The three week visit is a structured program designed to give the visitor some general education and experience in living at Twin Oaks. It is an opportunity for the visitor to consider membership and for the community to consider prospective new members. The visit is a prerequisite to applying for membership (although anyone is welcome to do a 3-week visit whether or not they are applying for membership), and visitors need to spend at least one month away from Twin Oaks at the end of their visitor period. The fee for the three-week visit is on a sliding scale of $50-$250. This is used to pay for outreach and to offset expenses of the visitor program. We strongly encourage people with significant financial resources to pay at/towards the high end of the scale. If you can't afford to pay at the low end of the scale, we can make arrangements for a reduced fee. The visitor learns about what it's like to live at Twin Oaks, including the financial, legal, health, labor and governmental structures at Twin Oaks.
Work. The visitor takes part in the work of the community and is required to work 42 hours a week, just as members do. Visitors are assigned some work, and have some choice in the types of work they do. Members often invite visitors to work with them on specific projects in a variety of work areas, and interested and/or qualified visitors can often pick up jobs by speaking with the manager of the work area. There are some jobs requiring familiarity with Twin Oaks or specialized skills that visitors do not take part in.
Accommodations. Visitors are housed in our 6-bedroom, 2-bathroom visitor building. Depending on the size of the visitor group, you may be asked to share a room with one other visitor. Smoking is not allowed in the visitor building. Your visitor group will meet together to determine quiet hours and cleanliness standards for your group.
Cultural Expectations. We're not Utopia yet, but Twin Oaks strives to center anti-oppression and social justice work amongst our membership. This work includes creating a racially just, feminist, and queer/trans- affirming culture. We acknowledge that Twin Oaks is a primarily white organization and seek to constantly evaluate our culture and create a place where people of color feel welcome and comfortable. We encourage women to do work that has traditionally been the domain of men and vice versa. We expect everyone to honor people's chosen names and gender pronouns. If you're unfamiliar with concepts such as white privilege, feminism, and transgender issues, we encourage you to do some of that work before applying for membership at Twin Oaks in order to become a better ally and support our values.
People-Of-Color Advocacy. The Racial Equity Team (RET) is available to advocate for POC visitors, guests or members in the case that this may be needed.
BIPOC Travel Fund. Twin Oaks provides a travel fund for BIPOC who participate in the Three Week Visitor Period. Please let us know if you are interested in using this fund.
Guests of Visitors. Members of Twin Oaks may invite friends or relatives as guests, but we ask that visitors not invite guests.
Pets. Visitors are not allowed to bring pets with them. Our Pet Policy allows a certain number of dogs and cats here, and the pets that we have are contingent on space being available in a compatible residence. Generally, new members do not bring their pets with them, but find someplace else for them to live. We do have a Waiting List for cats and dogs, but there are rarely openings. Pets are different from service animals. If you have a service animal, please contact us for further information.
Mental health needs. Although Twin Oaks commits to providing for the basic needs of our members, we are only able to provide a limited amount of care related to mental health needs. Basically you need to be able to function well within the work and interpersonal structures of Twin Oaks in order to be accepted for membership. Someone with a history of recent suicidal tendencies, serious substance abuse problems or major, unresolved emotional trauma may have difficulty adjusting to communal life here. In extreme cases, an individual may choose or be asked to leave.
Timing. For some people, their economic situation makes it impossible to participate in a traditional three-consecutive-week Visitor Period. In some cases we are able to arrange for someone to break up their visit in order to accommodate their work schedule, etc. Please email us if you have any questions about this.
Children. Twin Oaks does accept new members with children when there is child space available. Families visit longer than the standard three weeks, and must make arrangements with the Child Board. If you are a family interested in community living we also maintain a list of communities we are in contact with that are interested in having more children living at their communities. For more information please contact us by email
Age Policy for Joining Twin Oaks. In the past Twin Oaks has had an age cap policy. We have abolished that policy, and people of all ages can participate in the membership process equally.
What To Bring The visitor building is well-stocked with bed linens, towels, and toiletries, including toothpaste, soap and shampoo. These are available for you to use during your visit. There will be laundry facilities available for you to use during your visit.
PLEASE DO BRING:
- Clothing: for general everyday wear and also work clothing (which may get dirty)
- In winter: heavy jacket, warm shoes and/or boots, long underwear and warm pajamas
- In summer: lightweight clothing (we have a humid climate and no air conditioning!)
- Footwear: including at least one set of closed-toe shoes or boots for work
- Cash, check, or money order made out to Twin Oaks or Twin Oaks Community for your visitor fee (sliding scale $50 - $250), to be turned in on Saturday morning at the beginning of the Community Tour. We cannot process credit or debit cards.
