Scenic Drives - Canterbury Shaker Tour

Canterbury Shaker Tour

DISTANCE: 12 miles
HIGHLIGHTS: An Historic Shaker Village, Rural Farmland, Forests, Wetlands, and a Colonial Village Green.

Take a look back into the ways of a traditional Shaker society in this well-preserved village. Shakers embraced a life of celibacy, hard work and confession as the means to redemption, and the “Shaking Quakers” unique style of worship and communal lifestyle set them apart from traditional society of the time. Their extraordinary craftsmanship and ingenuity remain as legacies to this day.

Canterbury Shaker Village, a National Historic Landmark, is located only 20 minutes from Concord, New Hampshire’s State Capital. Between 1780 and 1990 over 2,300 Shaker men, women and children lived and worked here. In the 1850s, at the height of the Shaker movement when there were 19 American Shaker communities, the Canterbury Shakers owned 4,000 acres including over 100 buildings. Thanks to the foresight of Elress Bertha Linday (who died in 1990), the site has been incorporated as a nonprofit museum and educational institution.

Photo Credit: Canterbury Shaker Village

Photo Credit: Canterbury Shaker Village

Today the 694 acre Canterbury Shaker Village offers 75 minute tours that provide visitors with a glimpse into the lives, times and values of the Shakers. You can visit 25 original Shaker buildings spanning 200 years of their history or stop in the museum shop where traditional Shaker crafts are offered for sale. Also take a walk on the nature trails through the woodlands to ponds, mills and dams or investigate the Physician’s Botanical Garden. Sugar maples planted by the Shakers along Meetinghouse Lane inside the Village and along the perimeter of Shaker Road offer spectacular color for foliage season. Other highlights along this short route include views of conservation areas, open marshes and access to Hutchins Forest (maintained by the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests).

Local cultural features along the byway include stonewalls, cemeteries, pre-revolutionary homes and other attractions. Canterbury’s village center, while not part of the Shaker community, has striking visual simplicity with its 1736 Town Hall, Canterbury United Community Church, the country store, gazebo and public library.

SPECIAL CONSIDERATIONS: Canterbury Shaker Village is open seasonally. May – November. Check www.shakers.org for specific times and rates. 

CONTACT: Canterbury Shaker Village (603) 783-9511 or www.shakers.org. Lakes Region Association, 603-286-8008 or www.lakesregion.org

SPECIAL THANKS TO: NH Office of State Planning, Scenic and Cultural Byways Program 2 1/2 Beacon Street, Concord, NH 03301 (603) 271-2155 www.state.nh.us/osp/scenicbyways.htm

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