesitant to mention gifts at all because I do not want people to get the wrong impression on meeting bloggers. The real gift of meeting bloggers and the folks we talk to each day on our blogs is meeting the person behind the words. The person who brings great conversation all across the web on a regular basis. The person that can joke with you on the web and get it to come across well. That is not an easy thing to do on blogs at all. The person who is willing to carpool all the way to Chicago with you. The person who can talk and relate and with whom you have something in common. I have met many bloggers and all have made my day, been very nice and giving and talkative. Walk2Write, it was a joy spending those hours with you and Mr. Walk2Write. Mr. Fix-it, the Jimster and I sure had a super time. We look forward to visiting again soon.

Oh yes, the poem opening this post. The Walk2Writes gave us a bottle of wine. On the bottle of wine it had a sweet card with this poem. Inside of the card it said, "Enjoy the Wine Dear Friend". I was very touched by this card. We look forward to sharing this bottle with our new friends in Illinois soon. The last picture was one of many sayings inside the chapel at the center of the labyrinth. How perfect it is, though I did not intentionally take a picture of the saying involving friendship.

in the garden....

You can read Walk2Write's post on our meeting here. Do stop by and say hello to her!


  1. Good morning Tina, how wonderful for you both. I greatly admire the talent of W2W and know she is a sweet and giving person from her comments. And we all know how sweet and giving you are yourself, Tina. This was a pleasant surprise and thanks for the history lesson. There is a town, or village, it is quite small in NE TN called Harmony. I wonder if it was settled by these same folks? And of course thanks for the link. ;->

  2. Hi Tina - It's always fun reading about your blogging meetups! It sounds like you really had a lovely day. It's so funny to see you were in New Harmony, you probably didn't realize it when you were here in Western PA, but you were very close to Harmony, PA and Economy, PA. I didn't realize they had settled farther west as well.

  3. Good morning Tina, looks like a great time was had by all! Thanks for sharing your visit!

  4. What a special time for you and walk2write! I have never heard of Harmony Sociey--sounds interesting! I think it is so great you have meet several blogging of these days we too will meet! :)

  5. You've been quite lucky Tina to not only meet so many nice people online blogging, but to meet them in person as well. I hope we get to meet someday too. ;)

  6. The restaurant and the little village sound delightful. Thanks for the mini tour of Harmony.

    I've always been interested in rocks and those minerals are beautiful. When I was a kid I drug home every unusual rock I saw;)

  7. What a perfectly lovely meeting you had! I really enjoyed hearing about New Harmony history as well.

    Gardeners are just the best!

    P.S. Come on over to my blog and tell us how YOU overwinter!

  8. Tina, You have to be the ambassador of blogging! How exciting that you got to meet Walk to Write! And she picked the perfect spot for the two of you to meet. New Harmony is usually included in tourism material from the state of Indiana; it's a place I've never seen, but have often thought of visiting.

  9. I'm so envious! Of course in a garden loving kind of way. I remember you tellin me and Cindy about your upcoming visit with W2W, and I think you remember my reaction. ;~)

    Thanks for the history lesson on New Harmony, very interesting. There's a Harmony, PA and I wonder if it's related?

    I love the picture of you and W2W. Do you have a photo album of your garden blogger travels? Either online or an old fashioned one? I was looking through an old picture album I have of camping trips recently and thought it'd be neat to make one strictly for garden blogger meet-ups.

    I think it'd be neat to meet a geologist. Maybe Mr. W2W would know about that rock Charlie Brown always got as trick-or-treat candy. It always made me sad when everyone would compare the candy they got, and poor Charlie would look in his bag, shrug, and say, "I got a rock."

    Even if I were paid to be a garden blogger traveler, there'd be no amount of compensation equal to or greater than the personal bond formed when meeting special folks like y'all.

    Here's to the preservation of many friendships!

  10. Tina, I'm glad you got to meet w2w. I know the 2 of you had a wonderful visit. And what a nice place too.

  11. What a nice post and so lovely you are meeting the other bloggers. Harmony sounds wonderful, interesting to hear history of the places in the US, beautiful pics.

