A couple of weeks ago, Cami and I had a chance to stay at Shaker Village at Pleasant Hill, near Harrodsburg KY. This was actually my second visit; Cami had seen my photos from the first trip and really wanted to visit -- she was particularly enthusiastic about the opportunity to visit with the farm animals. Since we needed to be in the Lexington / Springfield area to ferry Cass back and forth between State FFA Convention and Academic Team camp, I made reservations for the two of us.
This first batch of photos shows Cami enjoying our tour of the buildings and the farm. It was a weekday, so the place wasn't busy at all, and the weather was nice enough that we weren't too hot either. We got to spend as much time in the buildings as we wanted, moving from room to room, exploring all the little details -- and believe me, Cami did not want to bypass anything. She looked in every little nook and cranny. She was really attentive during the conversations with the actors, even if she was a bit shy with some of them. She tried to talk me into buying a broom, and if we'd had more room, I might have done so -- they were like everything else the Shakers made: simple, functional, and beautiful.
Cami couldn't wait to get to the barn, and we spent quite a while with the goats, the sheep (many of whom had just delivered lambs over the past couple of weeks), and a friendly barn cat. Her favorite, though, was Blue, one of four large Percherons that an extremely nice farmhand brought up to the fence for Cami to pet. I think she could've spent the entire day perched on that fence, scratching Blue between the ears and just talking to her about whatever popped into her head.
We couldn't spend all day doing that, though, because we had a boat to catch. I bought tickets for a paddleboat ride down the Kentucky River on the Dixie Bell, which left from Shaker Landing -- which was located at the bottom of an extremely narrow, winding road along the edge of a cliff. Really nerve-wracking, especially since I was in Chris's big Dodge Durango. But we made it to the bottom and enjoyed a really nice ride down the river. We spotted turtles, great blue herons, woodducks, and garr floating in the shady upper layers of the river.
Since Shaker Village is located near Lexington, the University of Kentucky has done a lot of restoration work to the habitat surrounding the village. There are miles of trails to hike, and most of it is through grassy hills that are filled with native plants. Above is just a sampling of the various flowers that we found growing just along one trail. My favorite is that huge dandelion-type thing in the top corner. I dont know what it is, but it is the size of an adult's closed fist. I just think it is beautiful.
After our visit to Shaker Village, we stopped in Harrodsburg at Fort Harrod, which was the first permanent settlement in what would become the Commonwealth of Kentucky. The fort contained a number of buildings, with actors inside, all of whom were willing to talk to us as long as we wanted -- it was great to just have these long rambling conversations with them about all kinds of details in the settlement and surrounding area. Since Cami just finished fourth grade, which is Kentucky history in social studies, she knew a lot about the settlement so she really enjoyed it. Of course, she could have spent all day just climbing the huge Osage Orange tree located just outside the settlement. It's the largest in the United States, but can't claim the title because it has a split trunk -- so it's considered the "unofficial champion" according to the sign.