NEW GLOUCESTER, Maine - As the holiday shopping season cranks into gear, you couldn't get much farther from a big-box store than Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village, which holds its annual Christmas Fair on Saturday.
All manner of mostly handmade goods will fill nine rooms of the 1816 Trustees Office and the adjacent Merry Christmas garage. "We call it that because it has a green roof and red walls," says Leonard Brooks, Shaker Library director.
The Shaker bakers have been hard at work making cookies, fruit cakes, and breads. Brooks says that the most popular items are the "biscuits still warm from the oven." Other edibles will include homemade pickles and local cheese.
Sabbathday Lake is the last active Shaker community in the country, and its residents produce many of the goods for the fair, including oval boxes, sewn and knit clothing, artfully designed stationery, and books. They also make dried herb and evergreen wreaths.
Proceeds from the white elephant room, stocked with donations from the surrounding area, support the Shakers' Christmas outreach to needy families.
"We always put 'Come one, come all' on our publicity - and they do," Brooks says. Visitors are welcome to return on Sunday at 10 a.m. for Shaker Meeting in the chapel of the Dwelling House.
Shaker Christmas Fair, Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village, 707 Shaker Road, New Gloucester, Maine, Dec. 1 10 a.m.-3 p.m. 207-926-4597, shaker.lib.me.us. Free. Directions: The Shaker village is 130 miles, or about 2 1/2 hours from Boston. Take Interstate 95 north to Maine exit 63 in Gray. Turn right at the toll booth. At traffic light in Gray Center, turn left onto Route 26 north, then left again at the second light to follow Route 26 north approximately 8 miles to the village.