Sunday, February 24, 2013

Getting restless

As we head into the downside of winter, I'm feeling a need to hit the road. The days are getting longer and we're having more sun, yet the air remains chilled and the wind has sharp teeth. It's what they call "second winter" in the mountains of New Mexico. My thoughts, however, are jumping ahead to summer.

Not just summer, but to  the Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill. Since it originally was a religious community, let's start in the church or meeting house.

It's a large space with no interior supports to interfere with the movement of worshipers during their dances or marches. And the acoustics are unbelievable.

The Centre, or Church, Family dwelling is just across the road in front of the meeting house and serves as the major museum building on the site.

Step inside and you will be greeted by a tour guide who will give you an overview of the village and the museum. You are then free to wander about the three floors and basement at your own pace. There are always guides around to answer your questions.

The dwelling is essentially a large dormitory with its own kitchen, dining, and common areas. The photo above shows a typical "retiring room," or bedroom. At the height of the village, a room might sleep 3 to 5 Shakers. As membership declined, Believers eventually got their own rooms.

Unlike some Shaker museums, the items on display here are all authentic, Shaker-made antiques. You'll find no reproductions displayed here, although the lodging available to overnight guests has only reproductions, for obvious reasons.

Stairways flank the central hall on each floor. Women would have been restricted to using the one on the left; men would have been restricted to the one on the right. Although floors were coed, just like in college, the women's and men's retiring rooms are on opposite sides of the central hall.

The top floor was reserved for storage, here being cases for out-of-season clothing. Natural light illuminates the storage area.

I think it's time to get the calendar out and start planning a trip. Gotta find a cure for cabin fever.


  1. I have been to Pleasant Hill and it is such an intriguing place. I am also dreaming of warmer weather!

  2. Cabin fever, yes, I too feel some of that! So many wonderful places to explore. Thank goodness for blogs like yours to browse and occupy the dark evenings.

  3. We visited Pleasant Hill some years ago -- such beautiful architecture and furnishings!

  4. I’d give anything to be able to join you.

    I can’t remember the name of the Shaker village we visited on a trip of New England; it might even have been this one?