  12. Tina,

    I think the saying "Never met a stranger" couldn't be more appropriate for anyone other than you! You are just so friendly and outgoing. I'm glad you had fun!

  13. Good morning Tina,

    What beautifully stated and wonderfully true words...

    "The real gift of meeting bloggers and the folks we talk to each day on our blogs is meeting the person behind the words. The person who brings great conversation all across the web on a regular basis. The person that can joke with you on the web and get it to come across well."

    It has been a joy to meet bloggers face to face! The gift is the friendship that grows from those meetings!

    Have a lovely day!


  14. Sounds like another great day and that sure was very sweet of the Mr. to bring that great gift to my grandson.

    tc....As with all mothers, we love to see our children get some praise but your comment was so sweet that it would have chocked me up if it were to a mother's child that I did not even know.

  15. Sounds like a fun day in New Harmony! I too like meeting garden bloggers and traveling to see gardens.
    ~ Monica

  16. Tina, I was so thrilled for you when you told me that you were going to meet W2W. I just know y’all had a blast together! Harmony sounds like an interesting place and since I know a bit about Germany, I would enjoy seeing the German influences throughout the town...

    I like the idea of TC and making a memory album for Blog visits. I know, yet another thing for you to do like you don’t have enough on your busy plate! LOL…

    We gardeners cant help it, we seem to have the “giving” trait instilled within our bodies!

  17. Good Afternoon all!

    Frances, We had such a good time talking. She is very sweet. Not sure about the TN Harmony. Could be. And thanks for your kind comments:)

    Cindy, Oh yes, I knew as soon as I saw the Ambridge. I put those cities in there just for you. Do you know about the Harmonists? I know your area is big on the German/Amish influence-maybe some Harmonists. I need to start a scrapbook for sure of my meet ups. It will be good to go to Spring Fling and already know some folks.

    Linda, A very nice time indeed.

    MT, It was very sweet. Yes, if I ever come to TX I will be emailing you for that tour, and you MUST let me know if you come to Tennessee. But I warn you, don't see TX in my future as I have never been there. Maybe when hubby retires.

    Racquel, I'd love to meet you and VA is probably more realistic than TX so it might happen, but you never know. If you come to TN do let me know.

    Marnie, Those rocks are great! And walking around New Harmony we saw a bunch of purple rock. Starts with an L but I can't remember the name. It helped to have a geologist around:)

    Cameron, Yes, gardeners are just a special breed for sure. I like your quiz this morning.

    Rose, Thanks so much. Yes, I saw New Harmony is actually a Travelocity city? Is that right? Many tourists. Quite quaint and full of history. It is a small world really and nice to learn about it all.

    TC, You are very sweet. Yes, I do remember your response when I told guys I was going to try to meet up with W2W. You are one of those people who can joke on the Internet in a good way-give as well as get. If you come to KY, you are not far from her area or mine and maybe we can all get together somewhere in between. Making new friends all ACROSS the world is so cool. I have friends all around due to the military, but none I talk with daily like on here. It is so different. Do you remember what I look like? I am the slim brunette on the left of the picture:)

    Lola, We must meet too! Florida is not so far out of the way so you never know. Thanks.

    Dawn, It is interesting in this area. Very German like and tons of history. It was fun meeting.

    Dave, You are very kind. We may have to redefine the meaning of stranger. How can you be a stranger when we all talk and share so much? Neat phenomenom.

    Gail, It is so very nice to talk each day and put a face to the words. People-we are all people with common interests. That is a good thing.

    Mom, We had a super day. TC is a sweetheart for sure. I'm still trying to convince Jimmy the rocks were for me:)And Mr. Fix-it is trying the same thing. lol

    Monica, It was great fun! I bet you've met many of bloggers-and getting ready to meet many more next spring. I am looking forward to meeting you then. And seeing gardens.

    Skeeter, You and TC were so thrilled when I said I was going to meet her. I told her too. Actually I think what I told her was when I told you I was meeting W2W you continued to talk for a minute then it dawned on you-W2W and your eyes got big and round! lol Then you said you surely wanted to come. Next time when you have some time as she is not so far away. You, TC, and W2W have really established a good rapport on the blogs. Very nice! And a hard thing to do sometimes. The more we talk with new people the more we get to know them and have fun and relate. Yes, the giving side is important too. Yes, too much on my plate. It is building up but I must slow down. One thing at a time. Right now it is nap time. Ha!

