Exile #2 and I first came to the Capital District together for a visit just over five years ago in early March 2006. We stayed at The Desmond - a large and unusual hotel near the airport. While we were there we discovered that virtually next door to the hotel was a 'Shaker Site', having heard of Shaker-style furniture but knowing little else we thought little of it, but on a later trip we attempted to visit this 'site' but had trouble finding it.
It was a little over a year after we moved to the area before we moved our knowledge of the Shakers on with a visit to Hancock Shaker Village - just over the border in Massachusetts. One of the things we discovered there was that the original Shaker settlement had been near Albany in Watervliet, or possibly Niskayuna or perhaps Colonie (the names have changed meaning over the years).
It still didn't cross my mind that the local 'Shaker Site' by the airport was this place. But it is.
We went there this morning - spurred to finally find it by their 'Pottery Fest'. We had only E5N1 with us, the girls both being away from home on play-dates for that part of the day.
It is much more extensive than I had imagined - albeit nowhere near as developed as a museum as Hancock. Still, the two buildings that were in use today - a barn and the meeting house are rather impressive and the rest of the site is like a tiny bit of 18th Century country-living squeezed in between highways and runways on the edge of Albany.
There were demonstrations of throwing and glazing and firing and lots of pottery for sale and we took a few minutes to look in the exhibit room at some of the history of the site and the people who lived there. A fascinating piece of local history for sure.
These photographs and more are here.