Thanksgiving at Fairfield Farm

November 25, 2013

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Fall cattle view JPEG

For years, all during the 1940s, my father was searching for a place in the country where he could relive his early years riding horses and tending sheep.

Finally, in 1950, he found his dream place, Fairfield Farm in Hume, Virginia, not too far from Front Royal, Virginia.  He acquired several hundred acres at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains.  It was about an hour's drive from Washington.

Through the 50s, 60s and 70s – in fact, until he passed away in 1985 – Fairfield Farm was my father's favorite spot to visit.  He acquired several horses which were rather wild as they were very seldom ridden.  But my Dad could ride them all and was never even close to being thrown off.  In fact, he had been riding since he was a small boy.  I can’t say the same about some of his guests, including E.T. Benson,  Eisenhower’s secretary of agriculture; and George Romney, Mitt Romney's father.  Both were thrown off of Dad’s wild horses.

Thanksgiving dinner at Fairfield became an annual family event.  My Mom would cook the turkey with all the trimmings.  My wife, Donna, and I and all of our children would join with my folks and my brother Dick and his wife, Nancy, and their four children.

Now my parents have passed on, but the tradition continues.  Dick and I and our families eat turkey at the farm on alternate years.  But things have changed.  The wild horses are gone, replaced by several more docile, sleepy ones used by visitors on trail rides and they never fall off.  There aren’t very many sheep left and we certainly do engage in different activities.  My sons come ride trail bike motorcycles; they play a lot of flag football.  But the turkey dinners are the same, and of course we in the couch potato category love to watch the NFL on the big TV screens.

We also take time to give thanks to our Heavenly Father for all His many blessings -- for good health, for great food, for enduring love to one another and for our testimonies that God lives and there is eternal life beyond the grave.  We all feel my Dad and Mom are smiling down from above as we celebrate another wonderful Thanksgiving at Fairfield Farm. 

I'm Bill Marriott and thanks for helping me keep Marriott on the move.

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Fairfield Inn was a great place to experience this weekend. Loved my horse.."Bentley"
Very beautiful and great staff!

Thank you for the wonderful reminder of Faifield Farm. I remember it as a young child attending Marriott Associate Picnic events (Hot Shop Days). My Dad was a District Manager of many Maryland Hot Shops and we spent a couple of summers at the annual event.

I was reading the wonderful story related to your Thanksgiving dinners at Fairfield Farms. The story is so heartfelt, it reminds me of my childhood. My mom and dad were so family and church oriented, those values were number one in our home. My parents had 6 kids, 3 boys and 3 girls, we lived an average life, growing up in Brooklyn, New York. We had the best Thanksgivings in our 5 room apartment, in a six family house. The best part of growing up in those five rooms, with six kids was having each other. The home was never quiet and there was always someone there to talk to. My dad was extremely strict (Sicilian from the old school), but that is what kept us all in line and instilled in us all, lifes most important values. I am now a mother of one and a grandmother of 9, and I love each and every moment of my time with my family. I relocated to Utah from New York 10 years ago, to be with my son and grandchildren. It was the best move I'd ever made in my life. I was fortunate to gain employment at a Marriott property, (Salt Lake Marriott Downtown @City Creek) and I love every moment of my time spent there. My Heavenly Father, my family and my career are the most important luxuries in my life, and I hold all extremely dear to my heart. That is my blog,I hope everyone enjoyed reading my story. Happy Holidays to all and to all a Goodnight, LOL.

Happy to hear the tradition continues with the Marriott family and thank you for opening up such a wonderful place to the public - we love going there as well! It's such a nice, relaxing getaway... perfect weekend escape.

Dear Mr.Marriott,
I have been taking my family to The Camelback resort in Scottsdale since 1988.
We try to go as often as possible but for several years now The Camelback has become our Thanksgiving destination.
Thank you so much for this excellent resort, for maintaining and improving it over the years.
It is truly my most favored place to visit.
Thank you.
Hopefully i will be visiting many years in the future but if not have been blessed to visit even once.
Ken Spear

Dear Mr. Marriott -

About seven or eight years ago my wife and I were looking for a quiet, relaxing spot for a long weekend and a friend told us about Fairfield Farm. We were able to get a reservation and spent the most interesting, fun, relaxed weekend that we've enjoyed in a very long time. It was different from anything we had done before. We wondered how much time the Marriott family spent there and it was a nice feeling knowing we were sharing their home away from home.

We wish you and yours a very blessed Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Neil and Joan McCormick

I love all your blogs, but especially the ones about family! These always bring back pleasant memories of my own family. Especially at holidays! Thank you Mr. Marriott!

Reading this message reminds me of why I have loved representing the Marriott brand over the years. To be a part of a company that is so successful with it's leader firmly grounded in his faith is inspiring. Thank you, Mr. Marriott for sharing this special family moment with us and helping us to remember that all things are possible through faith.

As usual it is a pleasure and an enjoyment reading your blog and particularly when you re-visit years past which clearly assimilates to many of America's families thoughts and remembrances during the Thanksgiving holiday and the opportunity each of us has to truly be thankful for God's many gifts of life, family and happiness.

God Bless you and your family.


As a young Marriott manager in the late 60s I remember visiting Fairfield Farm with my family. Your dad invited many associates to come and enjoy spending a day with him and your mother. A great way to connect us to the culture of the company ... good memories.