Sabbathday Lake
  Shaker Village
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Name:            Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village

Address:        707 Shaker Road

                       New Gloucester, Maine  04260

Phone:            207-926-4597

Office Email:


Friends of the Shakers Website:


Products and Services:

-Shaker Store

-Shaker crafts

-Shaker Museum Tours

-Shaker Village Tours

-Shaker Library

-Shaker Sunday service open to the public

-Herb Catalog and Herb Internships

-Shaker Village Nature Hikes

-Special Events and Workshops

What Makes the Sabbathday Lake Shaker

Village Farm So Unique?

Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village is truly a treasure.  It is the only active Shaker community that exists in the world today.  It is a peaceful community that has lived in harmony with the land and supported an agrarian lifestyle since it was founded in New Gloucester in 1783.

Situated on 1800 acres of land, it remains a working farm.  It is home to an apple orchard, tree farm, vegetable gardens, a commercial herb garden, hay fields, and pastures.  Some of the traditional Shaker pastimes are still carried out on the farm such as basket making, weaving, printing, and various handcrafts. At the present time, a flock of sheep, four Scottish Highlander cattle, and three pigs are being raised by the

Sabbathday Lake community.

Long ago the Shakers developed a reputation for their efficient and productive farming practices.  They were founded as a peace-loving self-sufficient community based on common religious beliefs.  They were progressive in many ways with their assertion of the equality of the sexes, their communal lifestyle, their openness in welcoming those in need, and their embracing of inventions and technology.

The New Gloucester settlement cared for a dairy herd, sheep, chickens, pigs, turkeys, and draft horses when their thriving community was home to approximately two hundred individuals in the 1800’s.  There was a gristmill, a sawmill, several barns, a spinhouse, a herb house and a hothouse where seedlings and flowers were raised. Extensive gardens and an orchard abundant with a variety of apples graced the property.  The community was recognized for its knowledge of medicinal and culinary herbs and its collection of seeds.  Plum, peach, and cherry trees were grown, as well as asparagus and strawberries.

Draft horses were utilized on the New Gloucester farm through the 1950’s.  According to Leonard Brooks, the Director of the Shaker Library, the Shakers at Sabbathday Lake are credited with improving the efficiency of the horse-drawn Maine mower and also in improving the design of a heavy-duty collar for the draft horses.

The Shakers that lived in the various rural communities in our country have always been innovative in regard to farm developments.  They have been credited with inventing or improving the stove, clothes pins, an apple peeler, the butter churn, the broom, washing machine, circular saw, and pens.

Keeping up with all the farm chores translated into busy days for the New Gloucester community.  The Elders worked in the fields. Various crops such as potatoes, corn, grains, and squash needed to be planted, weeded, and harvested.  Apples, pears, grapes, and small fruits were grown.

Wood needed to be harvested and milled. Farm tools and equipment required maintenance and the eighteen buildings needed upkeep. At times when there were not sufficient Shakers available to complete all the work, men were hired to help with the logging and the sawmill and the field work.

The Eldresses at Sabbathday Lake focused on spinning, weaving, cooking, cleaning, washing, canning, and baking.  They helped with the apple production and harvested herbs and sold them.  Some of the fancy goods that they made included poplarware boxes, oval sewing carriers, cloaks, dusters, and fans made from turkey feathers.

When the village was heavily populated, a variety of farm animals provided food for various markets and for the Shaker community.  Tending to the livestock was a time consuming. Cows needed to be milked twice a day. Eggs needed to be collected. The cattle, pigs, horses, turkeys, chickens, and sheep needed to be fed.

A flock of sheep still can be viewed on the grounds of the Shaker Village in New Gloucester. Brother Arnold Hadd explained that many of the sheep that they presently care for were dropped off at the farm over the years because the animals were in need of a home.

Back in the 1780‘s, sheep grazed in the same Shaker pastures that they do today in New Gloucester. Each spring, the sheep were sheared and their raw fleeces were brought to the Spin House where twigs and grass were removed from the wool in a process called “skirting.”  The wool was then sorted according to its quality, length, or color, before it was washed.

