Hot! A Visit to Claude Moore Colonial Farm

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Yesterday I went to the Claude Moore Colonial Farm with my mom and Marc. It was a beautiful day, and my mom’s last full day in town, and the farm was a location that Marc and I had been intending to visit for quite some time. After a wonderful drive along the Potomac on the gorgeous George Washington Parkway, we got to the farm, which is hilariously located right beside the CIA.

The Claude Moore Colonial Farm is set up as a smallholding farm from 1771. This was the most common type of farm during that period, mostly owned and worked by single-family, relatively poor tenant farmers. It is this representation that makes Claude Moore Colonial Farm unique, since most historical sites and museums focus on larger plantations and houses owned by a much higher class of people. I’m all for touring fancy plantations, but it’s hard to get a feel for what life was like for most colonial settlers without places like this farm. Claude Moore Farm does a great job of showing that most farmers during the 18th century were far, far from the “gentleman farmers” like Washington and Jefferson.

The site itself is small and can be seen in half an hour, though I suggest giving yourself at least an hour to poke around fully and ask questions of the historical interpreters. The farm features several fields with different crops, a tobacco barn, a root cellar, a farmhouse, an orchard, a garden, and quite a bit of livestock (including cows, pigs, turkeys, geese, and chickens). All the crops and livestock are also historically accurate “heritage” breeds, so what you see as a visitor is truly what the farm would have looked like in 1771.

The entrance fee for the site is very budget-friendly at just $3 for adults. It’s a great little site and its location along the scenic George Washington Parkway means that even the drive there can be quite nice. I think that the Claude Moore Colonial Farm is rather under-appreciated in a city with so many bigger draws (such as the Smithsonian, the monuments, etc), but it can also be a nice afternoon jaunt for visitors to DC who have museum-fatigue or for locals who have seen all the usual sites. It’s cheap, close, and is an important glimpse into our nation’s history, so go give them a visit!

As always, I took photos of the site and of the two interpreters who were working during our afternoon visit. Here you go. Enjoy!

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  1. Claude Moore is so lovely and you captured it well. They have a small 18th C market faire (very, very small if you’ve been to Fort Fred’s) a few times a year that’s very pleasant to go to, I got some lovely handmade soap there once.