- A willingness to respect and abide by our norms, and to be open to the particulars of our alternative culture
YOU CAN BRING (IF YOU WANT A SPECIFIC KIND YOU LIKE) BUT WE ALSO PROVIDE:
- However, please do not bring very strongly-scented body products, and do not bring perfume or cologne
YOU MAY WANT TO BRING:
- Camera (can be used within our photography norms)
- Cell phone (can be used within our cell phone norms)
- Musical Instrument (to play with the multitude of musicians we have here)
Please be aware when bringing valuables that none of our interior or exterior doors have locks. We have a pretty strong culture of trust, and almost never have problems, but we cannot guarantee the security of any valuables and the community does not take responsibility for any losses.
Although it is possible to do your entire visitor period without spending any money, you may wish to bring some money to buy things not ordinarily provided by the community (eg. junk food, coffee, etc). We ask that you not spend more than $75 during this time, as this would exceed the amount of personal spending money available to members, and will give you an idea of this aspect of living at Twin Oaks. Similarly, we also ask that you not drive your car during the visitor group, to experience not having a personal vehicle while living here.
Arranging a Visit
A visit is arranged through correspondence rather than over the phone. Write us a Letter of Introduction according to the instructions here. Indicate your first, second, and third choices of visitor sessions (see the Program Calendar). If you need to break the visit into two or more shorter sessions, let us know what times you would be available. The best way to get the visitor session you want is to write well in advance. If you are coming with another person, each of you should write individual letters, rather than a joint letter.
You can send your letter of introduction by email or postal mail. Please send your Letter of Introduction as text in the main body of the message. Please only send the photo of your vaccination card as an attachment. Send only plain text email, not HTML formatted mail! Send letter of introduction in body of email message. To email your Letter, please send it to
After we receive your letter and preference of dates, we will contact you and confirm your visit. Please let us know as soon as possible if you decide to cancel so we can offer your place to someone else.
If you are under the age of 18, Twin Oaks requires legal consent from a parent or guardian in order for you to visit. Please contact us for further information.
You can phone the community to make inquiries about the community or the visitor program, or to get directions, but don't try to schedule your visit over the phone. The best time to phone is during regular office hours (9:00 to noon and 12:30 to 5:30 weekdays, 9:00 to 3:00 Saturday.)
The Letter of Introduction
This is the community's opportunity to get to know you a little before we invite you into our home. The Letter of Introduction should be about the equivalent of 1-2 printed pages—if it's too short, we won't be able to get a good sense of who you are. Be sure to include all of the information requested; missing content will result in a delayed process. It should include the following:
- the name you generally go by / that you would like to use while here
- your legal name (for reference, will not be shared publicly)
- your age
- your gender and pronouns
- the dates of the visitor period you are interested in
- the work or studies in which you are currently involved
- your work history
- your hobbies and interests
- how you heard about Twin Oaks
- why you are interested in visiting community, and why Twin Oaks in particular
- your recent covid exposure in the last 2 months. Have you had symptoms yourself? Have you been in contact with anyone who has had symptoms or who has been diagnosed with covid?
- your vaccination status. We are only accepting fully-vaccinated people to visit (initial vaccination only; boosters are encouraged but not required). Please include a photo of your vaccination card along with your Letter of Introduction
- any physical ailments or limitations (e.g. back problems) which would prevent you from doing certain kinds of work
- any special skills you have or work you like or dislike, e.g. indoor work vs. outdoor work
- if you have any children, and their ages, even if you are not planning on visiting with them
- your permanent postal address (or "most permanent")
- a phone number where you can be reached previous to your visit
- if you are emailing us from a school-based address, please include an additional non-school email address as well
- Emergency contact information: we need information for a relative who we can contact in case of an emergency during your visit. We need five (5) pieces of information:
- the person's full name
- their relationship to you
- their postal address
- their email address(es) and
- their 24-hour phone number(s).
The letter of introduction greatly helps to pave the way for a newcomer to Twin Oaks, and will be posted for the membership to read. Someone in our diverse population is likely to share some of your interests.
Please address all correspondence to:
Twin Oaks Community
138-W Twin Oaks Road
Louisa, VA 23093
Please do not send your Letter of Introduction as an attachment--send your Letter of Introduction as text in the main body of the message. Please only send the photo of your vaccination card as an attachment, or you can embed the photo in the body of the message. .
Phone (540) 894-5126
Fax (888) 424-8838
Visitor Dates for 2024
If you are interested in visiting please send a Letter of Introduction and specify which group you are interested in.
Do not just drop in. We are not able to deal with people who just show up. The person to contact to arrange a three-week visit is Valerie. Please contact her at