By Hope S. Philbrick
“Next time, let’s stay overnight,” my husband had said as we drove away from Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill in Harrodsburg, Kentucky, after our first visit. And so for our second visit, we booked a room at The Inn.
Into every getaway, some rain might fall. When storm warning sirens started to blare shortly after we arrived in Shaker Village, I didn’t panic. For starters, the skies were pale not dark grey, the rain was comprised more of mist than drops, and I was surrounded by buildings were built more than 200 years ago.
There is comfort in standing among structures that have stood the test of time. The 34 Shaker structures in Shaker Village were built from 1809 to 1875; they comprise Kentucky’s largest National Historic Landmark and the nation’s largest private collection of original 19th century buildings. This was not the first storm these buildings have weathered.
While the storm knocked every planned activity off our itinerary, it gave us an excuse to just hang out in my room at The Inn, which was wonderful.
Pleasant Hill is the only place where you can stay overnight in rooms where Shakers once lived and worked. Of the 30 restored original buildings, 16 have spaces adapted with modern conveniences for use by overnight guests. “Each room has been carefully brought back to an early 19th Century appeared dictated by Shaker doctrine,” states a welcome letter. “We make you kindly welcome.”
The Inn features 72 guest rooms, suites and private cottages that are located in 13 different historic Shaker Village buildings. We stayed in the heart of Shaker Village at the refurbished Trustees’ Office, but you might opt for a secluded cottage, a dwelling overlooking The Farm, a family suite if you’re traveling with a group, or another option.
Guestrooms feature original hardwood floors, neutral walls accented by painted woodwork, and Shaker reproduction furniture. History is updated with modern comforts like heating and air-conditioning, memory foam mattresses, luxurious linens. There are also spectacular views of rolling hills, meandering paths, historic buildings, and towering trees. This is a room you can relax into, whether you want to work, chat with your travel companion, soak in a hot bath, or take a nap.
The Trustees’ Table, which is billed as a “seed-to-table” restaurant, is located on the main level in the Trustees’ Office—über-convenient if you’re lodging in that building during a downpour, though one bite proves the place is a destination in its own right. The restaurant serves Kentucky-style traditional favorites and seasonal fare, showcasing garden-fresh seasonal ingredients and local farm products. The dinner menu offers dishes like fried chicken, Kentucky hot brown, pan-fried catfish, smoked beef brisket, fried green tomatoes, country tart (with veggies, cheese, cream and eggs). The breakfast buffet includes options like scrambled eggs, oven-fried potatoes, cheese grits, bacon, to-die-for homemade pumpkin muffins, baked apples and more.
Shaker Village was inhabited by Shakers until 1910 and preserves 34 original buildings and 3,000 acres of land. It’s a fascinating place to explore, a delicious place to dine, and a cozy place to stay.
At the end of this visit, we drove away knowing we’d return.
- Shaker Village is located a short drive from the Kentucky Bourbon Trail
- All guests of The Inn receive complimentary admission to The Historic Centre, The Farm and The Preserve for the length of their stay
- The Inn common areas include libraries and game rooms
- Free Wi-Fi in certain buildings and common spaces
- All guests of The Inn save 10 percent purchases at The Shops
- Due to the historic nature of the property, there are no elevators available in any overnight building
- All guestroom beds have memory foam mattresses
- Pet friendly rooms are available
- Rooms with wood-burning fireplaces are available
- Gilchrist & Soames bath products are provided
- Guestrooms are equipped with single-cup coffee brewing systems and basic supplies
- Check-in begins at 3 p.m.; check out by 11 a.m.
- Dine on-site at The Trustee’s Table
- Shaker Village hosts a range of special events throughout the year, such as a dining series, marathon runs, paddle & yoga weekends, chamber music festival, craft fair, antique show & sale, and much more. Click here for details.
- Odds of Encountering Children: High, especially since children under 17 stay free when staying with an adult. But there are 3,000 acres, so you can readily find some quiet space.
Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill
3501 Lexington Rd.
Harrodsburg, KY 40330
– Photos © HSP Media LLC
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