Hancock Shaker Village

The Berkshires

This evocative museum illustrates the lives of the religious sect that founded the village in 1783. The Shakers believed in communal ownership, the sanctity of work and celibacy, the latter of which proved to be their demise. Known as the City of Peace, the village was occupied by Shakers until 1960. At its peak in 1830, the community numbered some 300 members.

Twenty of the original buildings have been restored and are open to view, most famously the Round Stone Barn (1826). You're free to wander about on your own, watch demonstrations of Shaker crafts and hike up to Mt Sinai where the Shakers went to meditate. Seeds Market Cafe serves Shaker-inspired meals and snacks made with fresh produce from the onsite heirloom vegetable and herb gardens. The village is 5 miles west of Pittsfield, just off US 20.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby The Berkshires attractions

1. Pleasant Valley Wilderness Sanctuary

3.86 MILES

This 1300-acre wildlife sanctuary has 7 miles of pleasant walking trails through forests and meadows, as well as a challenging hike to the summit of Lenox…

2. Berkshire Museum

4.53 MILES

This museum hosts some worthwhile temporary exhibitions and also displays a rotating permanent collection of international artworks and artifacts, many of…

3. Berkshire Scenic Railway Museum

7.34 MILES

This museum of railroad lore is set up in Lenox's 1903 vintage railroad station. Its model-railroad display is a favorite with kids, as is the chance to…

4. Mount

7.45 MILES

Almost 50 years after Nathaniel Hawthorne left his home in Lenox, another writer found inspiration in the Berkshires. Edith Wharton (1862–1937) came to…

5. October Mountain State Forest

8.27 MILES

Most out-of-towners head to Mt Greylock, and leave October Mountain State Forest to the locals. This 16,500-acre state park is the largest tract of green…

6. Crane Museum of Papermaking

8.68 MILES

Since 1879 every single American bill has been printed on paper made by the Crane Company, based in the small mill town of Dalton. The Crane Museum of…

7. Naumkeag

9.77 MILES

Designed by the renowned architect Stanford White in 1885, this 44-room Gilded Age 'cottage' was the summer retreat of Joseph Hodges Choate, a former US…

8. Norman Rockwell Museum

9.83 MILES

Born in New York City, Norman Rockwell (1894–1978) sold his first magazine cover illustration to the Saturday Evening Post in 1916. In the following half…