Canterbury, New Hampshire

The torrential rains have disappeared, and the weather has rebounded to perfect blue skies and warm temps.  I’ve left Vermont and am spending time in southern New Hampshire. First stop was the Shaker Village at Canterbury. Unlike the Shaker Village in Enfield, this one was open, and in a lot better shape.

Over the years I’ve been to five different Shaker Villages, all of which are now museums.  Their philosophy had one major flaw – no sex, hence no children.  The communities died out when they could no longer recruit new members.

Of all the ones I’ve visited, the Shaker Village at Pleasant Hill in Kentucky is by far the most beautiful and they give fabulous tours.  I also stayed overnight and ate dinner there, which was a wonderful experience.

All Shaker villages share a single characteristic—they are peaceful. In Canterbury the grounds are open to the public, though to see inside the buildings you must take a tour.  I opted to just walk around and take in the serenity. Mid-day there were almost no other people and apart from birdsong and insect buzzing it was absolutely quiet. I sat on a chair under a tree and read for about an hour, inhaling the scent of apples and freshly cut grass.

What I found surprising, but realized was true of every village I’ve seen, there were almost no flowers. All the community’s efforts went into food and useful plants rather than beautiful ones.

One major change from the days the Shakers lived there—some of the areas are protected by electrified fences. I accidentally touched one and got quite a shock.  I’m sure it’s effective in keeping out wild animals, but not at all in keeping with the previous inhabitants.