2017 Shaker Village Gift Guide


It’s time to make your list and check it twice! We’ve got a little something for everyone on your shopping list! From adventures at Shaker Village to handcrafted items and goods, these gifts are sure to please.

1. Shaker Village Honey Shakers brought Italian bees to Pleasant Hill in 1866. Today, we use Italian bees in our hives to educate about sustainability and beekeeping, and to create this delicious, golden honey. $9

2. Pet Lover’s Gift Set An ideal gift for every pet lover on your list! Includes three wooden ornaments and a kitchen tea towel. $25

3. Gift Certificate Too tough to decide which part of the Shaker Village experience suits best? Purchase a Shaker Village gift certificate! Gift certificates are valid towards meals, overnight accommodations, retail purchases, village admission and riverboat rides. Available in $20 and $50 increments.

4. Shaker Lemon Pie Plate with Recipe Card Handcrafted locally to celebrate our famous Shaker Lemon Pie. $40

5. Annual Membership to Shaker Village Gift an Annual Pass to an individual or family and let them reap the benefits all year long. Passholders receive unlimited free admission and riverboat rides, 10% discount on retail purchases, insider emails and promotions, and more! While you’re at it, better grab one for your family too! $25-100

6. Shaker Oval Box Perhaps the most recognizable Shaker product, oval boxes were traditionally made for storing food in pantries. Today, they are perfect for storing all sorts of things! Available in six sizes and five colors. $35-90

7. Carrots Love Tomatoes Prepare your spring garden with this guide to companion planting! A favorite of The Farm manager. $15

8. A Taste of Shaker Village Gift Set Let us package the perfect gift for you! A yummy combination of Shaker Village’s favorite jams and jellies, complete with wooden butter knife and kitchen tea towel. Available online only. $55

9. Kitchen Broom Handmade in Kentucky! Perhaps the best known Shaker innovation, the Kitchen Broom has become a symbol of their desire for cleanliness and order. $44

10. Shaker Village Card Set A custom set of blank linen cards that features winter images of Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill. $16

Discover the Perfect Gift! Shop signature Shaker oval boxes, logo merchandise and seasonally-inspired gifts, as well as unique children’s gifts, books, soaps and lotions, jams and jellies, Shaker reproductions and more! Visit our three onsite shops located in the Welcome Center (Carpenters’ Shop), Post Office and Trustees’ Office. Shop online now. 


A Shaker Guide to Hosting at the Holidays

Shaker woman with a turkey on her shoulder. Photo courtesy of Hamilton College.


While it may come as a surprise to some, turns out, the Shakers knew how to enjoy the holiday season just as well as the rest of us! Just in time for Thanksgiving, here are some Shaker-inspired tips to help make your holiday season a success.


If you’ll be doing your shopping at a grocery store, consider opting for locally-raised products, or, take things a step further by sourcing the ingredients you need from a farmers’ market or your own garden. While the Shakers relied upon their own fields and farmyards to sustain themselves year-round, they also looked to their neighbors to help supply wanted foodstuff. Just before Thanksgiving in 1881, two Pleasant Hill sisters and one brother purchased turkeys from a local man named John Lapsley. While journal accounts tell us the Shakers had to catch their choice “gobblers,” at 75 cents a bird, it appears the purchase was well worth their efforts. And then, of course, you can’t beat free, so if, like the Shakers you happen to have a “kind good neighbor” who’s willing to provide you with 34 pie-worthy pumpkins—free of charge—like Shaker neighbor William Crutcher did in 1889, accept the gift freely (no pun intended…okay, maybe it was) with grace and gratitude.[i]

Shaker sister with turkeys and chicks, Canterbury, New Hampshire. Postcard image courtesy of Hamilton College.


Although you may not have one of their stone tables on which to roll your pie crust, you may still have something in common with the Shakers if you plan to serve apple, sweet potato or pumpkin pies this Thanksgiving. However, if, like me, you’re um…shall we say “baking-illiterate,” you’ll probably want to get your hands on the easiest pie recipe as possible. In case you’re still in need of some simple pie instructions for the holidays, why not consider this Shaker-written “recipe” for a regional Kentucky classic?

