Beautiful Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill nestled in the heart of the Bluegrass has a very Shire-like setting as well as a calm about it not found often these days. Originally a Shaker community, it has been refurbished almost from the brink of decay and ruin back to its original glory. The original inhabitants, the Shakers, were a religious community with very strict ideals. They are gone now, but the buildings remain, and only costumed actors play the part of Shakers today. This popular tourist attraction is run as the Shakers would have lived, and is a working farming community that produces such goods as wool, herbs and corn brooms. It is the ideal setting for a Tolkien event and many of the hobbits may well blend in nicely with the surroundings.
There is a deep sense of history one gets as you walk through the halls and paths about the village, and you can imagine what it might have been like to have lived back more than one hundred years ago. In reading and watching the Lord of the Rings, I realized that as far as Hobbits are concerned, there was very little difference in the way they and people in the 1700 – 1800’s might have lived, with the exception of a few minor inventions ~ some good and some not so good.
Shaker Village is located in Mercer County, which is in the rolling hills of central Kentucky. If you journey eight miles to the south, you come upon the small town of Harrodsburg ~ founded in 1774 and the first white settlement west of the Allegheny Mountains. 30 miles on the road to the north takes you to Lexington, the largest city in central Kentucky, which also has an airport that we will be offering shuttle bus services to and from Shaker Village.
For more on Shaker Village, visit here:
For the majority of the weekend, your feet will be all you need to get around, for most of the events takes place within the village and surrounding countryside, but we do offer services for the longer journeys:We will be offering a bus to shuttle folk to and from the airport for those of you who choose to fly in to the Blue Grass airport. The shuttle bus schedule will be:
* Note that this schedule is subject to change depending on arrival times of attendees flights.
This will be a fully catered event and all catered meals are covered in your ticket price, which will save you hobbits much on the spending of food. For menu options, go to the Menu Page here.
Shaker Village does offer fine dining however, and the Trustees' Office Dining Room is famous for its fine food and atmosphere and draws people and celebrities from all over the world. For more on the Trustees' Office Dining Room, click here. Also, there is a snack bar located in the Post office (Craft store) next to the Trustees’ Office.
* Neither the Trustees' Office Dining Room or the Snack Bar purchases are covered in your ticket prices
I would like to take a moment to comment on the rooms at Shaker Village. Having been a long-time fan of the fantasy genre, I can honestly say that the guest rooms are a perfect blend of old-world charm and modern convenience. If you’ve ever wondered what it might have been like to travel to Bree and get lodging for the night, wonder no more.
The rooms are much like when the Shakers lived there, although there are power outlets, phones, heating/cooling and adjoining bathrooms, which the Shakers unfortunately did not have, you still get the experience of what life was like many, many years ago. This, to me is an experience in and of itself, as is the rest of the village, for this is no set but the real thing, and the real world with all its cares and worries are easily forgotten.
To see what rooms Shaker Village offers, see here.
Present at any Shire or Village set in Middle-Earth is a pub or Tavern. The Green Dragon can be found in the basement of the West Family Dwelling building. With its low ceiling, heavy wooden beams, stone walls and flat rock steps that lead down to the common room from the surface, this many chambered room will indeed make you feel as if you’ve stepped right into the midst of a fantasy tavern filled with all manner of folk from the four corners of the Shire and beyond.
Drink, eat and swap rumors with others or sneak off to darkened corner to contemplate the day while you listen to actual bards playing a tune or telling a good tale, illuminated by the flickering candlelight.
The Green Dragon will serve as a location for lunches and perhaps a concert or two by the local bards. In off hours it will be a place where folk can gather and relax or talk, play games, meet for the next adventure, or step outside and have a fill of pipe-weed with the local wizard. No longer will you have to imagine what it was like in the Inns and Taverns that once dotted the landscape, for many long years from now you will be able to think back on your visit to the Green Dragon when it was filled with Hobbits, Elves, mysterious rangers from out of the wild, and know that once, if but for a short time, you were there ~ not a claim that many can make these days.
The Green Dragon cannot seat all of us at once, so be kind to your fellow village-folk and try not to dwell too long after you have finished eating so that others can eat too.
Still under construction, but due to be completed in the fall of 2007, the Event barn will serve our party well for many events and meals, for ours will be a larger group than the village is used to having. Inside, it will have walls and floors, heating, cooling and restrooms, and really not look much like a barn at all, for those of you who might be wondering.
The main role of the Event Barn will be to serve for the Friday night Hall of Fire, for at that time in this vast chamber with its cathedral-like ceilings will gather a great host of Elves as well as other folk. So great is the interior of this structure that it will also serve as an emergency location for Bilbo’s party should rain or foul weather instigate such unfortunate circumstances.
Sitting nearby is the Tower of Orthanc, which at the last telling, folk would be able to ascend to the top and take in a grand view of the surrounding lay of the landscape for many miles, but this has yet to come to pass. On a clear day it is said from such a height, one might glimpse the tower of Barad-dur from afar.
The village of Hobbiton lies to the west, if you bothered to check your maps, but Bilbo & Frodo are keeping this a closely guarded secret so the Birthday Party on the night of the 27th will be a surprise. The road to Hobbiton from the village is a dangerous and long one for the unwary traveler, and there are tales of trolls that have been seen wandering about the forest, and some believe there may be a troll cave somewhere about.
There have also been rumors of a strange being roaming the countryside; it is said to be a ghost that is wary and has skill climbing trees. The Woodmen of the forest said that it even steals infants from their cradles and the elves tell that they have never seen a creature like it before.
Once in Hobbiton, however, feel free to explore in safety, as the Shirriffs guard the borders. So do Rangers, though this is little known by most Hobbits. You can visit Ted Sandyman's washhouse, hike one of the many trails, or drop by Bag End and visit with Bilbo, if he will see you. For that day he will be preoccupied with preparing for the party, and may have little time for visitors.
For the hearty adventurer, you can take a path that goes east and winds down into the river valley, coming at last to the banks of the Brandywine River (or Kentucky river, as some local Hobbits call it).
At one time, there were many buildings along the river built by the Shakers, but today only a few remain. The landing, however, is used to this day by boaters and river cruises depart from there daily.
There are many scenic trails along the river and many caves to be discovered for those who search long enough. The highest railroad bridge in the state spans the river near the landing, but is forbidden to walk across for obvious reasons.
There are many curious ruins strewn about the land surrounding Shaker Village that reflect the mighty colony it once was. Little is known of these ruins or what the original structure was supposed to have been. Perhaps someone at the village would know something of this.
They do make for an interesting landscape and are interesting to investigate, but if you do - be careful! Many of the stones are loose and may fall, weakened no doubt by exposure to many hundred winters. Near one of the ruins is an old well ~ little more than a large hole in the ground, but it would be quite a drop for the unwary Hobbit explorer.
In the towns surrounding Shaker Village, it is common knowledge among folk that it is haunted, and that it has always been so. There have always been stories both old and new passed around and almost everyone local knows someone who has experienced something supernatural while at Shaker Village.
One comfort is that most of the ghosts seem to conduct themselves like they did while they were Shakers ~ if the ghost was a Shaker originally, that is. Some of the hauntings in some of the buildings are so common that a book is left out so that visitors can write down their experience, and there is always the cemetery to think about.
A good book on this is: Shaker Ghost Stories from Pleasant Hill, Kentucky
by Thomas Freese, if you have an interest. Also, look here.