Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill isn’t your standard tourist attraction. It’s the site of a former village of people belonging to the Shaker faith. Many of the buildings are original and their nature reserve contains over 3,000 acres of countryside, hiking, biking, and horse riding trails.
Set in the rolling hills of Harrodsburg, not far from Lexington, it brings a history long forgotten by many back to life in a real way. People may dress in costumes, but this isn’t a theme park by any means.
The Shakers had a simple way of life that is still practiced here, especially the sense of community. The nineteenth-century society lived here for over 100 years until their practice of celibacy and members leaving caused the end.
Men, women, and children lived here together in common quarters with chores divided among them. All were treated equally and they depended on the land and natural resources. The Shaker Village has restored the properties to their former glory as they would have been during the 1800s.
Activities at the Shaker Village
Each of the 18 or so buildings in the main village has an educational display about what the building would have been used for, such as female housing, male housing, and the meeting house. There are also interactive encounters on woodworking, cobbling, broom making and textile creation.
Those with active lifestyles can get a map of the trailheads, which can be accessed by bike, foot or horse. Each loop has a different length and offers historic sites like remains of a grist mill, waterfalls, and the boat landing. Fishing is also available in the Kentucky River.
There are always activities going on, which you can learn more about at the main house, and they change seasonally. During my visit, I experienced the Shaker Spirit Stroll and a ride on the Dixie Belle Riverboat. They also offer wagon rides, music and much more for families and adults.
The Shaker Village has become a popular spot for weddings and events like the popular Well Crafted Festival and Shakertown Festival.
Eating at the Shaker Village
There are dozens of delicious restaurants in Lexington and the surrounding area, but the Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill also has its own onsite restaurant. The Trustees’ Office Dining Room serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily.
The restaurant takes pride in its ingredients, all taken from theirs and nearby farms. Breakfast is served buffet-style, with all the Southern favorites like eggs, bacon, potatoes, sausage, biscuits and gravy, and muffins. Lunch and dinner have a seasonally changing menu, but the pot roast and catfish come recommended.
Shaker Village also offers happy hour at the Trustees Office on Fridays and Saturdays, where you can enjoy a sip of Kentucky bourbon with live music.
Sleeping at Shaker Village
Your visit to Shaker Village doesn’t have to end when the day does. The Inn at Shaker Village has rooms in the Trustees Office, which are recently renovated, as well as over 70 rooms and suites in buildings scattered throughout the property similar to Colonial Williamsburg.
I stayed in a simple room at East Family Brethren’s Shop, which was comfortable with amenities like a television, toiletries and a full shower as well as traditionally crafted furnishings. There are also entire houses that can be rented out for larger parties. Nightly rates start at $100.
Tips for Visiting the Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill
The Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill is located at 3501 Lexington Road Harrodsburg, Kentucky 40330. Unless there is a private event, the village is open daily. Admission to the village is $15.00 for adults, $5 for children 6-12 and free for those under 6. Additional fees may apply for activities, meals, and accommodation.
I visited Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill as a guest of Visit Lexington.
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