It could have been the calming breeze rustling the leaves of the old oak trees or perhaps the laughter of children as they put the resident ducks to bed. Quite possibly it was simply the serenity of the beautiful countryside paired with intriguing history that captivated me. Join me as I take you on a journey through Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill to discover why this hidden gem needs to be your next Kentucky getaway. This post is in partnership with Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill, as always opinions are my own.
More Than A Historic Village
When you visit Shaker Village you become immersed in the culture. Whether that is staying the night in one of the historic buildings, participating in one of the many cultural programs or simply dining at the Trustee’s table overlooking the garden that is represented on your plate. The village comes alive as guests explore the many different areas and programs found throughout the property. With over 34 historic structures and 3000 acres, the opportunities are endless as you discover Kentucky’s Largest National Historic Landmark.
Who Were The Shakers and How Did They End Up In Kentucky
It started in 1805 when Shaker missionaries ventured to Kentucky from New England and began converting locals. The first Kentucky Shakers gathered near the village of Pleasent Hill. The Shakers were known as a religious society that aspired to live pure lives. In addition to being celibate, they were also known for their progressive and industrious nature. Shaker Village had running water a few months prior to the White House!
Shaker Village had nearly 500 residents in the 1820s and continued to thrive until the Civil War. With a whirlwind of industrialization, social changes and other factors the community began its decline. The last Pleasant Hill Shaker died in 1923 and the village became transformed into Shakertown which consisted of general stores, gas stations, hotels, private homes, and a church. A nonprofit stepped up to the plate and began to repurchase the former Shaker property, restore it and preserve the history of the Pleasant Hill Shakers.
What To Do At Shaker Village Of Pleasant Hill
Tour The Historic Village Centre
Let curiosity take over as historic buildings beckon you to come to take a peek inside. Each one offering a different insight into the daily life of the Shakers. Whether it is stepping into the Centre Family Dwelling to see how families lived together or exploring the Meeting House which has seen years and years of worship. The majority of the buildings are open to visitors with the exception of a few buildings that are only for overnight guests. Signs on the doors will indicate if a building is open.
Throughout the Village Centre, there are a few buildings to add to your bucketlist. The first being the Water House. It offers a glimpse into the innovative and engineering methods the Shakers used. Directly next to the Water House is the Bath House, another fascinating piece of history. A few other must-sees were the attic in the Meeting House, the Scale House, and the Trustee’s Office.
Gather Together For An Engaging Cultural Program
Discover the fascinating history of the Shakers with a historic village tour. Dance to Shaker music and sing along with their daily hymns in the Meeting House. Even enjoy an evening spirit stroll to the cemetery while holding a candlelit lantern. The sprawling list of daily activities is enough to keep even the most active of families busy. Step into the barn to see how the in’s and outs of daily farm life or take their seed saving class for those looking to grow their own gardens. Pick up a detailed list of the daily programs at the Welcome Center. A personal favorite of mine is the Poultry Parade which entails putting the resident ducks to bed. Truly a must-see if you have children.
Experience Seed to Table Dining At The Trustee’s Table
The aromas drifting out of the Trustee’s Office are tempting to every nose passing by. They say the thing about good food is that it brings people together from all walks of life. This can be observed first hand at the Trustee’s Table located inside the Trustee’s Office. Visitors of all ages, young and old can be found gathered around the table sharing laughs over a meal.
The Trustee’s Table takes great pride in offering its guests one of the finest seed to table dining experiences. The restaurant even overlooks the garden where portions of your meal were grown. The menu changes seasonally to include produce that is currently being harvested. The morning breakfast buffet is a traditional farmer’s breakfast buffet. Farm fresh eggs, homemade biscuits ‘n’ gravy and crispy bacon are just a few of the classics that will get you out of bed in the morning.
Stop in for lunch or dinner to treat yourself to a few of Trustee’s Table staples that keep visitors returning again and again. A personal favorite of mine was the Tomato Pie and the Summer Peach Chicken. Both divine and beautifully plated. Indulge in a classic Shaker Lemon Pie or one another decant dessert to cap off your meal.
