After the frigid air on top of Mt. Greylock, we were happy to spend the rest of day 4 of the Berkshire vacation down on the valley floor. Having heard wonderful things about the authentic and fully restored village of the Shakers… we headed there.
We were also starving, so we were glad to find they had a cafe on site.
It was a cute little place called Seeds, with all the food being organic and locally sourced. Many of the fruits and vegetables from the farm itself.
The seats were handmade, traditionally Shaker in style and surprisingly comfortable.
The menu was a little kale and quinoa heavy for my taste…
But the sandwiches were tasty and the salads crisp and fresh.
Thus fortified, we entered the village.
It’s a large lovely place, full of history and tours we didn’t have the time to take.
A little background:
Hancock was the third among the nineteen major Shaker communities established between 1783 and 1836 in New York, New England, Kentucky, Ohio and Indiana.
The Shaker population reached its peak in the mid-19th century, with an estimated 4,000 to 5,000 members. More than 300 Shakers lived at Hancock during it’s peak. Today, the Shakers only remain active at Sabbathday Lake in Maine, with two Believers.
The Shakers are a religion of friends, and do not engage in sex.
Not too hard to imagine why the idea died out.
This was a beautiful place to tour….
With the dominant feature being the amazing circular stone barn.
The community was entirely self sufficient, and the first building we entered was the big red one in the back.
Laundry was a bit more labor intensive in those days….
And the husband was all for getting me one of these.
That contraption was for heating the irons, with the table behind being the board.
The entire community took meals together, so the kitchen was impressive.
And like most of the village, the pieces are an antique collector’s dream.
Yes, the husband was drooling.
There was a room for everything.
And it was all efficiently laid out.
Simple, quality workmanship.
The buildings were well crafted, filled with natural light and beyond solid.
Apparently the Shaker women were fanatical house cleaners, sweeping and scrubbing nonstop.
But hey, they were celibate.
What else were they gonna do?