It’s one thing to learn about the past through books, at a museum, or a visit to a historic site. It’s something else entirely to engage with history in an immersive way that makes you feel as if you’ve been transported back in time. This is just the kind of experience Claude Moore Colonial Farm offers its visitors. The living history locale in McLean, VA, portrays family life on a small, low-income farm just prior to the Revolutionary War with an authenticity that goes well beyond artifacts to view and sites to explore.
The park recreates life on a tobacco farm in the year 1771. Not only is Claude Moore set up to look as a farm would have in the 18th century, a family portrays life on the farm and goes about what would have been daily activities back then. Even more (yes, there more!), visitors are not just welcome, but encouraged to participate in those activities and get a real feel for what life was like nearly 250 years ago.
All of this is open for the public to enjoy from April through December — visitors are welcome on a walk-in basis Wednesdays to Sundays. Claude Moore Colonial Farm also offers special programs and events for enhanced and more insightful farm experiences.
Junior Interpretor Program
Kids ages 10 to 17 can truly find out what working on a colonial farm is like through this unique program. If accepted, Junior Interpreters portray, in costume, the colonial farm family’s children, working at least one day per month. While the program is fun, it also requires work — planting, weeding, tending to and harvesting crops in the fields and kitchen garden, performing maintenance tasks on the 18th century site, cleaning animal pens, assist with cooking, and much more — in all weather conditions. Read more about the program and application process here.
18th Century Colonial Market Fairs
Three weekends a year, the Farm hosts Market Fairs that draw both locals and visitors from across the country. Showcasing 18th-century life in a festive way, the events feature demos by tradesmen and artisans, a variety of musical and dramatic performances, arts & crafts for kids and adults, and savory food (often cooked on spits), and more. It’s like Ren Fest on a smaller scale, in a different era and place. Fun and educational for all, the Market Fairs are easily a family bucket list item.
Once you visit Claude Moore Colonial Farm, there’s very good chance you’ll go back, making membership worth it. Rates are very reasonable ($40/family per year), and benefits include a season pass giving you unlimited admission, entry to all three Market Fairs and other special events, discounts on workshops and gift shop items, and use of the Farm’s library. Ready to sign up? Fill out then mail in the application form or call 703.442-7557 for more information.
You can read even more about Claude Moore Colonial Farm in this post about our first visit there. But I highly recommend you go experience it for yourself.
Claude Moore Colonial Farm is located at 6310 Georgetown Pike in McLean VA — direction are available here. Hours are 10am – 4:30pm Wedsnesday – Sunday from April 1 – December 31. Regular admission is $3/adult, $2/children & seniors, free for ages 2 and under. Market Fair admission is $8/adult, $4/senior, $3/child, free for ages 2 and under.