We recently spent the day at Shaker Village (or Shakertown as it is known locally) and were amazed at the beauty of this location, and the astonishing variety of activities. Shaker Village is America’s largest restored Shaker community and provides an interesting historical experience about these truly innovative individuals who believed in civil rights and equal rights for women long before such concepts became commonly accepted. Not only will you have an interesting learning experience but, at the same time, you can also have a vacation that will be fun for everyone in the family.
Located in Pleasant Hill, Kentucky, about 25 minutes from Lexington, Shaker Village covers an astonishing 3,000 acres of rolling meadowlands and forests and is a National Historic Landmark. Lovely, large, recently refurbished mini-suites perfect for families are available at the inn, and there are also hotel rooms and private cottages for families who would like a little more room. Dine on regional Kentucky dishes at the Trustee’s Office Dining Room where everyone will enjoy the fabulous desserts like brown sugar chess pie. Then take a guided tour of the community with costumed interpreters, browse the gift and craft shops, or take an hour narrated riverboat cruise on the paddle wheel Dixie Belle along the Kentucky River where blue herons or turtles may be spotted.
Shaker Village is actively working to become more visitor friendly and has begun to offer such diverse activities as night hikes, photography tours, craft fairs, garden suppers, and even stand-up paddle boarding on the pond. Self-guided tours are offered and visitors are also encouraged to try crafts like spinning, weaving, broom making, and woodworking. The Trustee’s Office Dining Room offers some local fresh produce and the gardens are works of art being constantly maintained. The Shakers were famous for being the first to sell packaged seeds that had been carefully cultivated and Shaker Village is the first location where we have ever heard the expression “seed to table” gardening.
Shaker Village manages over 1,000 acres of restored prairies for native habitats so wildlife and migrating bird populations are plentiful along the many hiking trails. Horse lovers can even bring their own horses with them to enjoy the riding trails and board them in comfort at the stable. Daily activities include demonstrations of singing and music, wagon rides, farm activities like collecting eggs and feeding the chickens, learning about the plentiful gardens, sheep shearing and learning how the Shakers used that same wool for spinning and weaving.
Hundreds of trees on the property will turn gorgeous shades of red, orange, and gold in the fall and this would be the perfect place for a getaway to this undiscovered paradise. Spend a day enjoying a few of the many offered activities, then in the late afternoon, stroll through the historical buildings, have a scrumptious dinner in the restaurant, and relax in your beautiful suite at the inn. It’s the perfect getaway!
By Jan Ross, Staff Writer