The Shaker Village in Canterbury, New Hampshire, is one of the few Shaker communities still open to visitors. The Shakers came to America from England in late 1774 and were part of the United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing.
Today, there are 25 original buildings, four reconstructed, and 694 acres of rolling pastures and gardens available to walk and learn. In 1969, the Shaker Village was established as a non-profit museum, and in 1993 it was declared a National Historic Landmark.
Tours, special events, exhibits, craft demonstrations, and the museum store shopping are a few of the ways you can learn more about the Shakers and enjoy the wonderful views. During the summer season, from Memorial Day to Labor Day, there is also a Café at the Horse Barn for lunch, dessert, and snacks.
Several sites, both authentic and modern, are available for rent to hold meetings, weddings, or private parties. This is how I came to be there last weekend because the NH Master Gardeners held a fall meeting there including a tour and a catered luncheon.
Doors? There were so many doors, my head was spinning. Almost every building had two doors because the sisters and brothers each had their own entrance. And for bonus shots – I saw one second floor door with no stairs, and an outhouse with two doors.
In 1850, there was a population of 300 in Canterbury. The only remaining active community now is in Sabbathday, Maine, with two residents, one brother and one sister.
Sabbathday Shaker Village covers 1800 acres, 17 historic structures and hosts special events such as the Maine Festival of American Music, nature hikes, Maine Farm Day, Apple Saturdays, Shaker Christmas Fair, and many Shaker inspired craft workshops throughout the year conducted by local Maine artists.
- They were first referred to as Quaking Shakers because they trembled during worship services
- They have believed in equality for men and women since the 1700’s
- They preferred rural communal living
- Favored simplicity in dress and speech
- Their largest population of 300 in Canterbury was in 1850
- Shakers were celibate and did not believe in procreation so they adopted children
- They were pacifists
- Canterbury Shakers patented a washing machine in 1876
Linked to Norm Frampton’s Thursday Doors, October 25, 2018