Tag Archives: Claude Moore Colonial Farm

Experience 18th-Century Living History at Claude Moore Colonial Farm


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 find out how to apply 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.


Farm Membership
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. Sign up online 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 — directions are available here. Hours are 10am – 4:30pm Wedsnesday – Sunday from April 1 – December 31. Regular admission is $5/adult, $3/children & seniors, free/2 & under. Market Fair admission is $8/adult, $4/senior, $3/child, free for ages 2 and under.

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Claude Moore Colonial Farm, however, all opinions expressed here are entirely my own, and I only promote places, products, and services that I truly enjoy and believe in and/or think would appeal to KFDC readers.


Filed under All ages, Animals, Educational, Exhibit, Fall, Farm, Festival, Museums, Nature, Outdoor, Park, Seasonal, Sponsored Post, Spring, Summer, Virginia, Weekdays, Weekend

The Weekend Round-Up: December 9-11

Capitol replica made entirely of natural materials at Season's Greening


We’re in the throes of the holiday season. Lights are twinkling, mini trains are chugging, sugar plum fairies are dancing, and suckers like me are spending. Here’s a quick list of where your family can enjoy the festivities, plus some non-holiday activities, too.  Happy Weekend!

Celebrate the SeasonExperience a frozen wonderland, visit Santa in his workshop, view nature and DC-inspired holiday exhibits, drive or stroll through holiday lights, see intricately constructed model train displays.  There’s no shortage of activities that celebrate the season; the tough part is deciding which to do.  To help choose, check out this guide to DC’s best holiday events.

Holidays on Stage – All of the classics are at our local theatres. This post has details on where you and the kids can see your favorites.

Merriment in GeorgetownThe neighborhood is always bustling, but it will be even more so on Saturday as the Merriment in Georgetown Kick-Off Party celebrates 12 days (December 9-20) of holiday shopping events and promotions at over 50 stores. Festivities will include special sales, pedicab rides, a gingerbread house making contest, musical performances, culinary treats, and more. This will all take place from 1-4pm in the PNC Bank Lot at Wisconsin & M Streets. Admission is free, and parking is just $2.

Christmas Dreams at the National Snowflakes and Sugar Plum Sweets are in the air as the Virginia Ballet Company and School present selections for their magical, glittering Nutcracker at this week’s Saturday Morning at the National performance. Familiar music, lively dances, lovely costumes and charming characters from Tchaikovsky’s classic confection will bring elegant holiday cheer. Performances take place at 9:30am and 11am, and tickets are required for admission. Free tickets are distributed half an hour prior to the start of shows on a first-come first-served basis. Only one ticket per person, and all attendees must be standing in line to receive a ticket. Children must be accompanied by an adult, who remains present for the entire performance. Seating is limited, so get there early.

Jingle All the Way to Georgetown – This fun family event taking place on Sunday from 4-8pm is an opportunity to support a wonderful cause and help make the holiday season brighter for children and families coping with cancer. The 6th Annual Georgetown Jingle is includes a silent auction, tastings by leading DC area chefs, kids activities, and live entertainment, including a visit from Santa and his friends. Themed holiday trees and vignettes created by the Washington area’s top designers will also be showcased for guests to view. And especially for young attendees is the Children’s Workshop, where they can enjoy holiday crafts, decorate cookies, watch movies, and dance. See this post for more information about the event and purchasing tickets.

Scribble, Dot, Pop!Kids have another weekend to explore art through film at The National Gallery of Art’s monthly film program. This weekend they’ll present a series of animated shorts that celebrate the qualities that make artists.  Guests can get a glimpse into the life and art of Andy Warhol in the fun and gentle film Getting to Know the World’s Greatest Artists: Andy Warhol, a family-friendly biography of Warhol and an introduction to pop art, along with a few other animated shorts about art, all of the kid-friendly variety. Sessions are at 10:30am on Saturday and 11:30am on Sunday in the East Building Auditorium. The program is free, and seating is offered on a first-come, first-seated basis. Recommended for ages 4 and up.

Caroling at the GalleryIf you want to put some holiday spirit into your National Gallery visit, go in the afternoon for caroling in the seasonally decorated West Building Rotunda. Guest choirs will lead afternoon sing-alongs that all ages are welcome to join. Carol along with The Mandoleers on Saturday, and the Alexandria Choral Society on Sunday.  Performances are at 1:30pm and 2:30pm both days.

