Sunday, September 30, 2012

A Beautiful Place to Visit: Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill, Harrodsburg, KY

Saturday was a simply gorgeous day.  Cool in the morning and warm in the afternoon with a beautiful blue sky filled with white puffy clouds.  One could almost say it was a heavenly day.

The perfect sort of day to spend at Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill in Harrodsburg, Kentucky.  Shaker Village is a historic landmark of a community that has long been gone.  The Shakers were a communal society that wanted to create a heaven on earth.  They believed in equality of all people and shared goods.  They felt every member had something to offer the community and believed hardwork was a form of worship.  They took pride in their work and were well know for their quality products.  They were inventors and embraced technology of the time.

They came to live together in 1805 and for over 100 years, they remained.  The 1860's signaled the beginning of their decline.  Members began to denounce their religion and fell away.  By 1900 only 34 of the once nearly 500 members remained and Pleasant Hill was dissolved in 1910.

Today, Pleasant Hill has been revived as a nonprofit National Historic Landmark, preserving 35 of the original buildings and 3,000 acres of land.  Overnight lodging is available at The Inn at Shaker Village, featuring rooms with Shaker reproduction furniture, private baths and countryside views in guest rooms, suites or private cottages.

Shaker Village is open year round (except Christmas Eve and Christmas Day) and has a calendar full of special events. We happened upon Shaker Village in the midst of Harvest Fest, complete with fun activities for children including apple bobbing, pumpkin painting and races.

The village itself is beautiful.  High atop a rolling hill, the view is incredible!  Large trees don the village and stone walkways lead to beautiful old buildings.  We enjoyed touring the buildings and grounds, while watching craftsmen, cooks and musicians.  

We enjoyed strolling through the garden and meeting farm animals.  We watched as cane was split and learned how molasses was made.  We got to see their inventions at work with animals.

We have heard excellent things about the dining room. The Trustees' Office Dining Room serves traditional favorites and seasonal Kentucky dishes, many inspired by ingredients grown on the farm. However, we chose to enjoy BBQ from the spit.  Please note--reservations are strongly suggested for the dining room.  The prices were moderately high, but children eat free.

We did take a peek in the building that housed the Trustees' Office Dining Room and looked in awe at the double majestic staircase.  It was not possible to photograph both at the same time, but one was a mirror image of the other.  What a beautiful work of art!

I read that children are encouraged to dig in the dirt, plant a seed or play with worms in a special children's garden!

My girls enjoyed the games for the kids.  Bobbing for apples, pumpkin roll and farmer's dash.  It was all great fun!

In addition, Shaker Village offers Wagon rides, horseback riding, bird watching and shops. The Dixie Belle Riverboat departs from nearby Shaker Landing and cruises down a the Kentucky River Palisades through limestone cliffs and unspoiled territory.  I would have liked to taken the 1-hour riverboat cruise, but due to lack of time, it will have to wait for another day.  But feel free to read my blogger buddy's post about it at  
We all agreed that this was a fun day and well worth the drive we had to make to get there.  We would love to visit again!  Plan on spending a whole day there.  Even after you see and do it all, you will want to stay and just take it all in.  A quiet reminder of yesteryear. 

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Hobbies on a Budget said...

Would you believe I have actually never toured the grounds or the buidings? That's horrible for a KY gal like me to have missed this. We've ridden the boat, and hiked around and enjoyed the grounds but never taken the tour. So glad you had a great day! Beautiful!

The Southern Fried Bride said...

What a beautiful destination with a fascinating history. Thank you for sharing this Kentucky treasure!

Lisa Brown said...

Just a beautiful place to travel to. One day, hopefully, I will be able to go there.

Julie Wood said...

Wow, this is a really great place to take the family and look back at the Shakers village! I would really love to visit this place! I really liked the interesting pictures, and wow look at the pig roasting!

Dawn said...

Love your pics! This is sooo close to us, and we have never been! I am so going this year after seeing how much fun it looks!

Donna George said...

This is so cool!

Terri Weeks said...

One of the wedding presents my husband and I received was a gift certificate to the Beaumont Inn to be used for our first anniversary. We toured Pleasant Hill during our stay. That was 19 years ago. I'm looking forward to going back with our kids next month. This time we're staying at Pleasant Hill and have dinner at the Trustee's office. Your post has me very excited about our trip!

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