We took our family to Shaker Village last weekend and had a blast. The kids had so much to do and we literally had fun every second. I found out about the place from http://www.harrodsburgunexpected.com . They have a good list of stuff to do in Harrodsburg and Shaker Village was featured there.
We stayed in the East Family Residence quarters and found it charming, comfortable and unique; a blend of modern and Shaker with TV and small modern bathroom. Our room was a large, very sparse open room with non-working fireplace, lots of windows, chairs, soft foam beds and pegs along the walls instead of closets. A grand wide hallway led through two large sitting rooms to a kitchen and children's playroom and a small room for eating, complete with on-demand coffee maker, refrigerator and microwave. The grounds and tour are guided or not, with period buildings, two museums, a gift shop, a working barn, animals and a dining hall. Sparse and plain is the Shaker philosophy and the theme of everything there, except the dining which was pricey and nothing special. Wide tree-lined paths with benches invite one to sit and simply enjoy. One does some walking to get around the whole complex. We really enjoyed the KY boat tour and found a mom and pop cafe in Bergen a few miles down the road with huge meals, 1970's prices and a homey atmosphere. I might question staying here in very hot or very cold weather, but fall was lovely and the experience a good one. I would suggest first going to the basement of the East Family Residence and watch the video and see the exhibits if you are unfamiliar with Shaker philosophy. This community is in a rural area with no towns, stores or conveniences nearby or on site. Bergen, about 4 miles north at the 'Y' has gas, a cafe, a great motorcycle shop and a dollar store for supplies. That's it. Come prepared.
We enjoyed our trip, however it was not the best historical site we have ever toured (we really enjoy historical parks and have toured many around the country). While there were costumed interpretors, they were not at every building, and they did not escort one through the home. Instead, they explained some things at the door and then let you walk through the rest of the building. They had a movie, which was informative, and we would recommend seeing first, although it is located towards the end of the walking tour. Also, we listened to a talk on the Shaker beliefs by one of the interpretors -- we were blessed to hear this at the beginning which helped to explain a lot about the rest of the tour. It was very quiet and peaceful, and the surroundings beautiful. The Shakers lived simply, thus the homes are simple, plain, and practical. The buildings were all very similar -- the decorations, furnishings, architecture, etc. were all the same from building to building. We did not stay at the hotel, nor did we eat at the restaurant. While it was interesting to visit once, if we were in the area again, we probably wouldn't stop. It was $15 to tour, plus an additional $10 if you wanted the boat ride (our time was limited, so we didn't do this, however we did spend about 3 1/2 hours in the park).
I am not used to slamming a place this hard. My wife and I stopped by in the early afternoon for a snack after visiting a craft fair. We each got a piece of pie and coffee. The lemon pie was full of lemon zest and fiber like thy did not bother to peel the lemons too well. It was bitter tasting. My wife's dessert was not much better due to staleness. Enjoy the history, but skip the overpriced, awful food.
My husband I visit Shaker Village at least once or twice a year from the Ohio area. It is an immediate sence of relaxation taking you far back in history and enjoying the surroundings; not to mention the old time meals by candle light. When we want peace and a get away place not to be disturbed, we throw some reading materials in the car and go. Make sure you take a blanket so you can sit out on the lawn under one of the larger trees by the pond and a pair of old walking shoes to enjoy the trails. We have a blast each time planning to stay in a different building as well. Check out their calendar of events prior to planning. Our next visit is in a few weeks and I just can't wait. While you are there, take in the wonderful history of this place and please make a donation if you can so we can keep coming back. Small or large will still make a difference.
The scenic views of Shaker Village were filled with dozens of well-clad mid-nineteenth century personages this past weekend. I truly enjoyed the experience of walking down the cobblestone walks and visiting the original houses. The food Saturday night was wonderful. I particularly liked the watermelon rind pickles.
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