Between 1805 and 1910 some 3,000 acres of land past winding roads and surrounded by magical ancient lime stone fences was home to the third largest Shaker community. You can do a variety of stuff at the village, even stay at the Inn which is about 13 different restored Shaker buildings. (About $110 per night) There’s tons of stuff to do, plenty of space to explore and lots to learn at the Shaker Village. A popular thing to do is to join one of their daily river boat rides which are approximately $10 for a ride from 3-4 along the river. It’s a one hour narrated tour that sells out incredibly fast. We arrived at the Shaker Village early in the morning in order to reserve some seats and found it already fully booked.
The shaker village also offers kayaking, trails, horseback riding, birding, a chance to see native prariers, a working farm where the food goes to the restaurants or to try during one of their farm tastings, Shaker music, history and more. We ended up spending our late afternoon/evening at the Shaker village and it was right about then that I felt all of my traveling hit and ended up sinking into one of the benches along one of their streets in just utter exhaustion. The Shaker Village was peaceful and calm, children playing in the trees and families dining outside of the restaurant, a horse drawn carriage or two going by.
The Shakers are (there are still a few existing to this day, in Maine I believe) a celibate religious community. The ones at Pleasant hill were farmers, architects, and inventors who promoted education and took people in who needed it and promoted equality. One of the only daily adventures I went to was their music one where we got to listen to a women sing Shaker songs at the Meeting House, sometimes written and composed by the dead and transcribed by the living and were told about their religious activities and how they interacted with the world. Plus the young woman who sang for us had a lovely voice that reverberated off the walls that gave me chills.
Other than shops and walking through the rather huge Center family dwelling, the only other place we visited was their farm. We had to make our way passed a rather stunningly beautiful wedding/wedding photos of some of the children guests in fairy wings and flowers. We wanted to see the Timber frame barn which is the only surviving shaker built barn and has been standing since 1830.
The Shaker’s of Pleasant Hill is open from Sunday through Thursday from 10 through 5pm and Friday and Saturday’s from 10am until 8pm for $10 admission with additional fees for certain things you may want to do like the boat ride. I wouldn’t mind going back, especially on a cooler day to see more or even to go hiking. The grounds also includes a restaurant that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, and nearby is a place for you to refill your water bottle.