Monthly Archives: November 2017

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.