Shaker straw bonnet handing on a dark peg on white wall
Bonnet on a peg board at Shaker Village – if only life could be this tidy.

Last weekend I stole away from the Kentucky Women Writers Conference and spent a day visiting Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill, 23 miles from Lexington, Kentucky. It was a truly glorious fall day spent in the picturesque heart of Bluegrass country, and I hope my photos will convey some of the serenity of the Shaker Village.

gravel path with green trees on both sides in Shaker Village
Main Street of Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill

As a former American Studies major, I’ve always be interested in the Utopian religious societies that sprung up in the U.S., and I find the Shakers particularly fascinating because of their lasting influence on truly American design. I’ve always loved their furniture and admired their aspiration towards simplicity, and clearly I am not the only one because they have had a truly remarkable influence on American design even though their sect, due to the requirement of celibacy, was ultimately not sustainable, and of their flourishing villages only one is still in operation with five surviving members in Maine.

three historical actors weaving baskets outside in the shade at Shaker Village
Pleasant Hill is a living history village, so along the way you’ll encounter volunteers in traditional garb who demonstrate Shaker crafts, such as basket weaving here.
Shaker village white clapboard house and steps
I love how here the white fences create such an orderly world.
Weathered white clapboard house wall, window and door with steps
Weathered and still beautiful.
earthenware jug on window sill
Looking out of one of the windows in the Centre Family Dwelling.
Shaker Village dining room
One of the dining rooms in the Centre Family Dwelling –
doesn’t this just make you feel all tidied up and ready to
sit down?
Shakers, upon joining the community, would be grouped
into “families” (male and females separately), who
lived together. So this is one “family’s” dining room.
blue enamelware jug with spider web at Shaker Village
The spider and the jug – the only place where I felt the
Shakers might just have left, i.e. it felt lived in and
not too museum cleaned up.
It was that kind of a day for a gauzy curtain to sway in the breeze.
red brick family dwelling house at Shaker Village
East Family Dwelling (1817) – the long and narrow windows are typical of early 19th century architecture, but the perfect symmetry is particular to the Shakers.
Symmetrical yellow entrance doors at family dwelling building in Shaker Village
Double entrance as one side is for the women and the other for the men.
two little brooms hanging in a window at Shaker Village
Looking out from the broom maker’s window in the East Family Brethren’s Shop.
A tad of whimsy from a clothes hanger.