November Road Trip: From Shaker To Shaker

Follow the Shakers, whose outstanding craftsmanship inspires a little early holiday gift shopping, stopping for some sightseeing along the scenic route that connects their two New Hampshire villages.

Begin in Canterbury, at Canterbury Shaker Village, open Friday-Sunday through December 7. Along with the homes and workshops of the Shaker brothers and sisters, the village has special holiday programs (December 6-7 includes an artisans marketplace and gingerbread showcase) and an outstanding shop featuring handcrafted wooden boxes, baskets, brooms, soaps and peg rails, as well as books about the Shakers and their crafts. The Shaker Table Restaurant is open Monday-Saturday for lunch from 11:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. and for Sunday brunch from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Drive south (left) from the village, turning right toward Canterbury Center, perhaps with a stop at the community-owned Canterbury Country Store. Turn left on Route 132 and head south to the intersection with Route 4 at I-93 exit 17. Follow Route 4 west through Boscawen and Salisbury. In Andover, where Route 4 joins briefly with Route 11, quilting enthusiasts will want to look for The Constant Quilter at the corner of Pancake Road.

In Potter Place, a charming ensemble of buildings preserved by the Andover Historical Society include the Emons Store and Post Office and Potter Place Station, listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The museum is closed after October, but you can look into the stationmaster’s office, and see the Northern Railroad Caboose and Snow Plow outside.

Route 4-A goes to the right, but a short detour straight on Route 11 leads to Elkins, and La Meridiana Restaurant, where Italian-born Chef Piero Canuto creates lunch and dinner from locally grown ingredients. Return to the junction with Route 4-A, looking for the Cilleyville Covered Bridge, an 1887 town lattice truss bridge over Pleasant Brook. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Follow Route 4-A northwest through Wilmot and Enfield Center. The road borders Mascoma Lake, and on the right you will see the six-story granite Great Stone Dwelling, the largest Shaker dwelling house ever constructed. Inside, the Enfield Shaker Museum tells the story of the village and the work of the people who lived there through furniture, tools, clothing, photographs and farm implements.

The gift shop showcases the work of local craftsmen who create authentic Shaker-style crafts, including oval boxes, wooden boxes and trays, baskets, tins of Shaker herbs and drying racks, hand-woven table linens, tinware, candles and pottery. The village, which was at its height in the mid-19th century, is on the National Register of Historic Places as a Historic Village.

Route 4-A rejoins Route 4 in Mascoma, continuing on to Lebanon. Before reaching the Common, look for AVA Gallery, where the works of New Hampshire artists are featured in changing exhibitions.

Follow Route 120 to Hanover, a good place to let Shakers inspire you to search out contemporary artists and craftspeople at the League of New Hampshire Craftsmen gallery. From handmade jewelry and wearable art to metalwork and furniture, the gallery provides a chance to shop for one-of-a-kind gifts.

While in town, stop at the Hood Museum of Art or to admire the murals by José Clemente Orozco in the ground floor of the Baker Library at Dartmouth.

Length of trip: About 70 miles