The Claude Moore Colonial Farm at Turkey Run

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

We have a goal this year to visit as many national parks as we can. We got a little off track, but managed to visit one on Easter morning. We were going to a lunch at my sister's in Leesburg, VA, so we took a side trip to visit The Claude Moore Colonial Farm at Turkey Run in McLean, VA.

The Claude Moore Colonial Farm at Turkey Run is a living history museum, set in the year 1771. It portrays the life of a family living on a small, low-income farm. Visitors are encouraged to interact with the family and help out with farm chores.

Our visit began at The GateHouse. This houses the Museum Gift Shop and serves as the entrance to the farm.

The GateHouse
Admission to The Claude Moore Colonial Farm is $5 for Adults, $3 for Seniors (60 years or older) and Children over 3 years old. Children under 3 are free.

Just outside the GateHouse are signs that introduce the farm and give visitors an idea of what to expect.

We started out The Tobacco Barn. Tobacco is the main cash crop of the Farm. The Tobacco Barn is used to cure tobacco and store crops. The kids had fun climbing the ladder inside and checking out the tobacco hanging inside.

In the tobacco barn
There were turkeys behind the Tobacco Barn. But, they were in a little shed. We could hear them gobbling, but didn't really get a chance to see them.

There are turkeys in there
After checking out the pond, we walked over to the Market Fair Grounds. On the third full weekend in May, July, and October, the Claude Moore Colonial Farm holds an 18th century Market Fair, where you can interact with the Farm family and over 250 volunteer period craftsmen, entertainers and merchants.

The Market Fair Grounds
When we visited, the fair grounds were empty, since it was only April. But, according to the website:
"[In the spring, you can] Purchase herb and flowering plants and shop for the latest fashions in clothing, jewelry, potions and lotions. Play games and watch a children’s puppet theatre. Order nails from the Blacksmith or make your own Corn Husk Doll to become your new best friend . Lunch might be fresh vegetables, roast chicken, sausages and bread. Lemonade and sugar cakes from the Sweets stand and wine or ale from the Tavern provide a break from shopping and the other business of the Fair.
 In the summer, sit in the shade and savor roast chicken and spicy sausages, enjoy dancing and singing with the fiddler, test your water color and writing skills with Mr. Andrews at the Stationer. Muster with the militia and re-outfit your home in furniture from the Cabinet Maker. Only at Market Fair can you catch up on the latest news from the frontier and trade stories while enjoying local ale and porter at the Tavern. Try hands-on crafts such as spinning and dyeing, and shop for goods from the finest merchants in the colonies.
In the fall, warm yourself by the fires and enjoy the splendor of autumn with crisp local apples, warm savory meat pies and hearty breads. Let Market Fair entertainers, tradesmen, and the militia amuse and educate you. Allow Mistress Barrow and Mr. John to entice you with their wares at the Dry Goods and the Gentlemen’s Goods stands. Learn to dip candles or turn a piece of wood on the carpenter’s lathe. Stop by the tavern for a cup of mulled wine before you begin your holiday shopping at the many tradesmen’s and merchants’ stalls."
It sounds like it would be really interesting and fun to attend, so we'll have to make another visit when they hold the Market Fair. Separate admission is required to attend.

After exploring the Market Fair Grounds, we walked over to the main farm house.

There were chickens running around the house, and of course, my kids ran away! The Farmer's daughter suggested we take a look inside the Farm house, while she ushered the chickens away.

The Farm House was pretty small. When we asked how many slept in the house, the farmer's daughter said she shared it with her parents and two brothers.

The family of five slept up here.
She also had a fire going. She was preparing soup for the family.

When my one son asked her about the gun hanging on the wall, she told us about how her brothers hunted for food.

Overall, it was a nice visit. Maybe because it was early in the morning and Easter, it was kind of quiet. There really wasn't much going on. I was expecting more people to interact with. It took us about an hour to tour.  I'm sure if the Market Fair was going on, it would have taken longer.

The farm does offer special programs on select dates. There is a Farm Skills program that allows participants 4 years and older to get a hands-on experience with skills like pounding corn, carding wool, and dipping candles. Reservations are required. They also offer more in-depth programs for a fee.

On the way out, we stopped in the Gift Shop. They had a wide variety of games, books, toys, and Market Fair items. My one son got a slingshot and my three-year-old got a new recorder. I was eyeing the soaps and hand creams, but didn't end up getting anything.

The Claude Moore Colonial Farm at Turkey Run
6310 Georgetown Pike
McLean, VA 22101
Open Wednesday - Sunday, 10:00 - 4:30 PM

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