July 1: Plenty of history, including a Shaker village and Kentucky’s state capital

This morning I drove eight miles up the road to Pleasant Hill Shaker Village. Most of the Shakers, a 19th-century religious sect who most people know of because a) they were celibate, b) they danced as part of their worship services, well, and c) for the style of furniture named after them, lived in communal villages in New England, but a few of them ventured as far south as Kentucky, where Pleasant Hill was their longest-lived community.

It’s a pretty place. Peaceful. Very bucolic. And the museum in the main house (they lived in what were basically dormitories) was fascinating, with a few surprises.

I've heard these called Rose of Sharon, and I've heard them called rose mallow. At any rate, they look like they're related to tropical hibiscus, and this particular one was next to the parking lot at Pleasant Hill.
I’ve heard these called Rose of Sharon, and I’ve heard them called rose mallow. At any rate, they look like they’re related to tropical hibiscus, and this particular one was next to the parking lot at Pleasant Hill.  ETA:  I am informed (thanks, Katrina!) that it’s Rose of Sharon, and that rose mallow is same genus, different species.  
The main house at Pleasant Hill, which was used as a dormitory, and is now the museum.
The main house at Pleasant Hill, which was used as a dormitory, and is now the museum.  The outside walls are solid limestone three feet thick, and the inside walls are two feet thick.
The downstairs hall of the main house, complete with grandfather clock. The men lived on the left, and the women on the right. Or maybe vice versa.
The downstairs hall of the main house, complete with grandfather clock. The men lived on the left, and the women on the right. Or maybe vice versa.
An antique crockpot [g].
An antique crockpot [g].
An odd thing to find here, but apparently sometime in the middle of the 19th century, some of the Shakers were digging for one reason or another and found the skull of a mammoth. This is not the one they found, because it's been lost, but there was a whole room about it.
An odd thing to find here, but apparently sometime in the middle of the 19th century, some of the Shakers were digging for one reason or another and found the skull of a mammoth. This is not the one they found, because it’s been lost, but there was a whole room about it.
Some of the gorgeous antique furniture in the museum. Shaker style has always been my favorite. I have reproduction Shaker in my living room (when it's not in storage).
Some of the gorgeous antique furniture in the museum. Shaker style has always been my favorite. I have reproduction Shaker in my living room (when it’s not in storage).
This handsome gentleman was snoozing on one of the buildings. He was so indolent (or used to affectionate tourists) that he could barely be bothered to purr when I petted him.
This handsome gentleman was snoozing on one of the buildings. He was so indolent (or used to affectionate tourists) that he could barely be bothered to purr when I petted him.

I also got to listen to and watch a demonstration of Shaker songs and dancing.  The lady who sang had a gorgeous voice.  I did try to record with my new camera, but I can’t figure out how to make a proper clip out of it or how to post it here.  If I do figure it out, I’ll post it on Facebook.

I ate a picnic lunch there, then drove on what William Least Heat Moon would have deemed the bluest of blue highways (except that on AAA maps, which are my standby, they’re black, not blue), winding sharply down through the hills to the Kentucky River and back up to the city of Frankfort, which is the capital of Kentucky.

The Kentucky River, which flows into the Ohio, then the Mississippi, and into the Gulf of Mexico, eventually.
The Kentucky River, which flows into the Ohio, then the Mississippi, and into the Gulf of Mexico, eventually.

I was on my way to another museum. I like state history museums, as you know from my visit to the one belonging to Kansas a couple of weeks ago, and I figured this one was far enough east to have a different take on things than that one did. Which was true. And here’s some photographic proof of that.

This exhibit panel in the Kentucky History Museum reminded me of Bujold's Sharing Knife books, for some odd reason [g].
This exhibit panel in the Kentucky History Museum reminded me of Bujold’s Sharing Knife books, for some odd reason [g].
A fiddle made out of a gourd. I'd never seen anything like that before.
A fiddle made out of a gourd. I’d never seen anything like that before.
This was just cool. And more Lincoln, of course.
This was just cool. And more Lincoln, of course.
Eep.
Eep.

After that, I put another thirty or so miles of Interstate on Merlin’s odometer (which is now at over 6000 miles — over 5000 since I left home — of which less than 300 have been on Interstate), because that can be the easiest way to find an inexpensive motel. I’m on the outskirts of Lexington tonight, on this first night of the Fourth of July weekend, with traffic to get here to match.

Tomorrow I’m headed for the Cumberland Gap, where Kentucky, Virginia, and Tennessee meet. It’s one of those places that’s always been on my mental list, because of the history that took place there, from the early days of settlement up through the Civil War.

Then it’s on to North Carolina, and Mary (CatMtn) and my best friend’s granddaughter. And we’ll see what happens after that!