Travel: The Shopping Forecast: Journey to the Source No 11: Shaker crafts

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The Independent Culture
Apparently, the Madchester scene started a long time before the late Eighties and the Happy Mondays. In 1774, eight Mancunian Shakers (the nickname comes from the trembling and shaking they performed at Quaker meetings) arrived in North America in search of somewhere to practice their virtuous religious beliefs; common property, celibacy, sexual equality and pacificism among other things. By the 1830s, 19 Shaker communities had been established throughout the United States and the functional goods that they designed and produced soon got a name for quality. Sadly - thanks at least in part to their commitment to celibacy - Shaker numbers declined and only one active Shaker community still remains - at Sabbathday Lake in Maine.

Fortunately, there are still plenty of Shaker-style goods on sale and the neat New England landscape of the Berkshire Hills - a long-time summer sanctuary for rich Bostonians and New Yorkers - is a good place to start. The Hancock Shaker Village near Pittsville (00 1 413 443 0188 or www. hancockshakervillage.org) is open from 1 April to 30 November and includes a shop as well as the outdoor Shaker history museum and useful library resources.

A Shaker cherry oval carrier (No 8 size) costs $52.50 (pounds 33). If you bought a similarly-sized carrier at Shaker, 27 Harcourt Street, London W1H 1DT (0171-724 7672) it would cost pounds 59.95. So, buy up 42 in Hancock, flog them to fashionable friends back home and use the profits to take advantage of the ridiculously low fares on offer in Upper Class on Virgin Atlantic.

Through a discount agent such as Quest Worldwide (0181-546 6000) you can travel from London to Boston for pounds 1,144 return between now and the end of June. Not only will this be complete luxury, it also has the happy effect of raising your baggage allowance - you'll be able to bring back even more Shaker shopping.

Gadget of the Week

Ensure you have the right footwear for any exotic location with a John Lobb shoe trunk. In addition to all the appropriate cleaning gear, the beech trunk holds 13 pairs of shoes and even has little leather fold-out seats should you need to sit down to clean - or to recover from the price (pounds 5,500). The trunk is available on request from John Lobb, 82 Jermyn Street, London SW1 (0171-930 8089).

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