Sunday April 29th 2012. As I arrive on the National Mall in the Capital the crowds are already covering the area. It is bright and sunny, natives and visitors start to enjoy a beautiful day. For me it’s a little bit to many of them, so I decide for a detour – to somewhere. Avoiding the mainstream traffic I find myself minutes later on the George Washington Memorial Parkway northbound. After a short stop for an overlook on the Potomac river I drive on. A sign „Chain Bridge“ catches my attention.
Sounds interesting, I follow the direction using Dolley Madison Blvd. Than, another sign, pointing to the right: „Claude Moore Colonial Farm“ which sounds even more interesting. So I follow. To my surprise the first attraction on this new route: the „George Bush Center for Intelligence“ on my right. It’s the CIA headquarters in Langley, well known to thriller-readers all over the world as the place, where the guys work, who support Jerry Cotton and James Bond with their skills…
Friendly entrance fee
A few hundred yards further on the left I turn into a small parking lot with a small wodden gatehouse – the entrance of the farm. For a very modest (and extremly friendly collected) fee of 3 bucks the doors open to me and let me in to visit a typical tobacco farm of the year 1771, three years before the American Revolution began. The quiet, spacy layout of the farm gives you plenty of opportunity to make your own way throuh history. As you meet the people runnin the place, you will eperience that it’s not about re-enactment but about history living on, what takes places here.
Living like their ancestors
They grow plants and spices as the ancestors did, although they have to reduce the amount of crop due to the smaller number of people living and working on the site today. They raise and harvest animals and in the main house you will find dried meat which survided the winter hanging from the wooden roof. You will meet kids, joining the farmlive temporarily, nevertheless dressed properly in historical gowns and spending their free time in between farm jobs playing games with nature made toys. Watching the kids, watching and listening to all those living on the farm gives you confidence that there must be a happy live without elecetronics. At the same time it gives you a clear message, how hard and challenging it has been to earn your living then in an era that were the very different old times.
Avoriding the crowds
If you have been to Washington DC and have seen it all or just wan to avoid the crowds: There’s no doubt that this is a very good place to go. Especially as from time to time traditional markets with authentically made products as well as history related events like the „Salting Fish Day“ or „Chew the Fat“ are worth a visit as well.
The Colonial Farm is open Wednesday through Sunday, 10:00 AM to 4:30 PM from April 1st to December 10th. All other information under www.1771.org