Hard Bargain Farm is a 330 acre working farmstead with rolling hills, cropland, woodlands, and wetlands, located along the banks of the Potomac River in Accokeek, Maryland. Buildings include the Ferguson’s historic farmhouse; barns and other farm buildings; a new state-of-the-art net zero energy net zero water and carbon neutral education building, an overnight lodge; and an amphitheater for concerts and plays. From the Farm’s hilltop, guests are treated to a commanding view of the Nation’s Capital, Virginia shoreline, Potomac River and Mount Vernon.
Hard Bargain Farm is a private facility that is not open to the general public. It is available for use by public/private schools and non-profit organizations through pre-scheduled appointment only.
Living Building Education Center
In keeping with its guiding principles of Education, Inspiration, and Innovation, the Alice Ferguson Foundation has embraced the most stringent set of green building, energy efficiency requirements in the world as we upgrade and enhance our environmental education campus. The net zero energy, net zero water, carbon neutral, and non-toxic component requirements of the Living Building Challenge™ will not only enhance and upgrade our structures but also serve as tools for teaching Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) concepts.
The recently completed ‘living building’ is located at the sunny edge of a south facing field where its roof spreads out like wings to capture the sun’s energy. A network of geothermal wells, located in the grassy field in front of the building, helps ensure the sun’s power is used most efficiently. The building’s tight “envelope” provides an “R” factor that is up to five times as effective as an average building.Read more
Wareham Lodge is the center of activity during the overnight trip. It is our overnight facility and science center. Field studies begin and end here.
Fire rings are available for campfires and cooking (hot dogs, marshmallows), and a cozy log cabin may also be used for evening activities.
The Lodge Includes:
- Bunkrooms that will accomodate an average class of about 30 – total of 22 bunks in girls room, 22 bunks in boys room
- Running water, bathrooms for boys and girls equipped with showers
- Large dining area/meeting room with woodstove for indoor activities
- Full kitchen with industrial refrigerator and stove, oven, coffee maker, can opener, and large pots. A full set of plates, bowls, coffee cups, and a basic set of utensils are available for use. Please note that there is no freezer.
- A partially covered wooden deck with picnic tables – a great place to have gatherings and of course, if weather permits, to eat meals.
- A campfire ring, great for roasting hot dogs and marshmallows and often used for spooky stories or to just relax under the stars.
- Air conditioning and central heating.
School Groups/Education Programs: Reservations for day and overnight field experiences are available for public and private school groups. Hard Bargain Farm’s education programs include guided hands-on outdoor education experiences. Overnight field experiences are housed at Wareham Lodge. Program Information: 4th – 8th Grade, PreK – 3rd Grade
Weekend Lodge Use: Reservations for day and overnight use of the Lodge are available for Scout troops, non-profit groups and community organizations.
- Overnight use of Wareham Lodge: A maximum of 44 persons. Lodging may be for one or two nights, and a two-hour farm tour which includes a wagon ride to the Potomac River at 10 A.M. Saturday. Weekend Programs
- Weekend Day Lodge Use: No tour or wagon ride. For information contact the Alice Ferguson Foundation at 301-292-5665.
Hard Bargain Amphitheater
On many summer evenings, the Amphitheater at Hard Bargain Farm shoots light beyond branch and leaf. Under this canopy of bark, local music and theater come alive, and after a brief stroll down a lit path, the best kept secret in Southern Maryland reveals itself. Built in the early 1930’s by Alice and Henry Ferguson, the original stage was merely a half-circle of concrete set in a natural amphitheater in the woods of their Hard Bargain Farm. For many years, the Fergusons used the amphitheater as a place to gather with their friends and neighbors on summer evenings. They would entertain themselves by dressing up in elaborate costumes and putting on amateur plays. It became a Hard Bargain tradition.
In 1956, the amphitheater was leased by Henry to the Alice Ferguson Foundation, a non-profit organization that was established after Alice’s death to guarantee that the Hard Bargain Farm would be used for the educational and cultural activities that so fascinated Mrs. Ferguson. Today, the Foundation’s mission to connect people to the natural world, sustainable agricultural practices and the cultural heritage of their local watershed through education, stewardship and advocacy.. It is the Foundation that sponsors the Hard Bargain Players.
For information about upcoming performances at the Amphitheater, please visit our Performing Arts page.