Open Circle

Culpeper, Virginia, United States

  • Last updated: February 23, 2016 (1 year ago)
  • Listing created on: January 8, 2009

Mission Statement

Artistic Tribal Living

Community Description

Our community is based on personal affinity, which means that persons and relationships come first and everything else follows from that. We are experimental and we embrace change. We have been working at this (under various names) for more than 40 years. We find that the community spirit is powerful and alive and needs to be nurtured every day with caring attention to each other, our feelings, and our needs. We meet every morning for this purpose and to coordinate our action for the day.

We feel that sharing is essential to group living. Some of us share everything – income, expenses, assets, and liabilities. We make group decisions and go up or down together accordingly. We recognize that some people are not ready for total sharing right away and some may never want this. So we have a variety of economic relationships within our community, which we create (and adjust) to suit the needs of those who want to join us. We are open to many economic arrangements. We expect every member to make appropriate gifts of time and money so that we all stay in balance.

Our country place is 97 acres of beautiful mountain land bordering on Shenandoah National Park at the base of Old Rag Mountain. We have a farmhouse, 2 beautiful cabins, a hand-built studio/loft, and many wonderful sites for tent camping. We grow our food crops in a medium-size garden. Most of the land is a mixed-growth forest with streams, springs, and lots of wildlife.

Our small-town place is a three-story mixed-use building in Culpeper, Virginia, and we currently occupy the 3rd floor and penthouse. We have rooms, offices, kitchen, gathering spaces, a studio, a library, and guest spaces. Our roof garden and patio have a great view of the Blue Ridge Mountains. We grow sweet potatoes on the roof and lots of veggies in garden beds all around the building.

Growing Community
We are seeking to grow. We are open to all ages from the very young to the very experienced. We do not want to attract a big crowd in a hurry. We would rather move slowly and build solid relationships. When we engage with new persons, we want to give the time and space for us to get to know each other well, as we take incremental steps toward sharing our lives together. When our numbers grow sufficiently, we will probably form multiple sub-groups based on affinity. We continue to evolve based on the ideas of everyone in the community, which could include you, if you join us.


  • Type(s): Commune (organized around sharing almost everything)
  • Location: Rural


  • Status: We have land we have developed on
  • Area: 97 acres
  • Current Residence Types: Room(s) in a house or building, Tiny house, Yurt, tee-pee, dome, treehouse, or tent, Mobile homes, RV’s, converted buses, Natural built structues
  • Current Number of Residences: 2
  • Housing Provided: Included in Membership
  • Land owned by: Limited Liablility Company


  • Adult Members: 6
  • Non-member Residents: 1
  • Percent Women: 50%
  • Percent Men: 50%
  • Visitors accepted: Yes
  • Visitor Process:

    Open Circle welcomes visitors who share our zest for learning and adventure. We would enjoy hearing from you—if you are friendly, open minded, and resourceful. Let’s start with an email. If you send us your phone number, we’ll be happy to call you.

  • Open to new Members: Yes
  • Additional Comments:

    Everyone is free to follow their own spiritual path.

    We believe in life-long learning through self-education.


  • Decision Making: group decision-making
  • Identified Leader: No
  • Leadership Core Group: Yes
  • Additional Comments:

    Our core group is based on affinity, committment, communication, and actions.

    group decision making based on trust and personal affinity


  • Dues, Fees, or Shared Expenses: No
  • Shared Income: Partial share of income
  • Required Labor Contribution per Week: 0
  • Open to members with existing debt: Yes
  • Additional Comments:

    Most of us share 100% of our income and assets. All members contribute to the pool by taking initiative to find income opportunities. Currently, our members create income by providing services to persons outside the community. We’re open to connection on different levels.

    We expect every member to make labor contributions each according to their resources and abilities. We aim for balance and harmony, rather than a set number of hours.

    We expect every member to contribute financially to the pool, each according to their resources and abilities. We aim for a balanced financial relationship, rather than specific fees or dues.

Sustainability Practices

  • Energy Infrastructure: We are connected to the grid.
  • Current renewable energy generation: Up to 25%
  • Energy sources: Biomass
  • Planned renewable energy generation: 100%
  • Current food produced: Between 26-49%
  • Planned food produced: From 50-75%
  • Food produced locally: Almost All, around 90%


  • Common Facilities: Common House, Garden(s), Greenhouse(s), Vehicle Share, Library, Workshop, Outbuilding(s), Hot tub or hot springs, Tractor & Farm Equipment, Fire pit, Internet
  • Internet Available: Yes, community provides it
  • Internet Fast?: Yes, exceptionally.
  • Cell Phone Service: Good for some people.
  • Shared meals: Approximately all meals
  • Dietary Practice: Omnivorous (plants and animals), Paleo (no grains, dairy, processed foods, or legumes), Local (food sourced within 150 miles), Organic (no pesticides or synthetic fertilizers), GMO Free (only non-genetically modified organisms), Mostly Vegetarian, Mostly Vegan, Opportunivore (dumpster diving, nature harvesting, etc.), Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free
  • Dietary Choice or Restrictions: No – people may eat however they wish.
  • Special Diets OK: Yes
  • Alcohol Use: Yes, used occasionally.
  • Additional Diet Comments:

    We aim for a healthy diet.

    Dietary practice is up to each individual.

    in moderation

    You must go outside to smoke.

  • Common Spiritual Practice(s): Ecumenical (accepts all religions or spiritual practices), Not a particularly spiritual or religious community
  • Education Style(s): Up to each family or individual
  • Healthcare Options: Up to each family or individual

Additional Comments

We have rural and small town properties.

Photo Gallery

Community Network or Organization Affiliations

The Fellowship for Intentional Community (FIC)

Community Affiliations

Ganas, Point A DC, Acorn, Twin Oaks

Fair Housing Laws

This community acknowledges that their listing does not include any potential violations of the Fair Housing Law, or that they do not provide housing. For any questions about this topic please see our Content Policies and contact FIC with any questions or concerns: [email protected].