On Saturday, August 3, 2013, Sandy Dzyak and Janet Cameron will lead a special free craft demonstration focusing on the story of wool at Sabbathday Lake.  Topics such as skirting, sorting, scouring, dyeing, carding, spinning, and weaving will be covered. Visitors will be able to view antique and modern fiber arts equipment.  They will also be able to make a stop in the Shaker Store where yarn and knitted goods are available for sale.

Apples have always figured predominantly in the Shaker community.  Fresh apples were in demand for the market and the Shakers processed the apples to make and sell applesauce and cider. Apple bees were held in the evenings at which apples were cut and dried for winter storage. The apple orchard is still flourishing at Sabbathday Lake.  An arrangement has been made with the Maine Apple Company to maintain the orchard.  The Shakers still sell Cortland, Macintosh, and Honey Crisp apples during the fall.  Apple Saturdays are held on Saturdays in September through Columbus Day and freshly-picked apples are sold on the Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village lawn.  There is free cider pressing with a hand press.  Visitors can bring their own apples to be pressed or they can buy Shaker apples at the Shaker Store.

While the Shakers used to harvest wood from

the 1800-acre property, woodlot management is now in the hands of a forester.  Growing herbs at Sabbathday Lake has long been a tradition and the New Gloucester community has received national recognition for the herbs that they grow and the workshops that they conduct.

Betsey-Ann Golon, the owner of Common Folk Farm in Naples, is the herbalist at the Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village.  She manages the herb gardens and leads guided tours of the Shaker Herb Garden on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 2:15 p.m. in June, July, and August.  Herb workshops are conducted on such topics as Herb Garden Design for the Everyday Cook; Shaker Verse and Pressed Botanical Design; Lavender in the Kitchen; and Heirloom Herbal Wreath and Ornaments.

A Sabbathday Lake Herb Garden Internship program is available for those interested in learning more about herb gardening, herb lore, and creative herb uses.  Participants can come

once a week on either Tuesdays or Thursdays

or on both days if there is a desire.  Morning sessions start at 9 a.m. with work in the gardens, a lunch break at the Girls’ Shop, and then a return to the gardens or the Herb Room until 2 p.m. On May 28 or May 30, 2013, a garden and a history tour will be conducted for newcomers.  Reservations are required.  Interns will start on June 4, 2013. For information about the free internship program contact Betsey-Ann Golon at 207-787-2764 or Lenny Brooks at 207-926-4597.

Individuals interested in purchasing some of the

Shakers’ herbal products should check out their

extensive online catalog.  The Sabbathday Lake Shakers sell specialty spice mixes such as mulled cider mix, apple pie spice, and pumpkin pie spice.  Their new Shaker herb mixes include Pizza Pizazz, Quick Chicken Supper, Quick Chowder Mix, Quick Spaghetti Supper, and Vegetable Dress-Up. 

The Shakers also carry a wide selection of culinary herbs.  Their culinary offerings include basil, Bouquet Garni, celery leaves, chervil, dill, dill dip, Egyptian mint, Fines Herbes, Herbal Bouquet, Herbes de Provence Rub, Italian seasoning, marigold, marjoram, oregano, Original Shaker Pork Rub, parsley, poultry seasoning, rosemary, sage, salad seasoning, savory, soup seasoning, tarragon, and thyme. 

Shaker rose water and Shaker mint water are two of their unique herbal products. Their Shaker herbal teas include a choice of catnip, chamomile, herbal blend, horehound, lavender, lemon balm, lemon verbena, mint blend, minty balm, rose hips, peppermint, and spearmint.  They also offer an 1858 recipe of Eldress Hester Ann Adams potpourri that can be used as a room or drawer freshener.  Their balsam fir pillows have proven to be a popular item.

There are several farm-related activities that are

offered at the Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village on Saturdays during the summer and fall.  The R&R Spinners will demonstrate their craft on several Saturdays in 2013.  Tim Greene, a master blacksmith, will showcase his skills on two different Saturdays. Debbie McBride will share tips on how to can jam and Connie Fletcher will provide information on rug hooking. Marje Thompson will demonstrate weaving on October 12, 2013.  On the same day, a chapter of The Embroiderers’ Guild of America will demonstrate the craft of embroidery.

