Spring has Sprung at Shaker Village

Twinleaf Buds

Don’t be fooled by the weather–spring is here! The calendar says March 20 is the very first day of spring, but if you judge springtime by the appearance of wildflowers and fresh green growth, spring actually started way back in late February.


Virginia Bluebell Buds

Wildflowers began blooming on The Preserve a couple weeks ahead of their usual schedule, and the occasional snowstorms have done little to slow them down. Our earliest blooming wildflowers, despite their small and delicate appearance, are tough and well-adapted to cold weather. Look closely and you’ll find them waiting in the woods for you!

Join us on April 7 for Walking in Wildflowers. During this Discovery Trek, enjoy a guided walk along the Kentucky River Palisades to view spring ephemeral wildflowers in bloom. You’ll see some of the ones above and even more!

Laura BairdAssistant Preserve Manager

Cocktail Recipe: Slowing Thyme

With just a few warm days around the Village, we’re quickly getting excited for spring. Spring means baby animals, goodies from the garden and fun, outdoor activities on The Preserve. Incorporating fresh garden ingredients into the menu goes farther than just the food. As often as possible, we try to use ingredients from the property in recipes for food and drinks served out of The Trustees’ Table and in onsite catering services. Here’s one recipe that you’ll find on our menu this spring:


Slowing Thyme Cocktail Recipe


  • 1.5 oz. Hendrick’s gin
  • .75 oz. St. Germaine liqueur
  • .5 oz. classic simple syrup
  • .75 oz. lime juice
  • 3 cucumber slices
  • 2 thyme sprigs


Muddle one thyme sprig with simple syrup and two cucumber slices.

Add to the rest of the ingredients and shake.

Serve in a highball or Collins glass.

Garnish with thyme and cucumber.


Music on the Lawn starts in May, but that doesn’t mean you have to wait until then to enjoy the patio and garden views. Grab a drink and a place by the firepit anytime of the year!

A.J. Gaidzik, The Trustees’ Table

A Giveaway You’ll Love…

Still hunting for that perfect Valentine’s Day gift? Enter to win two tickets to a Fresh Food Adventure at Shaker Village!

Growing up in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, Chef Bruce Ucán was exposed early on to the flavors and techniques of his family’s Mayan cooking. He came to the U.S. in 1987 where he cooked in several local restaurants in Louisville, Ky. Entrepreneurial in nature, Chef Ucán always wanted to own his own business and create his own food. In 1996, he started a food truck business, the Gypsy Van, that sold tacos, salbutes and tamales at farmer’s markets, construction sites and festivals. Just a year later, he opened a restaurant on East Market Street called the Mayan Gypsy, which he later transformed into the The Mayan Cafe, his current endeavor. There, he fuses traditional Mayan recipes and flavors with local, seasonal ingredients. He grew up eating the fruits and vegetables grown around him and is committed to sharing this philosophy for food with his customers.

Chef Ucán is taking over the Trustees’ Office on March 10! Join us as we celebrate the flavors and techniques of Mayan cooking. The event is also featuring Copper & Kings brandy. Limited tickets are available here.

Giveaway has ended. 

Giveaway valued at $200. Winner will be chosen at random and announced on February 19, 2018. 

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