Transcription: Transparant [sic] Pie/ 1 bls [sic] of sugar yolks of 10 eggs ¾ lbs of/ butter One spoonfull [sic] flour


Though not required to practice vegetarianism, some Shakers, like Pleasant Hill’s Dr. John B. Shain, kept to a meatless diet, opposing—among other things—“flesh, fish and fowl.”[ii] Like my family, will there be a vegan, vegetarian or gluten-free friend at your table this Thanksgiving? If so, try to embrace the Shaker spirit of hospitality by providing a variety of options for guests with dietary restrictions.


If you plan to host company, you may want to clean up a little…just a little. While today our consciences—and dusty coffee tables—are often what motivate us to tidy up, the Millennial Laws required the Shakers to clean on Thanksgiving Day:

Ye shall attend one meeting on Thanksgiving Day;
and the rest of the time shall be employed in cleaning
up, and putting things in order. And ye shall in no
wise slight this important duty.

On the other hand, if you find yourself strapped for time, or—oh, I don’t know—distressed by the weather, perhaps cut yourself a little slack and leave the cleaning for another day like the Shakers did in 1889:

November 28, 1889, It began to snow last night & continued all day…This was Thanksgiving day. An awful day it was. We had Meeting at 10 o’clock A.M. Was to clean up after dinner but the weather was so bad we could not.[iv]


Need some help with your table settings? Included in the loose recipe pages of Volume 40, “Directions for Placing Dishes on the Table” can help make setting your table at the holidays as easy as it was for the Shakers. While the full instructions which can be found in A Modern System of Domestic Cookery, or the Housekeepers Guide (1824), my advice is to stick to the final rule on the list:

Note_if more than the above number of dishes [twelve] are required,
the manner of laying them on the table must in a great
measure depend on the taste of the dresser.

As is the case in this postcard of the interior of East Family Dwelling while operating as Shakertown Inn (ca. 1919-1940) “Directions for Placing Dishes on the Table” suggests flowers and centerpieces “invariably” be placed at the middle of the table.


Finally, after all the preparations are done, your table is set, your turkey—or Tofurky—has made its way onto the serving tray and all are seated, pause to remember why you’ve gathered. Each Thanksgiving, the Shakers came together for a society meeting, during which they would sing, give thanks and enjoy “social and spiritual union.”[v] At 1891’s meeting, the brothers and sisters of Pleasant Hill were reminded of a sentiment which, 126 years later, still remains true for many of us today:

We have indeed been blest in “our basket and store-hours,” also with good health, and reasonable prosperity; we have good Brethren and Sisters, and should, each one, pray that the same blessing that we are enjoying, may be accorded us in the future, and that we may be able to make each other’s path brighter, and their burden lighter. [vi]


Last, but certainly not least, dig in and enjoy yourself! Depending on how large your turkey is, your feast may last for days or even months! Such was the case for the Pleasant Hill Shakers in 1887, when turkey was so plentiful they prepared “a very fine Turkey dinner” for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s! Then again, be cautious not to eat too much this holiday season. After all, as a Shaker elder once warned, “the annual feasts of Thanksgiving and Christmas… seldom or never pass without extra work for the physician if not for the undertaker.”[vii]

Join us! December 6-23, 2017 for Holiday Buffet Lunches at The Trustees’ Table. Reservations are encouraged.

Emálee Krulish, Archivist

[i] Journal, March 1, 1881-April 30, 1885, Filson Historical Society, Volume 20
[ii] “John Shain discourse on food and the taking of drugs as medicine,” Filson Historical Society, Volume 37
[iii] “The order of Christmas, Thanksgiving days, etc. etc.,” The Holy Orders of the Church, October 1842
[iv] Journal, May 16, 1889-December 2, 1890, Filson Historical Society, Volume 22
[v] Lucy S. Bower to Margarette Davis, December 1890, The Manifesto, Volume 21, Number 2, February 1891
[vi] “Pleasant Hill, Ky.,” November 1891, The Manifesto, Volume 22, No. 1, January 1892
[vii] “The Food We Eat, No. 4,” Elder Henry C. Blinn, The Manifesto, Volume 29, No. 6, June 1899

Bird Banding 101

Just like every department, The Preserve team has unique ways in measuring successes for Shaker Village. Since we started converting cool season pastures to native warm season grasses and wildflowers in 2009, we have dramatically changed the vegetative composition of the landscape. The majority of the changes we’ve made to the landscape were done to enhance the habitat of grassland obligate songbirds, such as the Northern Bobwhite Quail. Essentially, if you build and maintain good habitat for quail, then you raise the level of habitat for all songbirds. So, how can we tell whether this project has been a success?

