Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Pleasant Hill Shaker Village

The large stone dwelling house at Pleasant Hill reflects the inherent New England architectural practices that the Shakers brought with them as they settled westward.

This past weekend, with the glorious sun and in celebration of Eli's birthday (our baby is now nine!), we went to the Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill near Harrodsburg, Kentucky and also had a cookout on Sunday. Pleasant Hill was the first place we visited in Kentucky several years ago when we were looking at maybe relocating here. The farm manager at the village said, "Well, if it's beautiful country and farming you want to do, you should look at the 'knob region' just south of here by about an hour." And so we did and the rest is our own pleasant history in formation.

At the village we treated ourselves to a fine meal in the dining room (Pleasant Hill also operates an inn on the premises). I will keep things brief here, for a change, and let the photos do the talking!

An old sign marks the mileage from Pleasant Hill's bucolic Main Street (now off the main highway). It is located southwest of Lexington and north of historic Harrodsburg.

On the way into the Shaker meetinghouse at Pleasant Hill. The costumed interpreter greeter, in indigo, sings and dances to demonstrate early Shaker worship practices. And yes, Grace and Anna were often mistaken for Shaker museum staff on our visit.

'Tis the gift to be simple, 'tis the gift to be free...

I'm not sure what's with the mutual arm posturing between my husband Temple and our friend Melvin, here in the Shaker meetinghouse at Pleasant Hill. I know they were talking about architecture but it looks like they are about to break into an impromptu Shaker dance.

How is that for an angel food cake pan?! Anna and I both coveted this in the dwelling house kitchen at Pleasant Hill.

Shaker architecture displays a duality of form as sisters and brothers, despite their advanced egalitarian regard for each other, used separate entrances into buildings and communal rooms, as for dining and worship. Oddly enough, an old Kentucky vernacular house style often uses two front doors (and, back in New England we lived in an 1813 Federal home with two front doors as it had been built for two brothers and their wives). Two front-doored facades seem to be an architectural constant in my life since my marriage.

A highlight of our afternoon was the season's first riverboat cruise on the Kentucky River, adjacent to the Shaker village.

We further celebrated Eli's birthday on Sunday with an impromptu cookout (his request: hamburgers, hot dogs, potato salad, chocolate cake). Anna and Henry hold up a donkey comforter that a local Mennonite woman made.

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