I recently completed an arrangement of a Shaker Revival Hymn entitled "Followers of the Lamb." I have grown fond of the Shaker history in many ways, because when I lived in Kentucky, I was only 20 miles or so from Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill, commonly referred to by the locals as "Shakertown." The village often hosted music festivals there in the community, and musicians loved to provide entertainment for visitors on weekends as well. I found myself on the campus of Shaker Village quite often, it seemed.
I enjoyed the fact that Shakers loved to cook and raise their own vegetables. There is a marvelous restaurant at Shaker Village that utilizes all of those fresh vegetables, and they are scrumptious. Those who waited tables were clothed in period dress, and the food was always excellent. It was impossible to have a meal at Shaker Village without ordering their famous Shaker Lemon Pie. It was sweet beyond belief, but somehow the crust allowed a person to eat an entire slice, regardless of the "lip pucker."
There were often lectures and demonstrations on site, as the Shakers were excellent, creative craftsmen when designing their most famous products...chairs, Shaker boxes, pottery, candles, candle holders, all sorts of woodwork and furniture, cloth pieces, brooms, etc. Fortunately, there is a wonderful gift shop where all things "Shaker" may be purchased. In short, Shaker Village tries to retain an authentic look at the Shaker lifestyle, while also moving forward in creating elegant representations of the period in history during which the Shakers were most prevalent. There seemed to be pride in many elements of the Shaker lifestyle and the products they produced, and it seems that the Board of Directors maintains that sense of uniqueness that draws thousands of visitors and tourists to the Village annually.
Having attended an overnight conference in the Village, I can tell you that "Simplicity" is a major focus of the Shaker community. In my hotel room, I think there was only one electrical outlet to be used for personal electrical gadgets (hairdryer, etc.). The hotel rooms were simple, simple, simple, and that was a bit too simple for my taste. However, it was indeed authentic. I managed my "Shaker life" for one night, and that, too, was a reminder to me that a person can live without perceived conveniences. It was an interesting trip.