Bird Banding at Shaker Village from Shaker Village on Vimeo.

Bird Banding is a metric we use to determine if we have been successful with our habitat enhancement that involves capturing birds using the protocols set forth by the Institute for Bird Populations’ Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship (MAPS) program. We set up mesh nets and check them at regular time intervals. The birds are removed from the nets and placed in protective bags, then checked for fat stores, breeding condition, feather wear and age by trained wildlife biologists. After that, the birds are released back into the wild.

This project was set up to obtain four years of baseline data in an abandoned cool season pasture, then convert the pasture to native warm season grasses and wildflowers, while continuing to collect data for a total of 10 years. This gives us an idea of how the property was used before the conversion, as well as what impact our conversion has had on bird health and overall numbers. What we’ve found after nine years of MAPS efforts is that birds LOVE what we’ve done with the place. Number of captures have been slightly up during the breeding season (May-July), but way up during the migration season (September-November). On Sept. 7 of this year, we captured our 100th species at the Shaker Village banding station! This milestone is significant in that not only are our capture numbers high, our diversity is high as well. High population numbers, along with high levels of diversity, equate to a high-five from the bird community!

We do what we can to keep our birds (and other wildlife) happy. Check out the bird blind area or take a hike on one of our trails to see The Preserve for yourself.

The Preserve and trails will be closed Mondays – Fridays from Nov. 1 – Dec. 29 for private hunts, habitat and wildlife management and trail restoration work. Learn more.

Ben Leffew is the preserve manager. A Kentucky Proud product straight out of…

What’s that Noise?

NOTICE: PRESERVATION@WORK Geothermal drilling will commence no earlier than 8:30 a.m. and will cease no later than 6 p.m. each day Oct. 2-6. Noise and vibration are to be expected.

Work on the Centre Family Dwelling and Meeting House has begun! And with that comes chainlink fences, construction equipment and loud noises. Sounds lovely, right? Actually, it really is! It’s the sound of preservation@work—work that will extend the lives of these two buildings, work that will prepare them for new interpretive experiences, work that would make the Shakers proud. So, while your Shaker Village experience will be different for the next year, we ask that you embrace this project and use it as a learning opportunity. During the next 12 months, our daily adventures schedule will feature special tours and activities highlighting the work being done on both buildings. We want you to be a part of this village@work project. Come see what’s happening! Ask questions, take a tour or read more here.

First up on the to-do list is drilling wells for the geothermal heating and cooling system.

Q: What are geothermal wells?
A: Geothermal wells are wells that tap into the natural energy found beneath the Earth. These wells will be attached to water source heat pumps inside the buildings, which maintain stable indoor temperatures.

Q: How does a geothermal system work?
A: The surface of the Earth can get quite cold or hot at times. The area beneath the Earth’s crust has a relatively stable temperature and geothermal energy utilizes this heat to provide heating or cooling for structures.

Q: How many wells are we drilling?
A: 36 total—24 for the Centre Family Dwelling and 12 for the Meeting House.

Q: How deep are the wells?
A: 380-400 feet!

Q: How are the wells connected to the building?
A: Each well has “unicoil” of pipe inside the well, a “supply” and “return in the shape of a U.” Each well is inter-connected into a pipe system, known as the “loop.” The main supply and return pipes are connected to pumps inside the building. This is known as a “closed loop” system. The system is sealed so no fluid is exchanged with the environment.

Q: What’s in the pipes?
A: The pipes are filled with glycol, a fluid similar to antifreeze in your car. The fluid doesn’t freeze and can transfer heat better than ordinary water.

Q: So how does it all work?
A: In winter, the system collects the Earth’s natural heat through the loop. The fluid circulates through the loop and carries the heat to the building. There, an electrically-driven compressor and a heat exchanger concentrate the heat and release it inside the building at a higher temperature. Ductwork distributes the heat to different rooms. In summer, the process is reversed. The loop draws excess heat from the building and allows it to be absorbed by the Earth.

