Innisfree Village Marks 45 Years

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Innisfree coworkers, staff and members of the Modern Improvisational Music Association (MIMA) sing at 45th anniversary.

Innisfree Village celebrated 45 years of offering a home to adults with intellectual disabilities and the full-time, volunteer house-parents who have lived with them in the spirit of “lifesharing” since 1971. In Innisfree’s environment, its residents and the individuals who care for them share their workweeks and their home lives as families do.

Innisfree hosted a birthday party at its annual Family Day celebration Nov. 19. Almost 200 invited guests attended; many were family members of Innisfree’s residents, some of whom have been associated with Innisfree since its founding.

The festivities included a craft fair, entertainment by Innisfree’s residents with the nonprofit improvisational music group MIMA (Modern Improvisational Music Association), a luncheon, and commemorative birthday cakes. A touching moment was a tribute to Tom Nicholson, one of Innisfree’s cofounders, who has been a guiding force for all 45 years of its existence.

“Family Day brings out the magic in Innisfree every year,” said Innisfree Executive Director Rorie Hutter. “I feel a sense of awe and deep appreciation for the initial vision of a handful of parents all those decades ago whose dream was to create a place where their loved ones with disabilities could thrive. Innisfree today is a testament to the dedication of these families.”

Innisfree is a fully licensed, not-for-profit, non-sectarian, 550-acre community located north of Crozet that provides a home for approximately 40 residents, called coworkers, in 10 residential houses in its rural village and in two residential houses in Charlottesville. Innisfree also has a program for “day coworkers,” who spend workdays at Innisfree and return to their families’ homes when the workday is finished.

Innisfree is known for its handicrafts, granola, farm products, and organic vegetables, made by coworkers in on-site therapeutic workstations, including a weavery, woodshop, bakery, farm, vegetable garden, herb and flower garden, community kitchen, art studio, and pottery studio.

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