Per Nathaniel’s grandma’s recommendation, we made time to stop at the Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill near Lexington, KY. I’m glad we did because our time there was wonderful. We only had a couple hours, but we went on a self-guided tour of some of the incredible buildings and talked to people making rugs, wood crafts, potpourri, baskets, and brooms. It’s just a really beautiful place (Kentucky is so gorgeous and I’d love to go back, hopefully before the regional SPE conference in Louisville fall 2015).
When we first started our tour, we were told that the Shakers did not believe in physical touch and relied upon conversion and adoption to add members to their community. Men and women who ate in the same dining room sat on opposite sides and were not to speak to each other. Upon reaching age 21, children could choose to stay at Pleasant Hill or go. About a third stayed. The Shakers were extremely innovative and embraced technological advancements. Seeing the things they created, the tools they used, and a bit of what their lifestyle was like was really neat.