Q: Isn’t it expensive?
A: The short answer is yes. Creating the infrastructure of wells and piping is a cost we have chosen to incur. We also have to create duct work and piping on the building interiors to distribute the heat or air conditioning. Our design team worked tirelessly to do this in ways that are sympathetic to the buildings so the systems are mostly hidden. When we are finished, you will have to look really hard to see where we added them.

Q: Why did Shaker Village choose geothermal?
A: Part of Shaker Village’s mission is to be good stewards of our resources. Geothermal helps us do this in two ways. First, geothermal heat pump systems are more than three times as efficient as the most economical furnace. Instead of burning a combustible fuel to create heat, a ground-source system uses the earth’s energy as heat. Geothermal systems provide three to four units of energy for every one unit used to power the system’s compressor, fan and water pump. The U.S. Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency identify geothermal as having the lowest environmental impact of all heating systems. Secondly, geothermal systems are able to reach very high efficiencies. For example, geothermal heat pump can be up to 600 percent efficient on the coldest days of the year—a normal air source heat pump will only be 175-200 percent efficient on cool days—meaning the geothermal system is using far less electricity than a comparable heat pump, furnace or air conditioner. Thus, this installation will help us save financial resources in the long run on our purchase of electricity.

This project has been in the works for decades. The systems installed during the 1960s in the Centre Family Dwelling and Meeting House  should’ve lasted 25-30 years, but we extended the life of those systems 50 years. Now, it’s time to dedicate the time and resources necessary to prolong the lives of these buildings for the next generation. When we are finished, guests will have a better experience inside the buildings during hot or cold days—regulating the temperature and humidity inside the building help us preserve the buildings and allow us to display furniture and textiles that are too fragile for non-climate controlled spaces. Some big long-term wins for a few weeks of noise and dust.

Preservation work is never completed—ongoing repair, maintenance and upkeep is critical for the sustainability of this site. Thanks to your donations and site revenue, projects like this are possible.

William Updike is the vice president for natural and cultural resource management…

How does Shaker Village inspire you? Five ways to show your support.

Shaker Village is on a mission to inspire generations through discovery by sharing the legacies of the Kentucky Shakers. But, what does that mean really? We are a village at work, of great work. Storytellers educate children and adults. Farmers and chefs build healthy foodscapes. Naturalists restore rare habitats. Craftsmen preserve irreplaceable architecture. Archivists care for priceless collections. And SO much more.

Has our work inspired you? We hope so! If not, give us a chance and we will make you proud. We rely on people like you to keep this place going, to continue to make great things happen here.

We asked some of our donors why you should support us:

“Shaker Village is a jewel right here in Central Kentucky. It is up to us to carry it forward.” -Ms. Barbara Hulette, Danville, Ky.

“I live near Shaker Village and love the property. It’s wonderful that Shaker Village allows people to come hike, ride and learn the history of the Shakers. I want to help keep it going. I would love to see Shaker Village continue on for many generations to enjoy.” -Dr. Leigh DeLair, Harrodsburg, Ky.

“I feel like a piece of my soul resides at Pleasant Hill.  I always want it to be there.” -Mr. James Spragens, Lebanon, Ky.

Help us keep it going. Tell your friends about Shaker Village. Like us on Facebook (we post cute pictures of baby animals)! Sign up for our email list. Visit the online shop. Take full advantage of all 3,000 acres and what they have to offer. Here are five easy ways to show your support now:

  1. Text INSPIRE to 501501 to donate $25. It’s quick and easy!
  2. Donate online.
  3. Visit us! Come see the real work that happens here. Attend a special event or workshop or just come for the day and enjoy the tours and sights. There’s plenty to keep you busy around here. Check out our calendar.
  4. Become an Annual Passholder. We’ll get your support and you’ll get free admission and other perks. Plus, we’ll get to see you more often!
  5. Learn more about our nonprofit mission and the legacies we strive to share. Check out our website or call Melissa in the development office to learn about giving options (859.734.1547).

Wendy K. Smith, Chief Development Officer