Visit and learn about life on a colonial farm before the Civil War at this national living history museum.
The National Colonial Farm is located inside the Piscataway National Park on the banks of the Potomac River, just across the waterway from Mount Vernon, George Washington’s ancestral home. The park is part of a 500-acre land trust that was created in the 1950s to preserve the area around Mount Vernon. Today the National Colonial Farm is a living history museum, complete with period actors and live farm animals. The farm and parts of the national park are managed by the Accokeek Foundation.
Visitors to the farm will experience life as it was for families in the 18th century. Farmers will explain how to till the soil and grow one of the most profitable crops in the new world, tobacco. A museum garden displays all the varieties of plants grown by both settlers and native Americans. The animals living on the farm represent breeds that have become extinct on modern farms, including milking Devon cattle, Hog Island sheep and ossabow hogs. Guests can also visit the Laurel Branch House, a restored family farm home, and the tobacco barn, the structure where tobacco leaves are cured for use.
Tours and Events
Docent-led tours of the farm are held on weekends throughout the summer and can be reserved on the Accokeek Foundation website. The farm also hosts events like farm-to-table meals, nature hikes, and an "escape farm," an open-air version of an escape room.
Saylor Grove Fishing Pier, courtesy of Facebook
Piscataway National Park
After your tour of the farm, explore the trails and the dock of the Piscataway National Park. There are six main trails running through the park, each of varying difficulty. The new Pumpkin Ash trail leads through a tidal wetland, where hikers can see frogs, fish, and other wetland residents. This trail also has some of the best views of Mount Vernon. Cast your lines into the water from the Saylor Grove Fishing Pier, and catch dinner or launch your kayak from the Piscataway Park boat dock for a relaxing ride on the river.
Entrance into the park and the National Colonial Farm is free. Tours, events, and kayak rentals can be reserved through the website. The park grounds are open from dawn to dusk, year-round. The farm and visitor center is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday from March 1 through November 30, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., weekends only, from December 1 to February 28.
Have you been to Piscataway Park before? Have you visited the National Colonial Farm? What did you think? Tell us in the comments!