How to Live Like a Fairfax in Fairfax County

Lahey_121615_0537Lahey Lost Valley

You may have visited historic homes in Fairfax County, perhaps to see the view over Hybla Valley from the porch at Historic Huntley or to learn how to churn butter and crank ice cream at Sully Historic Site. Fairfax County is rich with history and historic places to visit when we break from our hectic schedules.

What if you could visit one of these sites every day? Would you like to wake each morning at Lahey Lost Valley and be surrounded by 22 acres of serenity in the heart of Vienna? To settle in for a family movie night under 140-year-old beams supporting your living room ceiling at Clark/Enyedi House? No longer do you have to daydream what it would be like to follow in Thomas Fairfax’s footsteps, ascending Ash Grove’s three-floor, wrap-around staircase to retire for the evening. All this could be yours thanks to the Resident Curator Program of Fairfax County.

Ash groveThe Resident Curator Program is an opportunity for people – no Fairfax DNA required – to live in a county historic property. You could live rent free in a historic home under a long-term lease with the county if you’ll help protect county history by rehabilitating the property over several years. There are preservation professionals on the county’s staff who will provide support and advice during the process. At the end of the long-term lease, you will have made a significant difference in preserving Fairfax County’s history.

The Resident Curator Program preserves historic buildings in the county. Its goal is to rehabilitate and maintain underutilized historic properties and provide periodic public access to them so that residents can appreciate the historical significance of the properties. The program preserves select historic properties by offering long-term leases to qualified tenants who agree to rehabilitate and maintain the buildings and their landscapes in accordance with established preservation standards. A curator can be a private citizen, a non-profit, or a for-profit organization. Rehabilitation must meet the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation, and the curator must provide reasonable public access to the property. In return, curators pay no rent while they continue to fulfill their contractual obligations.

Several properties will be available in the coming months. See them and get more information about the program online at

To follow the restoration progress of our first curated property, please visit the Stempson House’s curator blog at

Author Margaret Puglisi is a Heritage Resource Technician for the Fairfax County Park Authority.

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About Fairfax County Park Authority

About Fairfax County Park Authority HISTORY: On December 6, 1950, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors created the Fairfax County Park Authority. The Park Authority was authorized to make decisions concerning land acquisition, park development and operations in Fairfax County, Virginia. To date, 13 park bond referenda have been approved between 1959 and 2016. Today, the Park Authority has 427 parks on more than 23,000 acres of land. We offer 325 miles of trails, our most popular amenity. FACILITIES: The Park system is the primary public mechanism in Fairfax County for the preservation of environmentally sensitive land and resources, areas of historic significance and the provision of recreational facilities and services including: • Nine indoor RECenters with swimming pools, fitness rooms, gyms and class spaces. Cub Run features an indoor water park and on-site naturalist • Eight golf courses from par-3 to championship level, four driving ranges including the new state-of-the-art heated, covered range at Burke Lake Golf Center • Five nature and visitor centers. Also nine Off-Leash Dog Activity areas • Three lakefront parks including Lake Fairfax, Lake Accotink and Burke Lake, with campgrounds at Burke Lake and Lake Fairfax. The Water Mine Family Swimmin’ Hole at Lake Fairfax, Our Special Harbor Sprayground at Lee as well as an indoor water park at Cub Run RECenter • Clemyjontri Park, a fully accessible playground in Great Falls featuring two acres of family friendly fun and a carousel, as well as Chessie’s Big Backyard and a carousel at the Family Recreation Area at Lee District Park • An ice skating rink at Mount Vernon RECenter and the Skate Park in Wakefield Park adjacent to Audrey Moore RECenter • Kidwell Farm, a working farm of the 1930s-era at Frying Pan Farm Park in Herndon, now with historic carousel • Eight distinctive historic properties available for rent • A working grist mill at Colvin Run in Great Falls and a restored 18th century home at Sully Historic Site in Chantilly • A horticulture center at Green Spring Gardens in Annandale • Natural and cultural resources protected by the Natural Resource Management Plan and Cultural Resource Plans, plus an Invasive Management Area program that targets alien plants and utilizes volunteers in restoring native vegetation throughout our community • Picnic shelters, tennis courts, miniature golf courses, disc golf courses, off-leash dog parks, amphitheaters, a marina, kayaking/canoeing center • Provides 263 athletic fields, including 39 synthetic turf fields, and manages athletic field maintenance services at 417 school athletic fields. PARK AUTHORITY BOARD: A 12-member citizen board, appointed by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, sets policies and priorities for the Fairfax County Park Authority. Visit for Fairfax County Government's Comment Policy.

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