A Trip to Hancock Shaker Village

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Last week, I headed to the Berkshires with my colleague, Justin, for the day.  We had planned to come upon some future story ideas, get to know the area a little better, and have a bit of fun in the process.

Among the stops we squeezed into the long day was Hancock Shaker Village in Pittsfield (http://www.hancockshakervillage.org/), and none too soon since the historic grounds are set to close for the season on October 30th.  The Shaker’s called this community “The City of Peace” and it was easy to see why. The grounds are picturesque.  Everything is so tidy here – from the gardens to the design of the village itself, to the well-maintained buildings, each with its own specific purpose.  Yes, a lovely and instructive place to stroll around on a fine fall day.

But, the inherent peacefulness of the place was disturbed as we approached the Round Stone Barn.  Such a cacophony was arising from the place, we were left to wonder whether something violent was going on inside. To our relief, it was simply feeding time, and an adorable tribe of piglets were carrying on like ill-behaved children, as if making all that commotion would enable their caregiver to move more swiftly in preparing their grub.

As the barn worker continued to quickly move about the place, doling out the food, the barn began to quiet to a dull munching sound.  Peace reigned once more.

Outside the barn, the turkeys were the next to see tending.  As the barn hand entered the right side of their housing, the turkeys politely waddled their way into a line and proceeded to enter the same structure from the left – a little parade of poultry. Surely this same routine occurs each day, but the efficiency with which this particular bunch lined up, and the orderly manner in which they proceeded into their housing was impressive.  Could these be special Shaker turkeys, more inclined to pacifism and perfection than most?

The day was winding down and we began the drive back. We had managed to fill our time here with stops at historic places, charming villages, and amusing farm animals. Good Yankee day.



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