A day at the Shaker Village is a journey into the past. The 3000 acre complex is divided into five areas; the stable, the farm, the historic centre, the river and the preserve. Devoted to preserving the history of the Shakers, who established the village in 1805, Shaker Village also draws visitors who want to explore the present with festivals, like the Well Crafted- Brews + Bands Festival, programs, like the upcoming Urban Farming, or activities, like stand up paddle boarding or yoga.
Shaker Village at Pleasant Hill
We arrived in time to join in the Well Crafted Festival, which featured local bands, local food trucks and upcoming craft beers. We started our afternoon with a visit to the Crank and Boom food truck, where we purchased cups of ice cream. Naturally, we had to sample the two specialty Kentucky flavors, Kentucky Blackberry and Buttermilk and Kentucky Bourbon and Honey. Oh my goodness! If you want a melt in your mouth treat, this a must try. Locals at all the places I visited in Harrodsburg were quick to suggest a visit to the Crank and Boom ice cream parlor.
We strolled over to a bench in the village to enjoy our ice cream and discovered that several educational presentations were being held during the day. We were just in time to join the Herbal Class, which fascinated me as I grow my own herbs. We started with a walk around the Shaker herb garden, where our guide explained the various types of uses for the herbs.
The Shakers used herbs to make their own medicines and were a healthy people, living 30 years longer than their neighbors in the surrounding area. Herbs were also used for dying clothing and for seasoning. We were able to try a pleasant smelling antiseptic spray and a insect repellent the Shakers made. I was also pleased to find they would share the recipes. I quickly picked up my copy to try my hand at making these at home. Afterwards, we were allowed to make our own “Allergy bags.” These were thought to relieve allergies, but could also be used to freshen the air in closets or drawers.
A visit to the farm brought us up close and personal with “Abraham” the ram. We were warned that Abraham was friendly “as long as you stayed on your side of the fence.” While visiting the barn we learned that the Shakers had hired Irish workers to construct a stone wall on the property, much of which is still visible today.
Later in the afternoon we took a tour of the village. Provided every 30 minutes by knowledgeable guides, the tour explains the history of the Shakers and their progressive ways. In a time when men were dominant, the Shakers treated women equally. The only thing that confused some members of our group were the Shakers commitment to celibacy. This provided a lively discussion for several minutes.
Kentucky Fudge Company
After spending the day at Shaker Village, we headed to the Kentucky Fudge Company in downtown Harrodsburg for dinner. Saturday’s bring local talent to perform live music so we were treated to tunes as we dined. All of the desserts are homemade and sold out quickly, but we were still able to enjoy a piece of pie and a scone after dinner. Of course, the food is so filling, you might find you don’t have room for dessert. I ordered the Gourmet Grilled Cheese and Baked Potato Salad, while Ashton ordered the Harrod Burger. Although the food is delicious, it’s worth a visit for the atmosphere. Formerly a drug store, the restaurant has an 1800’s vibe, with glass cabinets lining the walls, a restored soda fountain and a tin ceiling.
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