There's a wee little town along Highway 1 called Harmony, about six miles south of Cambria, that's home to several artisans and has always been owned by a single family. The downtown is all of two and a half blocks, the population holds steady at 18, and after being wholly owned by a Los Angeles couple for the last 17 years, Harmony was just sold for an undisclosed price to Alan and Rebecca Vander Horst, a couple who splits their time between Texas and neighboring city San Luis Obispo.

The town has a history of dairy farming and cheese production, as The Cambrian reports, with the Excelsior Cheese Factory opening there in 1869. It was well known for its Swiss-style butter and buttermilk, and tourists along Highway 1 — including William Randolph Hearst and his Hollywood friends en route to San Simeon — would often stop there to buy some before dairy production there died out in the 1950s.

Also, they once elected a Maine Coon town mayor.

Alan Vander Horst attended Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and is part of a three-generation dairy farming family. He runs the Sierra Dairy in Dublin, Texas, but his connection to the local Dairyman’s Cooperative Creamery Association in Tulare were what led him gain an appreciation for Harmony and its ramshackle charms.

Harmony is currently home to a cafe, a recording studio, Harmony Glassworks, and the 41-year-old Harmony Pottery, all longtime tenants from the era when hippies took the place over in the 70s. But some of the energy it once had a small tourist stopover has faded in the last couple of decades after the closure of a restaurant and several businesses. There remains a winery, Harmony Cellars, just outside of town on a hill overlooking it, that produces Central Coast Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon.

Vander Horst says he's hoping to become part of "something fun and quirky" in the town, and to "recreate the special feeling of time gone by." It sounds like he'll be actively seeking out new tenants, including, maybe, a fine dining destination restaurant, as well as an artisan cheese shop, and more artists.

Take note, displaced artists. Rent probably won't be that bad down there.

[The Cambrian]