Colonial WassailGather in the orchard of Claude Moore Colonial Farm on Sunday from 1-4pm to toast the winter apple trees with singing, dancing, and chants to ensure a “howling crop” next year. Enjoy hot spiced cider, sugar cakes, a roaring bonfire, and 18th-century games along with the wassailing festivities. Admission is $3/adults, $2/children.

Nat Geo Exhibits Take shelter from the cold and check out a couple of fun kids’ exhibits at the National Geographic Museum. Animal Grossology and Weird But True are fun and fascinating for kids of all ages. Admission is $8/adults, $6/ages 5-12, free for children under 5.  The National Geographic Museum is located at 1145 17th Street NW.

Puppet Fun at Discovery TheaterThere are a couple of programs for kids to enjoy at the Ripley Center on Saturday. At 12pm, join master artist Bob Brown for Winter Wonderland, a jolly romp with delightful trick marionettes who are out frolicking in the cold. The friendly little critters—bunny, penguin and snowman—perform feats of skill and daring that will leave your young audience holiday-happy. Enjoy the fun and fantasy, mirth and merriment, giggles and amazement—and the sound of favorite holiday music. Recommended for kids ages 2-8. Tickets are $3-8.  Children ages 3 and up can join Michele and Ingrid from the popular puppet theatre, Dinorock, for a Puppet Workshop, where they’ll make their own puppets inspired by the little characters from the show. The workshop runs from 10am – 1pm. Tickets are $5/Smithsonian Resident Associate members, $10/non-members. Get your tickets today, as they will not be available the day of the workshop.

Alternative Gifting –  If you’re planning to do some holiday shopping this weekend and are looking for unique presents, then check out Gifts That Give Hope: Arlington’s Alternative Gift Fair this Saturday, where shoppers make donations in honor of friends and family as holiday presents. You’ll have an opportunity to learn about and support 13 local non-profits. And if you can’t make the fair, you can still shop online through December 20.

Recreation on IceEnjoy a cold-weather outdoor activity and impressive works of art all at once at the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden.  For details and even more places to do your best Boitano or Kerrigan, check out this post about area ice skating venues, both outdoors and in.

The Wright StuffIt’s Second Saturday at the Air & Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center from 10am -3pm. With a new theme every month, the program engages visitors of all ages in topics related to aviation and space exploration. This weekend will celebrate the world’s first aviators, the Wright Brothers. While admission is free, parking is $15 /car.

Bieber Fever Builds in DC – This is not an activity recommendation; rather it’s a heads-up that the Building Zone at the National Building Museum will be closed from Saturday through Monday, and the entire Museum will be closed on Sunday as the holiday special “Christmas in Washington” takes place there.  Justin Bieber will be part of the show, and word has it they are expecting a mob scene because if it, hence the closing of the Building Zone.

And two links that are always useful:

The Best Places in the DC Area to Enjoy a Beautiful Day Outdoors with the Kids

Rainy Day Recreation (ie, Indoor Fun)


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Filed under All ages, Annual, Art, Christmas, DC, Educational, Festival, Free, Fundraiser, Gradeschoolers, Holidays, Live Entertainment, Museums, Music, Preschoolers, Preteens, Seasonal, Shop, Theatre, Toddlers, Weekend, Winter

Falling for the Weekend

An older photo, but a fall fave

Forgive the corny, cliché title of this post – it’s hard to come up with something clever week after week (not that they ever were that clever…). But trite or not, the reference to autumn is apropos for this roundup of weekend events, as so many of them salute the season.  Of course, there are also recommendations that make no allusion to the time of year. No matter what you and the kids decide to pursue, fall-themed or not, have a great time doing it. Happy Weekend!

Kids Euro Festival Thanks to the French-American Cultural Foundation, 27 EU embassies, and more than a dozen major cultural institutions, Europe is coming to us via the Kids Euro Festival, a virtual passport to four weeks of continental artistic adventures. This is the first weekend of the event that will present more than 200 FREE children’s performances all around the metro area. Mimes, storytellers, dancers, and puppeteers are just a few of the exciting acts that will perform at a variety of venues from October 14 – November 10.  See what’s on the schedule this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

Autumn Colonial Market FairClaude Moore Colonial Farm is holding its annual fair on Saturday and Sunday from 11am – 4pm both days. Tradesmen and artisans — blacksmiths, potters, silversmiths, candle makers, and more —from all over the country will be there to demo their work and sell their wares.  Guests can also enjoy all kinds of colonial fare and watch as food cooks right over a fire pit, just like olden times. Along with the fair, you can also tour the farm, which is straight out of the 18th-century. Admission to the farm on the Autumn Market Fair weekend is $6/adults, $3/ages 3-12, free for children 2 and under.

