From Nyland we drove to Harmony Village in Golden Colorado, famous for the Coors brewery, it’s lovely setting and proximity to Denver. Harmony is also regarded as one of the more successful cohousing communities and we were eager to learn why.
We were greeted by Matt Worswick, one of the core founding members and designer of the community, along with four other committed cohousers in the "mission style" Common House. Among them was David Wann, the author of Reinventing Community a book Donna and I really enjoyed reading prior to our trip.
Harmony Village has 27 townhomes in a southwestern "pueblo" style and around 60 people, considered the ideal ‘tribal" size. Since the inception of the community in 1996 only five people have left making it one of the most stable cohousing communities around. The home prices there have steadily increased. Matt made the comment that this success has created a new challenge in that younger families cannot always afford to move there so the community is evolving into a "naturally occurring" elderly community. There are many issues that are being addressed with this shift.
Another change has been in governance, there are no committees. Instead they have a governing council with five people who represent certain key areas who address specific tasks. It seems like a streamlined and efficient process.
After the interview we toured around the lovely grounds. The common garden was a real highlight showing off David Wann’s strong influence. The community is surrounded by a strolling golf course, man-made lakes and an affluent neighborhood.
After the tour and our Guppy gourmet supper, we walked to downtown to check out the scene on a Saturday night. The main street was lined with small shops, restaurants and bars. We strolled into one filled with locals getting ready for the Saturday night karaoke competition. After several glasses of chardonnay, tall chick got up enough nerve to belt out a bad version of John Denver’s Rocky Mountain High sung with a local regular with a decent voice.
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So, we will remember Harmony and Golden for it’s special glow and a song that went flat.