Day 14, October 24, 2003: Greenfield, MA to Wilkes-Barre, PA

A leisurely late start to a cool clear day but I managed to make it to my first stop at Hancock Shaker Village by 9:30. This one, like Canterbury yesterday, changes its operations during the off season and only offers guided tours. Not really what I wanted but one takes what one can get. Fortunately, unlike yesterday, this museum has a more enlightened viewpoint on photography and allowed me to snap to my heart's content. Since the furniture and artifact collection here is especially fine I went a bit crazy and made a lot of images. A couple of pieces of furniture here are justifiably famous for their elegant lines and proportions. The table pictured at the bottom of the page is one that has been widely emulated.

No mention of Hancock would be complete without including the round stone barn which still stands. The barn was the most important fixture in the Hancock Shaker's dairy operation and is a real tribute to their creativity. The barn was, in essence, a machine finely tuned to allow the efficient feeding and milking of the maximum number of cows by the minimum number of workers and underwent numerous changes over its working life as conditions changed and new laborsaving ideas were added.

Since it lay only a few miles down the road, albeit in a different state, I decided to a very quick peek at the New Lebanon Shaker Village. They had closed for the season on the day I set out on my trip so there was no way that I could get inside for a look. This is doubly true since many of the buildings had been bought and were in active use by a private prep school and they don't seem the sort that would welcome scruffy looking tourists with open arms. I snapped a few pictures of some building exteriors and called it quits. Two buildings are of special interest. One is the meeting house which has a rather unusual curved roof. The other is the North Family's great stone barn which exists now minus interior structure and a roof. I believe that there are plans afoot to restore that building and it should be an amazing sight when complete.

I set off by the fastest route determined to make as many miles toward home as I could before it got too late. Nightfall found me in a motel in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. And that friends, is that. I managed to travel the intended route to the planned destination and then managed to visit all the intended sites on the way back home except for Enfield. I'm tired, the car is dirty and is starting to smell a bit, and I just want to go home and get back to normal whatever that might be.

This is the last of the "On the Edge — Redux" pages. On October 25th I stopped at my mother's home at the opposite corner of Pennsylvania to say hello and deliver some of the cheese stash. On October 26th I finally headed home to Tennessee to recover. Total mileage for the 16-day drive: 4662. It seems likely that this will be the last of these trips unless true madness strikes and I suddenly decided that life will not be complete unless I drive the entire northern border of the USA to "close the loop"...


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