NewEnglandTravelPlanner.com Logo   Sabbathday Lake, Maine
The last operating Shaker village in the USA is now a museum of Shaker life, work and belief.
 
 

 

Thirty miles (48 km) north of Portland along ME Route 26 is the settlement of Sabbathday Lake, in New Gloucester ME (map), the last active, living Shaker religious community in the country.

Founded in the 1700s, the Sabbathday Lake community still has a handful of active members who continue to work and live in the Shaker tradition.

Six of the community's 18 buildings are open to the public daily from 10 am to 4:30 pm EST (closed Sunday) from Memorial Day to Columbus Day, including a Museum Reception Center, the Shaker Museum, and a shop selling community products.

Guided tours (for a fee) show you the village and introduce you to Shaker beliefs, traditions and history. Tours depart about every hour.

The spare white buildings of the Sabbathday Lake village are plain but extremely well kept. Most notable are the brick Dwelling House. and the 1794 Meetinghouse.

In the fields near the village are several small, simple cemeteries, each with only one monument, bearing the legend "Shakers" and the dates of interment.

(For comparison, see Hancock Shaker Village near Pittsfield MA in the Berkshire Hills of western Massachusetts, and Canterbury Shaker village near Concord, New Hampshire.)

See this Sabbathday Lake web page for more, or write to the community:

The Shaker Society
707 Shaker Road
New Gloucester, ME 04260 (map)

Up the road a few miles is the village of Poland Spring, which gained fame in the 1800s when a man was miraculously cured by its waters. The water from the spring has been bottled and shipped throughout the country since that time. Several hotels here cater to those "taking the waters."

Continue north on ME Route 26 and you'll soon come to Bethel, one of the prettiest towns in Maine, right at the edge of the White Mountains and a vast national forest, and next to Sunday River ski resort, one of the most popular Maine ski resorts.

—by Tom Brosnahan



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