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Shaking it up…

Canterbury Shaker Village was the destination yesterday.  I was so distracted by the dramatic sky that I didn’t spend a lot of time wishing for a prettier day.  Well, when it was raining on us and we were taking shelter under a crab apple tree I may have wished for a better day.  But the porcupine in the tree was kind of fun, but he just plain wouldn’t say cheese so I don’t have his picture.  And we munched on huckleberries that were growing on the apple tree like a trellis, so it wasn’t all bad.  A sprinkle here and there was as bad as it got.

We took the guided tour of the village and that was well worth it.  The volunteer guide was terrific, and it was quite amazing to hear of the accomplishments and work ethic of the Shakers.  I was lamenting that I had been so distracted by the dramatic sky, which doesn’t always translate into great pictures, that I didn’t think I had taken any interior pictures.  Thankfully there were a few.

Shakerorgan
The organ was purchsed for use during their raucous prayer meetings, but it was too tall and they debated whether to raise the roof or drop the floor.  As you see they dropped the floor, because raising the roof would have cost them dormitory space above the meeting home. 
Shakerouthouse
This is a three hole outhouse.  Using an outhouse seems bad enough, but using it three at a time really boggles the mind.

The rest of these are just the grounds of the village.  The members lived in dormitories.  They were issued 120 garments each upon their arrival in the village.  These were their only possessions.  Their laundry facility was amazing.  The Shakers invented the first washing machines and sold them to hotels and hospitals around the world.  The garments were washed, dried, folded, and returned to the proper person by a system of baskets.  They were delivered by the children of the village, to the proper building, identified by letter, room number, closet or drawer number, and the initials of the owner.  Very efficient.

And if you are paying attention you may be wondering how a religious community that practiced celibacy managed to have children on the premises.  Shakers took in orphans and educated them as well as trained them in trades.  They were not automatically considered Shakers, because the belief was that you couldn’t make a decision as important as that one until the age of reason, age 17 – 21.  The more I learned about this group the more I admired their practices.  Each person worked at a job to benefit the whole, in 30 day shifts, and everyone rotated through every job required.  In that way no one was stuck in the less pleasant jobs and these rules applied to everyone, including the elders of the village.  The guide didn’t elaborate on the perceived benefits of celibacy, we’ll all have to ponder that one…Shakerouthouse2Shakerouthouse3ShakerredbuildingShakerredbuilding2shakersculptureShakersistersshopShakerskyShakersky2ShakerfeatureShakerdoorShaker1

2 thoughts on “Shaking it up…”

  1. We live near Sabbathday Shaker Village, the last active Shaker village in the country, which was established in the late 18th century at the height of the Shaker movement. We visited when they had their annual open house this year. There were animals grazing in the pasture and lots of sale items, i.e. jams & jellies, herbs, cheeses and hand-crafted items. Christmas is also a wonderful time to visit since there is a lot of hand-made gift items and decorations. Since there ‘may’ be 1-2 Shakers left (celibacy has its price), I’m thinking the items are probably made by a group of volunteers who keep the place going. To learn more, key ‘Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village’ in Facebook’s search bar. Enjoyed your article on Canterbury Village. 😉 P.S. I think you should consider writing a book at some point discussing the logistics of your trip and the places you visited along with your photos. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I wish I would approach things more seriously/scientifically and take notes so I could remember details better. I always feel as if I have to hurry to take my pictures as if it’s all about to go up in a puff of smoke. I need to relax and enjoy it.

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