Rock Creek Fall Heritage Day at Peirce MillStep back in time somewhere else on Saturday for a day-long celebration marking the re-opening of historic Peirce Mill during Rock Creek Park Heritage Day. Artists, craftspeople, and historians will line the mill yard and grounds, restored to their 1800’s appearance, to bring history alive. Visitors can join them for hands-on demonstrations, while park rangers and historian shed light on what life was like in the 19th century. There will also be tours of the restored mill, which will be grinding grain, as it did more than a century ago. A schedule of the day’s events and more info is available of the NPS website.

Truck TouchKids can pretend to drive a school bus, explore construction rigs, learn about EMS & recycling trucks, and many more vehicles at Suburban Nursery School’s annual Truck Touch. Along with the cool rides, guests can enjoy homemade baked goods and lunch from some favorite local vendors (pizza, ice cream, & hotdogs). It will all take place in the school’s parking lot on Saturday from 10am – 3pm. Admission is $5/person, free for children under 2. All programs benefit Suburban Nursery School, a non-profit, parent-run cooperative nursery school for over 50 years.

Pinkalicous and the Pink PumpkinRoom & Board is hosting a special event featuring award-winning author and illustrator Victoria Kann, reading from her latest book Pinkalicious and the Pink Pumpkin. Bring the kids, decorate pumpkins, and enter for a chance to win our kid-sized Jill table and four Little Jake chairs. Books are available for purchase at the event. It all takes place from 11am – 1pm, and the reading begins at noon.  The event is free, RSVP to roomandboard@brandlinkdcrsvp.com.

Taste of GeorgetownIn its 18th year, the Taste of Georgetown will showcase the spectacular cuisine of 30 of the neighborhood’s finest eateries, highlighting Georgetown’s culinary personalities and featuring nearly 60 delectable dishes to sample, as well as wine pairings, the jazz talents of Blues Alley artists, and children’s activities such as caricatures, jugglers, and balloon artists. Wisconsin and M Streets NW is where this will all go down on Saturday from 11am – 4pm. Tasting tickets can be purchased online or at the event.

Best in ShowsDrumming with Dishes at the Atlas, The Three Billy Goats Gruff at The Puppet Co. Playhouse, Krazy Kitchen Science at Discovery Theater,  and Saturday Morning at the National are just a few children’s productions you can catch this weekend.  For even more performances, see this post about live entertainment this season.

What’s Grosser than Gross? – The National Geographic Museum’s latest exhibit for kids, “Animal Grossology,” features some of the slimiest, stinkiest, yuckiest creatures on earth…and their natural bodily functions. Yes, there’s plenty about poop, puke, and other icky processes all presented through many cool, creative, interactive installments.  Kids will love it (and so will adults). Admission is $8/adults, $6/ages 5-12, free for children 4 and under and includes the fun Weird But True exhibit as well as entrance to Ocean Soul: Photographs by Brian Skerry, a beautiful collection of images from oceans around the world that any photography buff or wildlife lover will find mesmerizing.

Fall FestsBurgundy Farm Country Day School and South Mountain Creamery are holding their annual fall festivals this weekend. And many more seasonal celebrations are taking place at local farms and other venues around the area.  See this post for details on all of them.

Family Day in the White House ‘HoodThe Neighbors to the President’s Consortium, a group of historic sites and museums in the White House neighborhood, is hosting a day of activities for families. Activities will include a scavenger hunt at the Renwick Gallery, an art safari at the Corcoran, candle making at the DAR Museum, and more. Detailed activity descriptions are available on the NTPC website.

Hop on the Halloween TrainThe “Eye Spy” Halloween Train at Cabin John Regional Park rides again! Get on board this Friday, Saturday and Sunday – tickets sales begin at 2pm, and rides are every half hour from 3-8pm. Tickets are $6 person and include “Eye Spy” game card and other activities for kids.

Family Fun Literacy DayThe Play With Words Children’s Museum in Vienna, in partnership with the Vienna Whole Foods Market and PBS Kids, is hosting a Family Fun Literacy Day on Saturday from 12-3pm. Join them, along with the characters from PBS Kids “Super Why” TV show, for a fun afternoon of literacy-related activities, including hands-on activities and a treasure hunt throughout the Vienna Whole Foods store, with prizes for the first 200 children. More information is available on the Play With Words website.

