The Shakers haven’t lived on the property since 1910, but many signs of their presence are still very evident within the 3000 acres preserved for the use of visitors. Weekend calendars are full of activities from concerts to tours to hands-on activities for children, but during the week you can expect to take a deep breath and feel that you have stepped back in time.
A couple of weeks ago, Steve and I enjoyed 24 hours at Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill, near Harrodsburg, Kentucky. It was a welcome respite and change of pace after spending two very busy days in Cincinnati and before heading to another full schedule in Lexington, KY. Let me share some photos that will help you picture this very tranquil place and list some things that you can expect to find when you visit.
- Spacious guest rooms that are clean and comfortable. The decor is neutral and lacking in gizmos and artwork, but the beds and chairs are chosen for comfort. You might be surprised to find internet and televisions, but both are included in the room rates. I smiled when I saw the brand of bathroom toiletries — Bee Kind. Fitting, don’t you think? Our room was in the East Family Dwelling. It would not be considered handicapped-accessible, and there was no elevator, so be aware of that before making your plans. Here is the accessibility statement issued by Shaker Village.
2. Delicious meals at the Trustees’ Table. Meals are not included in the room rates, but they are a great option served right on the grounds within walking distance of your room. There is a large working farm on the property, so seasonal vegetables and other ingredients are incorporated as much as possible. Reservations are encouraged for breakfast, lunch and dinner, because diners are very likely to drive in from neighboring towns.
3. Tours by knowledgeable guides. Examples of symmetry are everywhere. Shakers were strong believers in equality between the sexes, so even though there was clear separation between the spaces for men and those for women, those spaces were equal in size and accommodations.
4. A gift shop, free parking, and plenty of space to walk, hike or ride horses. In the Preserve section of the property, there are 40 miles of trails for hiking and horseback riding. Guests can also shop for Shaker-style crafts and books on their history. The small building next to the Trustees’ Office, which is called the Post Office, AND the Trustees’ Office offer gift items and snacks. In particular, I wanted to find the recipe for Shaker Lemon Pie and was glad to see it in a small, affordable cookbook.
I’ve had a lot of thoughts about the many good things that were invented or implemented by the Shakers, and I also have some spiritual thoughts about their beliefs and practices. Check back in on Friday to read more.
Plan your visit to include some time in nearby Harrodsburg. The small town is filled with history from the well-preserved buildings of Main Street to Old Fort Harrod State Park and beyond. Harrodsburg is also a key location in two massive yard sales, the 400-mile sale along Highway 68 in early June and the other along Highway 27 in August.