Hancock Shaker Village

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Hancock Shaker Village

There is classic "Old School" -- think Run DMC bustin' out "My Adidas" and then there is authentic old school – think the traditional one room schoolhouse at Hancock Shaker Village in Pittsfield, Mass. "That's 225 years of old school!" exclaimed Hancock Shaker Village CEO Ellen Spear. It takes a village -- about 750 acres worth, to experience the world of the Shakers, the communal utopian society who settled in this Berkshire town in the mid 1700's. Spear offered a brief history of the Shakers, who were founded by a woman named Mother Ann Lee from Manchester, England. Spear said, "they were an offshoot of the Quakers and they got their name from the ecstatic way they worshipped - they shook the devil away and shook off their sins". Spear added, "they were a group of people who lived a principled life and the kinds of things we're interested in the 21st century -- land stewardship, sustainability, and building community."

Among the eighteen buildings on site, children flock to the "Discovery Room" where they can look the part, and dress in the traditional Shaker garb. Perhaps, the centerpiece of the village is the Round Stone Barn, an architectural icon built in 1826 where kids, young and old, can get up close and personal with all kinds of baby animals -- lambs, piglets, chicks, who are raised on the farm. The Shakers were renowned oval box makers and renowned for thinking outside the box, evident when you visit the machine room which runs by hydro power built in 1858.

This year the village is celebrating its 50th year as an attraction where they are continuing to take minimalism to the max. Spear said, "this is the kind of place where kids and families come to absorb a really peaceful, unplugged way of learning together -- so it's a place where the whole family can learn together while they're having fun."

Hancock Shaker Village is about an hour and 40 minute drive from Hartford. Adult tickets are $17, Teens are $8 and kids 12 and under are free. For more information click on www.hancockshakervillage.org

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