Berkshires: Hancock Shaker Villiage

All this rain lately may be very spring-like, but it isn’t making me feel like I want to go frolic outside with the tulips. One surefire way to get in the spring spirit is to go visit the baby animals at Hancock Shaker Village (and learn some interesting shaker history as well!). Oh, and you can do it for FREE with an Albany Public Library museum pass.


A quick and scenic ride over the Massachusetts border into the Berkshires will land you back in time to an old (living museum) Shaker settlement. Walking in you will notice something that is anything but ancient, a solar panel farm!


Loved seeing the Shakers progress with the times. You may remember learning about them in high school, the Shakers are a religious group that came from England in the 1700s led by their spiritual leader Mother Ann Lee. You may remember them for their celibacy, their shaking movements during worship, or their nice furniture.


You will notice their beautiful buildings, especially the round stone barn. I remember them most of all for a personal reason, my interaction with their baby animals, so I head directly to that barn. I think visiting baby animals here is the best for many reasons. Besides merely SEEING super cute furry baby animals, you are allowed to get right in that pen and pet the animals, and no one is going to say a word. 


I pet calves, kids, and had the most phenomenal experience holding a lamb. She was so sweet and warm!


The only animals you are not supposed to pet are the piglets, because their 300lb mother will destroy you.


When you have had your fix seeing baby animals make sure you enter the other buildings and learn about the history of the shakers. It is really fascinating, and you might get lucky enough to learn a thing or two from their knowledgeable guides. 


Take a look at broom making, furniture making, see a water turbine in action, there are many buildings to enter and explore.


The grounds of the museum are lovely, and a perfect place to have a picnic if you bring a snack. If you didn’t pack a snack, they have a café and SoCo Creamery ice cream which is truly delicious! Their shop is real fun to look in, you might meet a cool chick in there 


Or find a new hat!


This is a great place to come and learn about history/oogle over baby animals, no matter what your age. Just be aware that there will be hordes of children, and be patient. If you aren’t completely tuckered out, you may want to use the rest of your day explore the Berkshires, it is a wonderful area with a lot to offer.


I highly recommend visiting the museum, and this is your last weekend to visit the baby animals!

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