Claude Moore Colonial Farm (Virginia)
Claude Moore Colonial Farm (the United States)
|Location||6310 Georgetown Pike, McLean, Virginia|
|Public transit access||Route 123 Dolly Madison Boulevard & Potomac School Road Metrobus stop.|
Claude Moore Colonial Farm, originally Turkey Run Farm, was a U.S. park in Virginia recreating and reenacting life on a tenant farm c. 1771. The park permanently closed on December 21, 2018.
The National Park Service is in the process of planning the future of this park and its facilities 
The Friends of Claude Moore Colonial Farm at Turkey Run Inc., a privately funded foundation, paid for all activities on the farm, while the land is owned by the National Park Service. They receive only certain maintenance tasks from the Park Service. The Farm is located in Langley, Virginia, a suburb of McLean, Virginia, next to the George Bush Center for Intelligence and the Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center. Market Fair events were held at the park.
The mission of Turkey Run was to recreate the life of 1771 tenant farmers. The vast majority of Virginians in 1771 were tenant farmers who grew tobacco to pay their rent and grew food to eat. By contrast, Colonial Williamsburg demonstrates the life of the small upper crust — merchants and landowners.
Originally named Turkey Run Farm when it opened in July 1973 as a National Park Service operation, it was renamed in 1981 for local land developer, Dr. Claude Moore, whose large bequest at the time of his death allowed the farm park to establish itself as the only autonomous site in the park system. It takes no NPS funding and operates off of the dividends of its endowment, volunteer-run fundraising efforts and donations from the public.
The Farm operation has expanded its facilities over the years. The GateHouse Giftshop was built to replace the old on-your-honor admission fee drop box and an event deck and the Bounty Garden were all added at the front parking lot during the last decade. Post 9-11, a new access road was cut through the upper pasture so that access to the farm office no longer passes through the security gate of the Federal Highway Administration headquarters, behind the CIA grounds. "Chez Puce," formally the site of the farm's alternating book and "garage" sales, became a full-fledged, used bookstore, open Wednesday through Saturday, in 2011.
Turkey Run was run by a small paid professional staff, supplemented by many volunteers both behind the scenes and in costume. The interpretive staff, including pre-teens and teenagers who portrayed the farm children, demonstrate 1771 farm life, including field work, crafts, cooking, and other special activities. Staff (including volunteers) used "first person" to demonstrate living history and help visitors feel as if they've stepped back in time. The Farm's heirloom crops and heritage breed livestock were carefully researched to provide as accurate an atmosphere as possible.
The Farm cooperated with Fairfax County in providing work-release parolees with court-required employment. On a working farm, this means labor.
The highlight was the Market Fair, held the third full weekends of May, July, and October. The Fair was enhanced by the participation of a cadre of long-time volunteers, including a blacksmith, cabinet maker, milliner, herb and flower seller, a toy store, scriptorium, puppet theatre, potter, chair bodger, chicken roasting, a tavern and more. The importance of the tavern in Colonial life was captured on the sign displayed therein: "Beer is proof that God loves us, and wants us to be happy. —Benjamin Franklin."
Many of the participants were members of American Revolutionary War (and other) re-enactor groups and appear at other colonial historical events. The gathering and threshing of wheat and the preparation of the tobacco crop were annual events. A colonial Wassail, including the blessing of the orchard, was the final event of the season, in mid-December.
As of December 21, 2018, the Farm is no longer open to visitors.