Blog: Canterbury Shaker Village

by GSA Marty Wagner

No matter how many times I visit the Canterbury Shaker Village, I am always in awe of its beautiful old buildings and grounds, as well as the sense of peacefulness there. The Village is a National Historic Landmark of 25 original Shaker buildings, 4 reconstructed Shaker Buildings, and 694 acres of forests, fields and gardens often surrounded by white fences or wonderful old stone walls. The village dates back to 1792, the date of its meeting house which is central to the village.

On my recent visit there, I enjoyed wandering through the buildings on my own, and speaking to the various artisans who were there demonstrating everything from printing to rug hooking to weaving to pottery making. (Guided tours are also available.) There was also information about the making of Shaker furniture and boxes, which are sold right in the shop there.

The Shakers were totally self-sufficient as evidenced by the spin shop, carpenters shop, laundry, infirmary, school house, dress makers’ building, fire house and many other unique buildings. I learned, too, how efficient the Shakers were, often inventing something to make their work easier. I often recommend a visit to The Village when speaking with NH visitors, particularly in the Merrimack Valley and Lakes Regions. There’s so much to learn about the Shakers, and such an amazing, beautiful Village to explore and enjoy. There are also many traditional special events. Visit soon!