Shaker Village in Kentucky can be like visiting a page out of the past. Visitors should express to learn a lot about Shakers and what they believed, all while having fun and seeing some of the most gorgeous scenic areas Kentucky has to offer (sometimes by boat or even by horseback!). Shaker Village Pleasant Hill was founded by three shaker missionaries in the 1800s. Eventually moving from an open community to a closed religious society, the population remained a self-sufficient 300 for the majority of its time as an active town.
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Living in harmony and sometimes seclusion for many years, a nonprofit organization formed in 1961 that sought to preserve this history area. The additional land (over 2,500 acres) were added as a security measure against the encroaching city growth. After that, historically accurate restoration began in an attempt to save as many historic buildings and preservation areas as possible. This is when the dining area, overnight lodging and gift shop was added, with the majority of the money going directly back into the land.
The Historic Centre - Shaker Village’s Historic Centre allows visitors to browse the history of the area at their own pace. Learn about the architecture, religious beliefs and incredible artisanship and experience what life would have been like firsthand. See the 34 remaining structures (over 250 structures were originally constructed on the property in just over a one-hundred-year span). See history come alive!
The Farm - As farming was central to Shaker Village’s success as a community, the farm is a highlight of any tour of this attraction. Learn about their sustainable agriculture and stroll through their working apiary, garden, livestock area, and orchard. The products grown and raised here end up at The Trustees’ Table, so visitors should make sure to look around and see where their meal later will come from!
The Preserve - Part of what is important to Shakers is their belief in preserving the land, and the preserve is a large part of their legacy. Visit the native fields, prairies and woodlands, and try to recognize any of the diverse wildlife that calls the preserve home. There is over 3,000 acres of territory for visitors to explore.
The River - One of the few public access points to the Kentucky River Palisades is at Shady Landing, where the launching point for the Dixie Belle is now. Cruise down the river on this passenger paddleboat and enjoy the scenic views through rock formations that are said to be up to 450 million years old! Additional fees do apply, so plan ahead.
The Stable - The only thing more exciting than a visit to the many scenic areas of Shaker Village is seeing them on horseback. The stable provides this option for guests for an additional fee. Featuring over 35 miles of horseback trails, Shaker Village is one of the most sought-after riding destinations in Kentucky.
Shaker Village offers a wide range of educational opportunities for students. Field trips are run from April to November on Tuesdays through Fridays from 9:30am to noon. At noon, provided weather conditions are appropriate, Dixie Belle Riverboat cruises (on the Kentucky River Palisades) are also available. There is a small fee for both (for students as well as chaperones), but there is no charge for teachers. Field trips should be booked (with an accurate head count of expected students) at least two weeks in advance and schools will pay by invoice after their trip to Shaker Village. This will also include any additions (meals, cruises, etc.).
Students are able to either bring lunches or order boxed lunches directly from Shaker Village. There is an open picnic area, however, no shelter is available in the event of rain. It is also possible to dine at The Trustees’ Table in some instances.
As there is a lot of walking on a Shaker Village tour, make sure students wear comfortable clothes and closed toed shoes. Tours are recommended and catered to students from K through 12th grade.
Dining and Shopping
Dining is available at Shaker Village at the unique Trustees’ Table farm to fork restaurant. Using traditional recipes and ingredients directly from the garden, the rotating menu offers breakfast, lunch and dinner. Reservations are recommended.
Shaker Village also offers shopping opportunities - purchase food items (like pickles and jellies), cookbooks, children’s gifts, and lotions.
3501 Lexington Road, Harrodsburg, KY 40330, Phone: 800-734-5611