The Road Less Traveled

The last activity for our group was a guided tour at Hancock Shaker Village this morning at 11am. We had a leisurely breakfast, with plenty of time to pack and to charge the car to 100% before following the bus to the village. I’d never been to a Shaker Village before, and it was fascinating.

There are no Shakers left at Hancock Shaker Village any more, but our guide was well-versed in their history and some of their religion. We walked past the garden tool shed on our way to the Brick Dwelling (their names are accurate, if not poetic) where the members of the community lived.

I was taken by the clean lines and functionality of everything we saw; it was modern, minimalist, and functional, and beautiful.

Our next stop was the Round Stone Barn. Hay was brought into the barn on the top level; animals were on the bottom level; gravity brought the two together. The hay was put into the chute in the second photo to dry; our guide said that the volume of water vapor coming out of the chute was enough to let someone wash their hands in it!

They still raise animals at the Village, but now interns take care of them instead of initiates. :-)

The Meeting House was across Route 20; we admired it from a distance.

The guide took us into the Laundry and Machine Shop and showed us the water-driven machines; he even used the power saw to cut a piece of wood.

The Sisters did the laundry (of course) using water power to agitate and tumble the clothes. When it came time to iron, they heated the irons in this oven and used old grave markers as ironing boards!

We said goodbye to our group and headed for the Sheraton at Bradley International Airport. I had thought about visiting ARRL Headquarters, but Diane wasn’t thrilled, so I suggested a trip to the Berkshire Botanical Garden instead. We did get to see some ham radio gear and antennas anyway – we found ourselves behind this car on the way to the gardens.

The gardens were beautiful and restful; not everything was in bloom, but there was enough to make the detour well worthwhile.

I didn’t want to take the Mass Pike (mostly because Hertz would have charged us $7 in “convenience fees” atop the $2 in tolls), so we took back roads (mostly Massachusetts 57). It was pretty and very lightly trafficked. There weren’t many places to stop along the way, but we found Gran-Val Scoop, complete with petting zoo (we just looked at the animals, including the llama at the top of the page). The ice cream was good, too!

The rest of the drive to the airport was easy; I was pleasantly surprised to find that I’d only used 22% of the battery, even though I’d driven 82 miles today, which is a third of the range the car claimed to have when I left the hotel. That meant I didn’t have to pay $35 to have Hertz refill the car – I guess it paid to take the back way!