Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Summertime in the Shaker Village

This year we embarked on a road trip for our summer vacation, stopping in Lexington and Harrodsburg, Kentucky; Nashville, Tennessee; and Abingdon, Virginia.  One of the highlights of our trip was our day spent at the Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill in Harrodsburg.  I read about the village in Southern Living several years ago and have wanted to visit it since then.  The area was more picturesque and tranquil than I even imagined, with rolling green hills and pastures stretching to the horizon. The Shaker buildings, most original to the 1850s settlement, were stunning as well.  I have always thought of the Shaker style as simple and unembellished.  While it is simple and functional, it is also refined, stately, and graceful.

The Shakers were socially progressive, believing in equality among all people regardless of gender or race. They were also quite wealthy and self-reliant, even harvesting silk worms to create silk fibers for garments. The Shakers relied on new converts to grow their population, but the majority of potential converts did not make it past their trial period.  It is easy to see why outsiders would have been drawn to the community, but the lifestyle restrictions were quite inflexible.  To experience a taste of the Shaker lifestyle, you can stay in some of the original buildings, and we hope to stay there on a future trip.   This year, we opted to spend a night at the Maple Hill Manor in Springfield, Kentucky.

Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill - Very aptly named!

Centre Family Dwelling, the second largest building in KY in the 1850s.
Only the state capitol building was larger.
Interior of the Centre Family Dwelling

Basement in the Centre Family Dwelling
One staircase for men and one for women
Shaker Brooms - These are all handmade using the
Shaker method and stand on their own.

Main meeting space in the Centre Family Dwelling

A place for everything

Silk worms on mulberry leaves

Beautiful winding staircase in the Trustees' Building

Harrodsburg, Kentucky and The Old Kentucky Fudge Company

The Old Kentucky Fudge Company and Good Eats Eatery are located in an old pharmacy.
The built-ins are original and still have the nameplates on the drawers for the herbs and
medicines that would have been store in them, 

 Maple Hill Manor, Circa 1851

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