Surrounded by the picturesque Berkshire Hills, Hancock Shaker Village located in Pittsfield, Massachusetts is an indoor/ outdoor museum holding a wide range of demonstrations and exhibits showing the Shaker lifestyle and beliefs.
It took us a short drive from the town of Lenox where we were staying to reach the grounds of the Village where we enjoyed a stroll around the farm which grows vegetables, fruits and herbs and has a fully functioning life stock farm. Our little one was mesmerized by all the animals roaming the grounds and while running around happily between all the little paths in the vegetable garden we got to sit and enjoy the breathtaking views of the surrounding Shire.
The Hancock Shaker Village offers a wide variety of hands on activities. The Village’s 750 acres provide a delightful outdoor classroom and lots of fresh air! Our little explorer thoroughly enjoyed the 1910 Discovery Barn where he got to spin wool, “construct” a Shaker chair and weave on a loom that was sized just for him. He got to watch people cooking inside the rooms like they did back in the old days, watched a man weave Shaker baskets and even got dressed in the Shaker style clothes that were available for the kids and adults to try on.
The Village consists of approximately a dozen buildings, many of these include live demonstrations of everyday tasks and have the instruments, utensils and tools on display that were used by the Shakers. The staff was very friendly and informative about the Shakers daily lives and gave us a good insight into the their way of life and their somewhat unusual lifestyle.
We would highly suggest planning to spend the entire day here. There is so much to see and do. The garden and Barn alone would take you half a day in-between reading all the information on the signs, informative exhibits and taking part in the activities. The rest of the day you can spend inside all the buildings exploring the rooms and watching the videos available describing the life of the Shakers.
The Shakers are one of the most intriguing religious movements in American history and considered among the most successful Utopian societies ever to have flourished in this country. There are no Shakers living in The Village today although they do still exist in other communities around the country. If you are interested in reading more about the fascinating history of the Hancock Shaker Village you can find additional information here .
You will receive a little brochure upon arriving at the Village with information on a little hike you can take around the village. We highly recommend it. It is so peaceful and tranquil and the views are spectacular. Pack a picnic. There is a cafe on the premises where you can find drinks and sandwiches but we personalty enjoyed sitting on the picnic benches and just breathing the fresh air while enjoying our lunch and watching our little one take his wild imagination into great heights.
If you decide to plan your visit to the Village there is an entrance fee of 20$ per adults, $8 for kids 13-17 and kids under 12 are free. Their hours are:
Through October 27: Open daily, 10 am-5 pm
October 28-November 11: Open daily, 10 am-4 pm
November 16-December 22: Open weekends only, 10 am-4 pm (exceptions: open Fridays, November 29 and December 6)
Big Chill: February 16, 11 am-5 pm
They reopen for our spring season Saturday, April 11
And you can find them here: