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A Quick Stroll Through a Shaker Village
Canterbury, NH

Shaker Meeting, 1895 And then there were none . The last time we visited the Shaker village museum just outside Concord, NH, Sister Ethel was in her 90s. The last of the New Hampshire Shakers, she still signed autographs, greeted children and offered tour information. Now she is gone and the campus seems just a little emptier.

Started in 1776, this English religious sect grew to nearly 6,000 United States members by theCivil War, in rural settings around the nation. Many villages survive as museums today (see links below).  Officially they were known as the United Society of Believers in Christ's Second Appearing. The frenetic dances in their religious meetings led to the name Shaker.  The Canterbury Village with 25 original buildings has been preserved as a nonprofit agency and working farm. Today, the simple functional lines of Shaker furniture and tools and architecture are a highly popular design motif.

The Shaker story -- one of deep religious conviction, hard work, striving toward quality and a strict separation of the sexes -- remains fascinating today. And the best place to learn the story is on a guided tour of the Shaker Village. Elements of functional Shaker design are everywhere, and visitors can wander through the rooms and fields where the members of the community lived.

Concord, NH is just an hour from Seacoast, NH, and Canterbury Village is another 10 miles up Rte 95. There's also a superb gift shop with a small museum display upstairs, a restaurant and frequent events on the campus of the beautiful 200-year old New England farm. In fall the sugar maples light up with color. But it's hard to take a bad photo -- in any season -- of this quiet, and now ghostly little village.  - JDR

Shaker Village

Shaker Village

Shaker Village

Shaker Village

Shaker Village

Shaker Village

Shaker Village

Shaker Village

Visit the Canterbury Shaker Village web site (press BACK to return)

Other Shaker Villages (press BACK)
- Hancock Shake Village, Pittsfield, MA
- Pleasant Hill, Harrodsburg, KY
- Sabbathday Lake, New Gloucester, ME
- Enfield Museum, Enfiled, NH
- Mount Lebanon, NY
- Shaker Museum & Library, Chatham, NY
- Shaker Museum, South Union, KY
-Watervliet Shaker Village, OH

Photos by J. Dennis Robinson
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