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Town of the Week: New Lebanon

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Mount Lebanon Shaker Society, New Lebanon

What first drew our attention to the small Columbia County town of New Lebanon was the Shaker Museum, located within the Mount Lebanon Shaker Society, pictured above. The Shakers were an interesting bunch, after all, with their gender-egalitarian societal structure, their propensity for celibacy, and, of course, their love to shaking a tail feather for God (the Shakers embraced dancing, unlike many of their other Protestant brethren). Now, there are hardly any Shakers left, but the museum in New Lebanon holds a wealth of their history and examples of their well-known simple, sturdy design sensibilities.

Those sensibilities can be seen in many of the houses and historical structures still standing around New Lebanon, a town with just a hair over 2,000 residents as of the 2010 census. Located in the northeastern corner of Columbia County, right on the Massachusetts border, New Lebanon is also a sleepy place, without a ton of businesses and no real walkable village or city center. There are, however, some worthwhile old buildings, and you’ll see some pretty scenery as you travel up East Street/Route 22. The Darrow School, once a men-only educational center and now a co-ed boarding school, is situated in town and is part of the designated National Historic Landmark that includes other Shaker structures. New Lebanon isn’t only know as a Shaker settlement; it’s also home to a Sufi retreat center called the Abode of the Message, which was founded in 1975 by Vilayat Inayat Khan. Fascinating stuff.

The Shaker Barn, on the Abode Main Campus.

The Shaker Barn on the Abode Main Campus.

We were pleasantly surprised by the real estate offerings we found in New Lebanon. Not only did we find a nice mix of houses, including a few old Shaker-styles, the prices were quite reasonable. But New Lebanon is country territory, to be sure, although it is only about 11 miles outside of Pittsfield, MA. There’s a small handful of million dollar properties on the market, but most of the inventory is priced in the $300s and $200s.

New Lebanon holds a large outdoor flea market from March to October every year, and they have a farmer’s market. They had us at “large outdoor flea market”.

New Lebanon is located in approximately 30 minutes from Albany and 2 hours, 25 minutes from NYC.

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Category: upstate new york

By: kandyharris | 23 December 2013 09:30 AM | No Comments

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