Relax During A Scenic Riverboat Cruise
Take in the beauty of the Kentucky River from the Dixie Belle. Built-in Cincinnati, this sternwheeler has been a part of the Shaker Village since 1982. Guests can purchase tickets at the Welcome Center for a one-hour trip upriver and back to Shaker Landing. A highlight of the Shaker Village riverboat cruise that the two captains have each been manning the ship for over 30 years. The wit and humor were impeccable. Throughout the year there are themed cruises such as the Civil War Cruise reviewing how the Civil War affected the Shakers and Boo Cruise that takes place during Halloween.
Discover The Beauty Of The Preserve
A visit to Shaker Village is not complete without exploring a few of the trails located across the 3000 acres preserve. Trailblazers will enjoy scenic waterfalls, restored prairies and plenty of wildlife that can found by transversing 37 miles of trails. Guests have the opportunity to enjoy equine trails however horseback riding is not offered at Shaker Village. To enjoy the trails by horseback one must bring their own horse. Stables are available for overnight stays. A few trails are dog-friendly as well. Three trailheads with parking are available to the public and guests. Trail use is free for all non-equestrian trail users.
Do A Little Shopping
Scattered throughout Shaker Village are charming county stores that are perfect for finding the ideal souvenir to commemorate your visit. Traditional Shaker brooms, crafts, and other great gifts line the shelves waiting to hop in your bag. Jams and jellies always manage to find their way to my home when I shop.
Explore The Farm At Shaker Village
A must-do experience when visiting the village is a stop at the working farm. Children will especially love the programs centered around the animals in addition to experiencing life on the farm. Overnight visitors will get the opportunity to participate in the Rise + Shine at the Farm which includes breakfast time for the local farm animals. Different programs throughout the day focus on the varying aspect of agriculture and farm life.
Sip On Cocktails While Listening To Jazz On The Lawn
After an exciting day taking in the sights and sounds of Shaker Village slow things down by enjoying a little jazz. Grab a cocktail, a shady spot and sit back as the sounds of jazz float across the countryside. As the sun began to set this a perfect way to begin our evening.
The Inn At Shaker Village Of Pleasant Hill
A truly unique aspect of Shaker village is that they offer 72 guest rooms located within 13 of the historic buildings. This gives visitors the opportunity to fully immerse themselves in history while experiencing top-notch hospitality. Each room hosts a countryside view and is furnished in the traditional Shaker style. A highlight was the Shaker pegboards located throughout the rooms and the village. I never knew how much I needed a Shaker pegboard until I had the opportunity to utilize one on every wall.
A variety of accommodations such as a standard room, suites to a private cottage makes overnighting a breeze. I found Shaker Village a great spot to stay while exploring the neighboring Lexington areas and Bourbon Trail. During your visit check out these great family-friendly finds in Lexington.
Special Offer For Consistently Curious Readers
Receive 10% off when you book your stay at The Inn at Shaker Village by October 31, 2019. Call 1-800-734-5611 and use code SMI4 when booking. Visit shakervillageky.org/the-inn/ to learn more about overnight stays.
Special Events At Shaker Village Of Pleasant Hill
One particular thing Shaker Village prides itself on is hosting extraordinary events. By incorporating the historic buildings, countryside vistas, and the award-winning culinary team makes certain that each event is spectacular. Year-round celebrations and festivities will have guests returning again and again. Take a peek at their calendar to see what fun-filled events are around the bend.
Hard Cider Bash
One event that is bound to be your new fall staple is the Hard Cider Bash. Held in one of the historic tobacco barns guests gather to enjoy good food, live music and plenty of hard cider. The beautiful autumn decor welcomed visitors as they made their way into the historic barn. The setting-sun peered in through the wooden slats as the sounds of an acoustic guitar set the tone for a spectacular evening. Stations scattered throughout the barn offered tantalizing entrees, ice-cold cider and offer mouth-watering culinary delights. As hor devours were passed we engaged in delightful conversations that led to many new friends. As the night progressed bonfires were lit, cider making demonstrations were held and guests slowly made their way back to their rooms by the light of the moon.
Harvest Fest and Halloween at Shaker Village
Two great fall-family events at Shaker Village is their popular Harvest Fest and Trick-Or-Treat. Celebrate the harvest with plenty of kid-friendly activities and events during Harvest Fest. For a more spooky outing consider strolling along the Village road as you gather treats. Hayrides, food, and drinks are available at both events.
A visit to Shaker Village is the perfect weekend retreat for couples, friends, and families. The peaceful serenity of the countryside paired with a staff that radiates hospitality will make any stay to Shaker Village a memorable one.