  18. Wake up, Tina! No such thing as time for naps, carpet or otherwise (see GardenJoy4me's post a few days back). You are too kind, calling me sweet and all. Hubby will laugh when he reads that later tonight. The purple rock we saw here and there in town is fluorite, which was probably mined in Rosiclare, Illinois. There is some information on the mineral and the museum that showcases it in a post I did earlier this year. For everyone's information, Tina outdid us with the gift giving, and I will be telling you about it later on. Like she said, though, the gift exchange was probably unnecessary (though very much appreciated) because the friendship we have established is worth so much more than anything else we could have given each other. Tina's mom, you have every right to be proud and get choked up about your little girl. She's a jewel!

  19. I've been blogging close to a year now. And I'm to the point now of having found some people fairly close by, and wanting to meet. I'm not very social, so this was the perfect venue for me. I don't attend parties, etc. I'm just a homebody who likes the quiet equilibrium of my garden. I'm so happy you two hit it off so well!

  20. Yawn, Yup-gotta get up and do some cooking Walk2Write:) Just kidding, I've been up for a while and probably REALLY do not need to take a nap, but oh is is ever so nice to be able to get one. Fluorite. I am going to come check out the post on it. I love purple and it was so stunning. Sure would like a stone like the one we saw in my garden. You are too kind as always. Thanks so much for the nice words and yes, the friendship is most important. I am looking forward to our trip to Chicago-talking and driving. Hmmmm, gotta watch that though. My mother will surely love your very nice comment.

    Brenda, I have so enjoyed meeting the bloggers I have been able to meet. All have been receptive but it is an individual thing. And you know what? Many of them don't like the mega social part of meeting crowds (including me), so sometimes one on one meetings or nearby folks in small groups is best. Before you know you all have so much to talk about. I always realize that usually if I feel shy and self conscious, then maybe the other person does too. So I try to make a step and before you know you feel at ease. It took a long time for me to get this way though. Are you going to Spring Fling?

  21. You are too sweet walk2write. Everones comments were very nice

  22. What fun you all had. I'm open to meeting anytime you're in the neighborhood (Oklahoma). Would love to see you.~~Dee

  23. New Harmony and Red Geranium sounded like the ideal place for THE meeting.
    Wow Tina, how lovely to meet someone you know well, at least through the blog! Tennessee bloggers have taken a lot of initiative to make meetings possible. And you head the list!
    Always a pleasure reading about the meetings! And with W2W, someone I 'know', more so!

  24. Dee, That is so nice of you! I have a friend who lives in Broken Arrow, so I might just come out there sometime. Is is close to you? And if you ever get to Tennessee, let me know. It is fun meeting other bloggers-very nice.

    Kanak, Yes! It was super great. And I know you talk with Walk2Write as well. It really is a small world when you think about it. We would both love to meet you sometime. And thanks, yup, I'm a bit forward with my meetings. So far none have said no. Thank goodness as it might be awkward if they did, though I'd understand:)

  25. That is so nice. It is cool to meet fellow bloggers in real life!

  26. Kate, It IS very nice to meet fellow bloggers and commenters and even readers in person. The blogs are a great way to make new friends. Glad to have met you and so happy your daughter enjoyed Skeeter's bear video. Imagine coming upon a bear in the tree on a trip on a highway! Must've been something.

  27. Hi, I found your blog via W2W, and what a wonderful and rich discovery. Like her, you obviously enjoy writing and taking pics. I love blog posts that tell a story. Educating me about something new is an extra bonus.
    Living and blogging in So. Cal. I don't get the opportunity to meet virtual friends in person, so it's always a treat to hear about those garden bloggers who do.

  28. Weeping Sore, I am so glad you stopped by. I have seen you on Walk2Write's lovely blog before so hello to new introductions! We had a really good visit and it is fun to meet virtual friends. Perhaps sometime it will work out for too. I hope you learn much on here-lots of gardening for sure:)