Historic Ellmore Farmhouse reopens with new cafe and gift shop run by people with disabilities

Elmore House Service Source ribbon cutting ceremony on May 1, 2024 (courtesy of ServiceSource)

The historic Ellmore Farmhouse at Frying Pan Farm Park has finished renovations and is now ready to offer programming for adults with disabilities.

The two-story farmhouse, which dates back to 1891, was restored and repurposed by ServiceSource, a national nonprofit that provides employment training and support resources to adults with disabilities.

It will serve as one of a dozen Long-Term Community Integration Services (LTCIS) program sites that ServiceSource operates in Virginia. The program offers people with “significant disabilities opportunities to build skills and pursue their interests,” according to a press release.

In addition to providing case management and therapy services, the program helps participants get involved in community activities based on their interests. At Ellmore Farmhouse, participants will oversee the daily operations of a new Blossom Daily Café and Bloom Gift Shop.

The cafe sells salads, sandwiches, drinks, and other light fare to park visitors, while the gift shop features hand-crafted items made by artisans with disabilities, according to ServiceSource.

“We’re excited about the Ellmore Farmhouse, because it offers such a variety of experiences to people in the LTCIS program,” ServiceSource Chief Operating Officer Ken Crum said in a press release. “The location in Frying Pan Farm Park provides the chance to tend a garden, interact with the animals on the farm, and serve as guides for tours of the house, in addition to participating in recreational activities, current events education, and expressive therapies.”

With the approval of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, ServiceSource secured a sublease for the farmhouse in February 2022 through the Fairfax County Park Authority’s Resident Curator Program.

Under the program, county properties can be leased long-term at no expense to tenants. In exchange, the resident curators are required to preserve the historic properties and promote them to the public. The cost of restoring the farmhouse was roughly $715,000, per a ServiceSource spokesperson.

ServiceSource and several stakeholders, including Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn, Park Authority Board Member Bill Bouie and FCPA Director Jai Cole, attended a ribbon cutting on Wednesday (May 1) to mark the official opening of the center.

“I am excited that ServiceSource’s new program will bring something new to one of our most popular Fairfax County parks,” Alcorn said in a press release. “Now through Ellmore Farmhouse, people with disabilities will have wonderful new ways to experience this unique park and interact with others in our community. This is inclusion, and it is a wonderful example of our One Fairfax policy.”