An Illuminated Village

If you’ve ever been to Shaker Village after sunset, you know it gets dark. Really dark. While we relish in that peaceful darkness most of the year, we take advantage of the holiday season to highlight this already beautiful property. The holidays at Shaker Village mean all hands on deck for decorating trees, stringing twinkle lights, wrapping fresh greenery in red ribbons to make fragrant swags and more. All of our elves… er, employees jump in and lend a hand in making our site shine bright for the month of December. Seeing the Village lit up at night is definitely a different experience and is bound to ignite some holiday spirit within you!

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The Water House

The Meeting House

Sunset in the Village

The Turnpike

The Entrance

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The Meeting House at Sunset

Old Stone Shop

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Join us around the fire pits this weekend as we celebrate our last Illuminated Evenings of the season! Make time to delight in life’s simple gifts with family and friends, as lively music, merriment and candlelight illuminate the Village! Stop by the Elf Shop, take a ride on the Jingle Bell Shuttle, enjoy special holiday music in The Meeting House and more.

Admission for ages 6 and up is $5. Children 5 and under are FREE!  Learn more.

Opulent Okra

As fall rapidly approaches, the summer stalwarts of the garden often choose to go out with a bang. Tomatoes ripen at twice the rate of past weeks, as do the peppers. No crop displays this late season grandeur more dramatically than okra. This rarely recognized, often misunderstood plant thrives during summer’s most relentless heat more so than all the rest and likewise is the first to show signs of the cooler nights. This is the time it’s been waiting for—as have we.

okra

The magnificent flowers that precede the okra pods last longer into the day, thanks to the cooler weather, and are perhaps the most striking flowers to grow in the garden all year. Closely related to hibiscus, they put on quite a show, perched atop 6-ft. plants and producing new flowers at break-neck pace. What comes next are the fruits, which seem to grow at twice the rate the flowers do. Often three harvests per week is not enough to stay on top of the onslaught. By now, we’ve used the pods for nearly everything we can think of, and large pots of gumbo seem increasingly appropriate as we begin to add layers of clothing in the evenings.

Throughout the season, some of the pods just slip past us. Mortal gardeners are rarely able to get them all before they go tough and so they accumulate. These striped and dried oddities—often in excess of 8 inches—will have other novel uses. The seeds rattle more as the pods dry out, making them a fine choice for Halloween garlands. The choicest of these, however, have an even deeper purpose—to ensure the next generation. We’ve been saving our own okra seeds for three years now, and each year our plants grow more accustomed to our soils and our practices—and perhaps, even to us. Soon these plants will be at the mercy of winter, an ordeal they will not survive, but they’ve made it easy for us to ensure we’ll be enjoying them for years to come.


The Trustees’ Table is making okra soup, sautéing it with fresh tomatoes as a side dish and pickling it to serve in relish bowls. The next time you join us for a meal, ask about the okra and tell ’em Dylan sent ya!


Dylan Kennedy is the farm manager. An avid mountain biker and traveler, he has farmed as far and wide as…

Hair-raising History

spirit-stroll

Tales of lunacy, danger, persecution, brawls and even death were recorded in harrowing detail by the Pleasant Hill Shakers throughout their time here. Some of the most spellbinding accounts were communicated to living Shakers by the deceased. That’s right—messages from the dead. These other-world connections were shared by “inspired instruments” who relayed messages from the departed in the form of letters.

This spectral activity is just one of many expressions of spiritualism which swept through Shaker communities from the late 1830s until the mid-1850s. Amongst the Shakers, this period was known as the Era of Manifestations; however this spiritual swell preluded, and briefly corresponded with, an even larger movement of spiritualism which captivated the nation with claims of spirit communication until the 1920s.

So while you won’t find ghastly ghost tours at Shaker Village, we think you’ll find something far more gripping and mystical—the spirit of the Shakers. Take a lantern-led Spirit Stroll every Friday and Saturday night through October and discover the spirit of the Shakers for yourself!