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1780s Farm

Visitor picks beans in farm gardenThe 1780s Virginia farm offers visitors a unique opportunity to witness a typical rural lifestyle after independence was won and the new nation was taking shape. At the re-created site, which includes a dwelling, separate kitchen, tobacco barn, crop field and fenced garden, historical interpreters demonstrate the seasonal cycle of work that characterized lower- to middle-class farm life in southeastern Virginia.

Tobacco and corn are cultivated, representative of the crops a late-18th-century Tidewater Virginia farmer would have sold for cash, as well as flax and cotton for cloth.  With guidance from 18th-century sources, dozens of varieties of vegetables and herbs are planted and harvested year-round, providing a source of food, medicine, fabric dye and insect repellant.  Breeds of fowl common in the 18th century – chickens, Muscovy ducks and American wild turkey – roam the site.

Visitors can help weed or water the plants, comb cotton or “break” flax into fiber, learn how herbs were used for cooking and medicinal purposes, and assist in creating 18th-century dishes.

Watch a video about the importance of the tobacco economy in colonial times.