And the forecast is looking great for this weekend, so this post will come in handy if you want to take advantage of the weather:

The Best Places in the DC Area to Enjoy a Beautiful Day Outdoors with the Kids 

But if indoor pursuits sound like a better plan, you can get some ideas for them here:

Rainy Day Recreation (ie, Indoor Fun)

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Filed under All ages, Annual, DC, Eats, Educational, Fall, Farm, Festival, Free, Halloween, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Museums, Music, Outdoor, Park, Seasonal, Theatre, Trains, Virginia, Weekend

Autumn Fun at Claude Moore Colonial Farm

The start of our little time trip

It was quite serendipitous that our family visited Claude Moore Colonial Farm this past weekend.  We were on our way to a fall festival in northern Virginia when we hit traffic, massive traffic.  And looking ahead down I-66, it didn’t seem like it was going to let up soon enough for us to inch through it patiently.  So, we got off at the next exit and changed plans.

This is one of the great things about living in the DC- metro.  There is so much to do all over the area, you can revamp your day with one simple decision, no matter where you are, and still have a good time. In our case, we were fairly close to the Beltway, so I did a quick flip through my mental Rolodex of family recreation and, voila!, I remembered I had just read about Claude Moore as I was browsing No Monsters in My Bed and knew it was a convenient detour from where we were. I’d seen the sign for it on the GW Parkway countless times, and had always wondered about the attraction, but just hadn’t made it there.

Well, thanks to bad traffic we finally did, and it couldn’t have worked out better (except that we were a week early for one of their biggest weekends, which I’ll tell you more about in a bit).

An 18th-century farm relic

Claude Moore Colonial Farm is straight out of the 18th-century, a living history farm. Everything there has been recreated to look just as it did in 1771, with a tobacco barn, farm house, garden, orchard, animals, even a family (portrayed by actors) who live and work on the farm and go about their daily life as visitors pass through. A self-guided tour begins in the gift shop where you buy tickets ($3/adult, $2/children 3 and up) and get a bit of background on the farm.  There, we learned that all of the crops and trees are planted from heirloom seeds with origins that date back to the region during the 18th century. We were also told that we could feel free to pitch in and help the Bradley family with any farm work.

Owen leads the way

The farm isn’t huge — the whole walk is about 3/4 of a mile, and there is a dirt path that winds through it. A simple map given out in the gift shop depicts the layout, and Owen easily navigated for us.  After stopping to see geese in a wooden cage along the path, we explored the tobacco barn, where we could see part of the curing process as tobacco stalks hung from rafters to dry out, and 18th-century tools and equipment offered an idea of how it all worked. Just outside the barn, turkeys making some of the loudest gobbling noises I’ve ever heard (which thrilled the kids) sat in a wooden cage, and nearby along the path a few big hogs lolled about in their pen.

A farm family member show us her home

From there, we may our way to the farm house, passing by the garden and through the orchard on the way.  The farm house was easily the highlight of our tour, as we got to see 18th-century farm life in progress. Several members of the farm family were mashing potatoes for cottage pie (this is what we were later told by a woman who works there) on a table outside of the house, as chickens roamed freely around them. When one went inside the house to put something on the fireplace to cook, we followed and watched.  The house is literally one room, with a fireplace along one wall, a table pushed against another, a few chairs sitting in corners, herbs hanging from ceiling rafters to dry, a couple of shelves on the walls holding ceramic cups and containers.  Sleeping quarters are in a loft above; the whole family shares the space, sleeping on feather-filled mattresses. Family members were happy to answer questions, speaking in 18th-century vernacular, which fascinated the kids just as much as their home.

Sasha's favorite part of the farm

The rest of our tour we strolled around, winding through the orchard, checking out the root cellar where potatoes are stored, and visiting the farm fowl again. Our entire visit probably took less than two hours, but it was a quite an enjoyable learning experience for all us, and a great way to spend a nice day outdoors together.

And serendipity came into play again when I learned that this coming weekend is one of the best times to visit. The Autumn Colonial Market Fair will take place Saturday and Sunday, October 15-16, from 11am – 4pm both days.  This is when tradesmen and artisans — blacksmiths, potters, silversmiths, candle makers, and more — come from all over to demo their work and sell their wares.  Guests can also enjoy all kinds of colonial fare and watch as food cooks right over a fire pit, just like olden times. Admission to the farm on the Autumn Market Fair weekend is $6/adults, $3/ages 3-12, free for children 2 and under.  More information is available on the Claude Moore Colonial Farm website.



Filed under All ages, Animals, Annual, Eats, Educational, Fall, Farm, Festival, Outdoor, Park, Seasonal, Virginia, Weekend