The Shaker Experience and an Artistic Endeavor

The Trustees Table restaurant at Shaker Village.

By Janice Carter Levitch

When I heard Susan Seiller, former owner of Jack Fry’s restaurant, was working her magic at Shaker Village, I knew it was time to hop in the car and see what all the hype was about. Susan (and everyone else I met there) welcomed me with open arms as I walked into The Trustees Table restaurant, her domain at Shaker Village. The menu is a delight, offering seed-to-table options and everything is from their garden located just beyond the dining room windows. Best of luck deciding where to begin should you decide to pay a visit.

Don’t worry about overeating; the property is designed so that you are inspired to walk about.

“It has been so rewarding to create, with chef Amber Hokams, a vision for our restaurant, which incorporates our beautiful, organic, one-and-a-half acre garden from which we create seasonal menus,” Susan commented. 

Chef Amber Hokams in the vegetable garden.

“Although we serve many Southern dishes, we have introduced other culinary elements to create new signature dishes. We are committed to locally-sourced meats and produce. Our guests can trust the integrity of what we serve as we continue to provide the hospitality for which the Shakers were known.”

Chef Amber Hokams is a force to be reckoned with as she makes daily selections from the garden for the menu. I was lucky enough to get an invite to step into the kitchen for a minute, snap a few pictures and take a walk in the garden with her. Amber said, “It’s a privilege to be the chef at a place that truly encompasses the concept of seed to table. It’s my desire to incorporate fresh ingredients into a menu which truly exemplifies the lifestyle Shakers lived by.”

Chief Marketing Officer Amy Bugg believes there is a peaceful yet transformative feeling about Shaker Village that’s impossible to put into words or translate through marketing images. “The best way to experience it is to spend the night here, walk the turnpike (the main gravel path that runs through the village) at dawn or dusk and soak in the sights and sounds of central Kentucky alongside the fireflies,” Amy said. “I promise you won’t be disappointed.”

Woodland Art Fair in Lexington. Art creations by Stacey Chinn.

She was right. It was magical and transformative for me, and for a while, the stress of life drifted away – especially after dinner. I strolled out onto the lawn, nestled into one of the Adirondack chairs surrounding the fire pit and listened to the music being played by local musician Nicholas Penn. I could’ve fallen asleep right there listening to the sounds of the night, but I was off to the comfy bed waiting for me in one of the cottages, located just a short walk down the turnpike.

The next morning, leaving Shaker Village was no easy task, as it offers such a reprieve from the busy life we all lead. But, I was off to the next adventure just down the road to the Woodlands Art Fair in Lexington. Artists from all over the country set up exhibits, and the people were from all walks of life. One exhibit caught my eye: jewelry by Stacey Chinn that incorporates elements found in nature. It was absolutely stunning, but I managed to escape without buying a thing, except a parking ticket in the nearby lot.

Whether you’re ready for summer to end or not, cooler temperatures are on the way. I for one am looking forward to wearing my sweaters and hopefully spending more time around the firepit at Shaker Village while I tap my toe

to the live music and find a little tranquility in central Kentucky. VT


Chef Amber Hokams and Susan Seiller in the flower garden.