For more and more people, getting away from it all isn’t all about the R&R but the hands-on adventure – and the more authentic the experience, the better.
Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill, a landmark destination located in Harrodsburg, Ky., offers visitors an active experience in the spirit of the Kentucky Shakers. The United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing, or Shakers as they were more commonly known because of the exuberance they brought to meetinghouse worship, sought to create utopia. They practiced celibacy, believed in racial and gender equality and were challenged to make the most of their time and talents.
During an active experience, one could make bundle brush and turkey-wing hand-tied brooms. Achieve serenity through a candlelight or standup paddleboard yoga class. Savor dishes made from heirloom recipes using ingredients grown in gardens not far from the restaurant. Learn to use the same tools as nocturnal creatures as you move stealthily through the woods.
Today, the campus they originally settled in 1805 is a place for active and immersive exploration and adventure. Situated on 3,000 acres of rolling countryside is The Historic Centre, The Farm and The Preserve, each a historic showplace of Shaker ingenuity and philosophy that informs active programming designed to spark curiosity and inspire discovery.
You don’t just go behind-the-scenes; you hunker down at the workbench, head into the woods and dig into the dirt.
Fireside chats about the Shaker lifestyle, themed night hikes and wildlife treks, making natural cleaners, bourbon and bluegrass wagon tours, architecture tours, wilderness first aid certification – because of its ever-expanding roster of experiential-based activities in nature, science, history, culture, adventure and animals, Shaker Village was selected last fall as a founding member of Discovery Destinations. This collection of distinct, independent destination properties offers top-notch opportunities for travelers eager to go hands-on.
“Discovery Destinations offers travelers and fans alike new ways to discover the world first-hand, taking the picturesque scenes and exploration of Discovery’s on-air content to the next level through immersive experiences that entertain and inspire,” said Robert Marick, VP of Global Location Based Entertainment for Discovery Consumer Products. “Whether you seek an adventurous excursion or a guided tour rich in history, each partner resort asks guests to expect the unexpected as they experience aspects of discovery that are authentic to their surroundings and local culture.”
Affiliation with the world’s #1 pay-TV programmer means that Shaker Village will be able to more proactively care for its historic buildings and land, invest in learning and exploration and establish a premier destination for 21st century travelers. It also opens the door to innovative guest services in line with Shaker Village values, including becoming one of five Tesla Destination Supercharger Stations in Kentucky.
EXPERIENCING SHAKER VILLAGE
Daily Adventures at Shaker Village include visits to working artist studios and the bird blind, staff-led tours, excursions aboard the sternwheeler, Dixie Belle, musical entertainment, woodworking demos, perhaps sowing seeds in the garden. Discovery Treks, built on Shaker lessons of community, sustainability and ingenuity and created to offer guests more in-depth, interactive experiences, include Paddle + Yoga Weekends, Intro to Beekeeping and other workshops, and Family Explorer Programs like archaeology digs and learning to become an animal tracker.
“We’ve been offering introductory workshops for some time, but we’re getting requests for the option to go deeper into more intermediate/advanced knowledge,” said Amy Bugg, director of marketing and communications. “Most programs welcome all skill levels, but with great partnerships and the expertise of key staff members, we are able to offer multiple levels of instruction at the same time.”
Additionally, Shaker Village has Signature Events that take place throughout the year. These include a Fresh Food Adventures Dining Series, the springtime Chamber Music Festival of the Bluegrass and Well-Crafted – Brews + Band, a summer celebration of local musicians and craft beer.
Experiencing all of Shaker Village means spending the night where the Shakers once slept. Guestrooms, suites and private cottages are tucked into 13 restored Shaker buildings, each evoking the Shaker sensibility of simplicity through Shaker reproduction furniture and original hardwood floors and offering magnificent countryside views outside their windows.
Also not to be missed is dining at Trustees’ Table, where menus celebrate Shaker Village’s roots by serving up dishes made of seasonal ingredients fresh from its own garden and the gardens of local farmers. While classic Southern dishes – fried chicken, corn pudding, tomato celery soup and coleslaw and corn sticks are menu staples (the latter two items are always set out for lunch and dinner for guest enjoyment), dishes inspired by the seasons make frequent appearances as well.
In addition to Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill, these three properties also joined Discovery Destinations as founding members: Nantahala Outdoor Center in North Carolina, House on Metolous in Oregon and Goldmoor Inn in Illinois.
·In the Shaker fashion, make the most of your time and talents at one of the Shaker Makers: Hand-tied Brooms workshops. The Shakers are world-famous for their flat brooms and you can learn this traditional craft by making two functional hand-held brooms: a bundle brush and a turkey-wing. The next workshop takes place 10 a.m.-12 p.m. on Feb. 6.
·What the Shakers achieved through dance and song, that is, a higher state, you can attain through Candlelight Herbal Yoga (next session is 7 p.m. Feb.12), a gentle yoga flow by candlelight incorporating the essence of Shaker herbs, held not far from their former meetinghouse. Namaste.
·Taste the authenticity of locally grown and produced foodstuff with themed Fresh Food Adventures, like the four-course bourbon dinner, featuring Kentucky’s Four Roses bourbon, planned for 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 12.
Click here to learn more information about programming at Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill, its Everyday Adventures, Discovery Treks and Signature Events, as well as lodging and dining options. Click here to plan a visit to Harrodsburg, KY.