Take 12 Trips 2015 December: Simple Gifts

I’ve completed the Take 12 Trips challenge! I’ll do a wrap-up post sometime soon (read: after finals unless I have a bout of procrastination and blog instead of study). Overall, pushing myself to go somewhere every month has been a great way for me to stop making excuses and visit places that have always been on my list. While some of the trips have been to far away places, the majority has been close by or right in Maine.

At any rate, the Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village piqued me interest some time back for being the only surviving Shaker community left in the world. Because of their vow of celibacy, people must convert to become a Shaker as nobody is born one. Thus, the community in New Gloucester is small but famous as it’s the last one remaining. The village is open to visitors throughout the summer, offering tours Monday through Saturday and welcoming guests to service on Sundays. This past weekend, though, they hosted a Christmas market, so Bailey, May, and I decided to go.

We were all expecting a quiet affair with a few booths inside a large space or outside, but we were struck by the claustrophobia of it. The market is housed inside their trustee office and store, and patrons visit on a mission. Being pushed and shoved into small spaces made it an overall less enjoyable experience, and I might’ve preferred visiting sometime over the summer for a regular visit instead of going for the annual, and apparently popular, market. That said, they sell a wealth of Shaker-made gifts for cheap, and there’s some great food as well. After having our fill of aggressive consumerism, we took a bag of oregano biscuits and some sharp cheddar outside for a picnic outside their barns. The village grounds are picturesque and worth seeing. As we ambled around we found some friendly sheep and rare, storybook ox. Overall, though the market was thrilling in an alternative Black Friday way, I’d recommend visiting during the summer in a more educational capacity, provided that you spend some time watching the sheep.

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