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Little town of Harmony undergoing big revitalization - KSBY.com | San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Area News

Little town of Harmony undergoing big revitalization

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A tiny town along the north coast of San Luis Obispo County is considered the "heart of the Central Coast," at least to the 18 or so people who live there. 

Colorfully quirky and quaint, the town of Harmony has a way of drawing people in. 

It drew Aarika Wells in 26 years ago and she's been living there ever since. 

"It's Harmony! For that moment, you're in harmony," Wells said. "Of course for me, I live in Harmony."

Wells has served as the town's manager, curator and historian for the last decade. 

"In many ways, Harmony never changes and in other ways, it's never the same," she said. 

The mainstays of town include the Harmony Chapel and gardens, Harmony Glassworks where you can hand blow a glass bowl or vase, and Harmony Pottery which has been in business for more than 40 years. 

While the town is known for its artwork, the history of Harmony is rich - dare I say... creamy. 

"Between 1880 and 1920, there was more milk product produced here in San Luis Obispo County than anywhere else in the world," Wells said."A lot of it was right here in Harmony."

Dairy farmers bought up the land and formed the Harmony Valley Creamery Co-op. 

Harmony's new owner is now returning the town to its dairy roots, one ice cream scoop at a time. 

Alan Vander Horst bought the town in 2014. The third-generation dairy farmer, Cal Poly grad and current San Luis Obispo resident has plans to renovate the old Harmony Valley Creamery building into an ice cream shop, artisan cheese-making shop and restaurant. 

"I know how happy it makes people to know that somebody has finally taken Harmony under his wing and that they can expect some really nice developments," Well said. 

Until renovations are complete, you can try Harmony Valley Creamery's delicious ice cream scooped out of an old-fashioned milk truck. 

Technically outside of town sits Harmony Cellars. Sales manager Mike Rice says they've been pouring wine for guests there since 1989. 

"The small town pulls people in and they kind of go around downtown, we call it 'downtown Harmony,' and then they turn around and see we have a winery up here that's been here for this long," Rice said. 

It's hard to put a finger on what makes this place so fascinating. 

"I don't know, it's just it's population 18!" said Beth Rauch who was visiting with her friend from Southern California.  "I wanted her to see a town that only had 18 people." 

"I wanted to hear more about the mayor!" said tourist Lynsey Plume. 

Nap in peace, Mayor Freddy the cat. The beloved feline was the one-and-only mayor of Harmony. He lived to be 22 years old. Fred belonged to the owners of the since-closed Harmony Pasta Factory. His full name was Freddicini Alfredo.

A new neighborhood cat keeps watch over the town now. 

If you visit, town leaders have this challenge for you: "You should look for the hearts," Wells said. "We consider ourselves the heart of the Central Coast and we do have hearts and you have to kind of look for them."

There are about a half dozen hearts around town.

Every Friday night during summer, Harmony Cellars hosts live music and a food truck. 

Click here to find out the "Top 10 Things to Do in Harmony, CA."
 

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