Why You Need to Visit the Hancock Shaker Village

Located in nearby Pittsfield, MA, the Hancock Shaker Village is one of the region’s most popular historic sites. During the 18th century, it was home to a religious clan known as the Shakers, who arrived from Europe in search of a new life. At their village, they lived, worshiped, farmed the land, and celebrated life. During your stay with us at The Gateways Inn, we highly recommend a visit to the place that beautifully embodies early American history and culture.

If you enjoy your visit to the Hancock Shaker Village, you’ll love all the other local museums and activities we have listed in our free Vacation Guide! This handy planning tool is delivered straight to your inbox instantly and is filled with all the best recommendations for things to do during your vacation.

History of the Shakers

The roots of the Shakers can be found in Manchester, England. They called themselves the Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing, but earned the name “Shakers” due to the whirling and shaking they engaged in during ecstatic worship services. Although the Shakers were peaceful, believed in gender and racial equality, and a life of simplicity, they were often persecuted in their homeland. In 1774, the Shaker’s leader, Mother Ann, decided it was time to gather her followers and embark on a journey to the New World.

Months later, Mother Ann and her small group of converts arrived in New York harbor and made their first settlement near Watervliet. Throughout the years, the religion began to spread through New York and New England, expanding the network of believers. By the mid-19th century, the religious group grew to more than 4,000 followers, about 300 of which resided in the Hancock Village.

The Shakers are recognized as one of the most intriguing and long-lived religious movements in American history.  Out of the hundreds of communal groups that came to America searching for their utopia, the Shakers are considered to be the most successful.

Visiting the Hancock Shaker Village

Since 1959, the Hancock Shaker Village has served as a history museum with 20 authentic buildings, the most famous of which is the Round Stone Barn. Visitors will also be able to visit a working farm with heritage-breed animals, exhibits of extensive Shaker furniture and artifacts, and the popular Hancock Shaker Village store.

Tours

Your admission to the Hancock Shaker Village includes:

  • Guided tour of the Bricking Dwelling
  • Farm and Garden Tour
  • Demonstration of the Water-Powered Turbine
  • Live Shaker Music and Dance Performance
  • Craft and Trade Demonstrations
  • Access to Hiking Trails
  • Hands-on Activities for Visitors of All Ages
  • Indoor and Outdoor Picnic Areas

Please note from November 24th to December 17th, guided tours are only offered Saturday and Sunday at 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Special Events

Baby Animals on the Shaker Farm (April-May): When spring is afoot, so are the dozens of baby animals on the village farm. You will have the opportunity to meet young lambs, piglets, calves, goats, ducklings, and more during this special annual event.

Hancock Shaker Village Goat Yoga (July): If you’re a lover of yoga and goats, you’re in luck! This outdoor yoga session is open to all levels and allows visitors to unwind and relax in the company of the farm’s playful goats.

Hancock Shaker Village Country Fair (September): Visit the village during the fall season to celebrate the bountiful harvest! You’ll love the food truck rodeo, special farmer’s market, live music, and much more!

Uncover the Berkshires’ History During Your Stay at the Hancock Shaker Village

As a region rich in history, there is no place quite like the Berkshires to discover fascinating stories of New England. That’s why we invite you to experience it all at the Gateways Inn! Our Proctor mansion has an old-world feel and that will make you feel like you’ve stepped back in time. Each of our twelve impeccably decorated guest rooms features luxurious amenities including large brass or sleigh beds, fireplaces, private en-suite bathrooms, and much more. Don’t forget to take advantage of the award-winning restaurant and inviting lounge located right on-site!

Book your next getaway at The Gateways Inn & Restaurant today! We look forward to welcoming you to Lenox soon.

If you haven’t already, request your free copy of our Berkshires Vacation Guide for a full list of the best things to do during your trip!