On specific Saturdays, workshops are offered in such traditional crafts as making a floorcloth; caning a chair; creating calligraphic note cards;

Shaker tape weaving; building a Shaker-style dovetailed carrier; quilting a paper pieced cardinal pillow; creating a floral print book with gel prints and haiku; and quilting a table runner.

Several Working with Wood workshops are offered at the Sabbathday Lake community in 2013.  On July 6, there will be an opportunity to assemble and paint a Shaker-style herb cabinet.  Beginner’s Woodworking is offered on July 20.  The proper layout procedures, techniques, and tricks to constructing dovetails will be shared at an August 3 workshop.  The Intermediate Woodcarving workshop takes place on August 17, and Building a Shaker Style Dovetailed Carrier is scheduled for August 24.

Twice a month on specific Saturdays, two-and-a-half hour nature hikes are offered on the Shaker grounds either in the morning (10 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.) or afternoon (1:30 - 4:30 p.m.)  by trained naturalists, Carol Beyna and Margi Huber.  On these hikes, visitors can enjoy exploring the Shaker fields and forests.  One of the destinations of these three-mile loop walks is Loon’s Point on Sabbathday Lake.  There is also a visit to Aurelia’s Cascade.  Part of the hike is through the woods and some of it covers the old County Road.  Pre-registration for the walks is required.

On Maine Open Farm Day, Sunday, July 21, 2013, there will be free wagon rides around the grounds and free barn tours.  Visitors can enjoy viewing the Scottish Highlanders cattle and many breeds of sheep and several varieties of cats.  There will be free tours of the 1816 Spinhouse exhibit and the 1850’s Boys’ Shop.  Free craft demonstrations and free Shaker Garden tours are being planned.  There will be a bake sale and a barbecue meal. Admission to the Open Farm Day is free.

Some of the other special events offered at Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village each year include the Shape Note Sing Along, the Maine Native American Summer Market and Demonstration; the Maine Festival of American Music: Its Roots and Traditions; and the Shaker Christmas Fair.

Besides being located in an idyllic setting, the

farm that is operated by the Sabbathday Lake Shakers provides some very special aspects.

For visitors who schedule a tour or attend one

of the workshops there is a wealth of knowledge that can be acquired.  Various exhibits provide interesting stories and photos. (Present exhibits include information about “The Lives and Leadership of Elder William Dumont and Eldress Lizzie Noyes.”) History buffs will relish in viewing various artifacts in the Shaker Museum. Music lovers are treated to special classes and concerts.  The gift shop abounds with a selection of unique and one-of-a-kind items.

For those interested in experiencing a view of the spiritual essence of the Sabbathday Lake Shaker community, Sunday meetings at 10 a.m. are open to the public.  The Friends of the Shakers offer several opportunities to become involved in helping out.  Their efforts have aided in protecting the Shaker land from development.  Members of their group have helped with renovations; raised funds; conducted work days in the spring and fall; and fostered an interest in the Shakers and Shakerism.

So farm enthusiasts, be sure to include

a visit to Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village on your farm touring agenda. Farming is still alive and well at this last active Shaker community.  It is a place that is permeated by a sense of history and serenity.  In a world often full of distractions and haste, Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village offers some strikingly beautiful surroundings that invite visitors to slow down and enjoy a sense of quiet, reflection, and respect.

Brother Arnold Hadd

Collection of the United Society of Shakers -    

            Sabbathday Lake, Maine

photo courtesy of Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village’s website


Michael Graham

Brother Arnold Hadd

Jacob Bergeron

Brother Arnold Hadd

Brother Arnold Hadd

Michael Graham

Calendar of EventsShaker_Calendar_of_Events.htmlShaker_Calendar_of_Events.htmlshapeimage_4_link_0
Cattle & PigsShaker_Cattle_%26_Pigs.html
Shaker Barn & HayingShaker_Barn.html