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“Awesome Shaker Fair twice a year.”

Shaker Heritage Society
Ranked #22 of 67 things to do in Albany
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Site of the first Shaker community. Located adjacent to Albany International Airport, the historic site features nine Shaker buildings, an herb garden, apple orchard and cemetery where Shaker founder, Ann Lee is buried. The 1848 Shaker Meeting House contains a small museum and gift shop. Hiking trails are available at the adjacent Ann Lee Pond Wildlife Preserve.
Reviewed June 30, 2014

Twice yearly (July and September) the Heritage Society hosts a Shaker Fair at their Colonie location. There are the usual craft vendors and such and a small selection of food for purchase. While this isn't a fancy/huge fair, they do put together some lovely offerings and just strolling around the grounds is worth it. Awesome photo ops everywhere you look and very kid friendly to boot. Convenient parking right across the street. Definitely worth checking out.

2  Thank Sarah A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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33 - 37 of 48 reviews

Reviewed June 22, 2014

We came on a beautiful day in June 2014. While the outbuildings are somewhat ramshackle, the main building (meeting hall) with the museum was pretty well kept. The artifacts in the one-room museum were interesting and described well. We watched the video (about 15 minutes?) which was informative. The two highlights of our visit, though, were the staff and the herb garden. I fired questions at the gift shop clerk/hostess for about 45 minutes and she ably answered almost all of them, telling us about what life as a Shaker was like, how they managed their money, the rumors about their lifestyle, what the last living Shakers are like, and much more. This was both fun and informative, so if you like asking questions you can learn a lot. After the shop we picnicked on a bench in the herb garden, which had more than 40 varieties of herbs. The garden was well tended, and each herb had a little sign with its various names and medicinal uses. The herb garden was in full bloom, smelled great, and looked beautiful.

Overall: This was a fun visit for me and my wife, but was chiefly enjoyable because we are pretty curious people who can come up with a lot of rapid-fire questions. If you are not good at thinking of questions on the fly, think of some ahead of time!

If you don't like talking to people, you could do a "self-guided" tour and look at the signs on the buildings. However, I think I would give that portion 2.5 stars.

No fee, but recommended donation of $5 per person.

6  Thank J D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ShakerWV, Manager at Shaker Heritage Society, responded to this reviewResponded June 25, 2014

Thank you for your review! We are very glad that you enjoyed your visit. We also offer a mobile tour and augmented reality for smart phone users (includes photos, music, maps etc.) We will pass along your comments to our gift shop volunteer--our volunteers are GREAT!! You may want to check out our digital reconstruction of the historic site, which is on our website. It includes 3D models of all known structures that have existed within the historic site.

Albany County has owned the historic site since the Shakers left in 1925. In recent years, the Society obtained a long term lease that allowed us to secure funds to stabilize three of the nine Shaker buildings. The other buildings do need a great deal more work but many of them are not in our lease therefore we are not yet able to improve those structures. We are working closely with Albany County to revitalize the historic site so, please stop by again sometime to see what has been accomplished.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 13, 2014

I was with a friend on a mission to look for SNOWY OWLS near the Albany Airport. We just happened to see the Shaker Heritage Society and I suggested we drive in and just have a look at the old buildings. We were surprised to find that one building (the former meeting house) was open to the public. We went in and were greeted by a guide who had a lot of information about the site. I would have spent more time there, but there was a lot of snow on the ground and I didn't feel like walking in snow to get close to the other buildings. Maybe I will return someday

1  Thank JuneNY
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 7, 2014

Owned by Albany County and run by the Shaker Historical Society, this is the Mother Farm of the Shaker Movement in the United States, coming from the UK. Having said that, there has been little development on the part of the county and the Historical Society does what it can, but buildings are beginning to show wear. It is hoped that what the historical society does might truly help to preserve that the county owns.....

Thank pastorbob_12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 16, 2013

I've been interested in the Shakers since writing a research paper in high school MANY years ago. Glad to have finally visitied a Shaker site. Exhibit/museum was small but interesting. Hope they can raise the funds to expand and restore more buildings. Since the visit is free, be sure to support them with a donation! A literal minute from the airport, so no excuse not to visit either before or after your flight!

Thank dayhikers
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ShakerWV, Manager at Shaker Heritage Society, responded to this reviewResponded October 23, 2013

We are so glad that you enjoyed your visit. We are working closely with Albany County (which has owned the property since the Shakers left in 1925), to revitalize the historic site. You will be glad to know that we have plans for several building rehabilitation projects. We also have a digital reconstruction of the historic site called Virtual Watervliet that you can access via our webpage at http://shakerheritage.org/home/. It contains 3D models of all known buildings in the Church Family in addition to historic maps, photographs, biographies and music. Check it out when you get a chance! Thanks for visiting.

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