About ThorpeWood

ThorpeWood is a 156 acre mountain property, nestled 1500 feet high in the Catoctin Mountains near Thurmont, Maryland. Our beautiful setting of forests, fields, spring-fed ponds, and native trout streams provides a safe place for our community to heal and grow.

Through this property and our farm animals, ThorpeWood nurtures therapeutic relationships with our natural world to promote empathy, wonder, and restoration. In pursuit of this mission, we deliver free nature and animal based programming and share our property with local nonprofits and educational groups, with a special emphasis on underserved populations.

Through our free programs, we serve a variety of populations in need: financially disadvantaged youth, folks who are grieving, children whose families have been affected by addiction and incarceration, educational groups, teens with mental and emotional disabilities, school staff and nonprofit workers who are battling stress and burnout, and many more. In addition to our free programs, we provide free and affordable community events open to the public to foster a welcoming community of neighbors and friends.

Our Staff

Sam Castleman

President/Executive Director

Sam grew up in North Carolina. He attended the University of Washington, School of Forest Resources, and earned a BS in Forest Management. Sam arrived in Frederick County in 1995, when he began his work as Executive Director of ThorpeWood.

Sam’s greatest work pleasure over the last 28 years is that ThorpeWood is recognized not merely for its timber-framed Lodge, its farm animals, its arboretum, its spring-feed mountain stream and pond but more significantly as a place where a community of folks who identify ThorpeWood as a place of safety, comfort and growth opportunities consider it their “place”. This fact coupled with our effort to give the ThorpeWood experience mainly to those who are the least likely to have such an experience makes our work sweetly rewarding.

Sam is married to Julie whose company, Mountain Memories at ThorpeWood, runs all paid events on the ThorpeWood property. Julie has been part of the ThorpeWood experience since our doors opened in 2000. Aside from being his best friend and life partner, Julie in her inimitable way has been central to ThorpeWood’s development of “community” as all who know her even in the slightest would readily agree. Julie and Sam immensely enjoy spending time with family, cooking, kayaking and exploring our beautiful USA.

[email protected] | 301.271.2823 x103

Katie Guth

Program Director

After being raised on a farm in New Jersey, Katie migrated to Pennsylvania to attend Gettysburg College, from which she received her B.A. in Sociology, with accompanying minors in Education and English. As part of that education, she interned at ThorpeWood and afterward refused to leave. And so, in time, she was adopted as one of the farm animals, a barefoot creature who subsists on mud and sunshine. Given these muddy roots, Katie is passionate about bringing children and adults alike into her world of buttercups and bugs.

On the home front, Katie and her husband, Alec, cohabitate with a variety of cute creatures, including a small pack of dogs (Ruby, Chester, and June) and two little girls (Josie and Ivy).

Katie is a certified forest therapy guide through The Forest Therapy School.

[email protected] | 301.271.2823 x104

Jeff Isaac

Property Manager

Jeff is a graduate from University of Pittsburgh Johnstown with a degree in Marketing Management. He started working at ThorpeWood in March 2019 as Assistant Property Manager, and within a few months, he was promoted to Property Manager. Prior to ThorpeWood, Jeff worked in the pool industry for twenty years. He’s enjoying the change of scenery, the various job responsibilities, and the challenges that come with maintaining a 155-acre farm. In addition to his job as Property Manager, Jeff assists the other programs on the farm as needed. Working at ThorpeWood has been, and continues to be, an amazing learning experience!

Jeff and his wife, Katie, got married at Mountain Memories at ThorpeWood in October 2016. They have a son, Luke, who was born in 2018. In his free time, Jeff enjoys spending time with his family, fishing, playing hockey, watching sports (Go Nats!), and playing numerous musical instruments.

[email protected] | 301.271.2823 x102

Clare Hardin

Community Liaison |  Barn Manager

Clare graduated from Warren Wilson College with a major in Social Work and a minor in Expressive Art Therapies. She has a passion for helping underserved populations and cares deeply for the interconnected web of life that surrounds us. Clare stumbled upon ThorpeWood as a facilitator for Camp Journey, a program for youth with mental health diagnoses that participates in ThorpeWood programming, and liked it so much that she relentlessly volunteered with them until they gave in and hired her.

Clare feels at home surrounded by ThorpeWood’s beautiful animals and landscapes through which she can learn more about herself and the world around her. She especially finds fulfillment in being able to share that experience with those who visit the farm and in fostering relationships between people and animals. Outside of work, Clare enjoys taking care of her many plants, doing yoga, reading underrated YA novels, and cuddling with her cat, Simba.

[email protected] | 301.271.2823 x105


12805-A Mink Farm Road • Thurmont, MD 21788–1402

301.271.2823 • [email protected]

ThorpeWood is nestled in a rocky and heavily forested stream valley, 1,500 feet up in the Catoctin Mountains of Maryland. It is only an hour and fifteen minutes away from Washington and Baltimore, yet offers seclusion and a sense of remoteness.

GPS WARNING: The default routes suggested by GPS navigation apps are neither the safest nor easiest ways to get to ThorpeWood. We strongly suggest you follow our detailed directions below. If you do choose to follow your GPS, for your safety please ignore any instruction to make a U-turn from US15 northbound to US15 southbound. Instead, just continue heading north for 3–5 miles. Your GPS will recalculate and direct you to Route 77, a much safer and easier choice.

Driving Directions

Download a customized printable map and directions from your area:

Support ThorpeWood

Thank you for your charitable contribution to the Merle Thorpe, Jr. Charitable Trust (MTCT), owner of ThorpeWood, LLC. 100% of your contribution to MTCT will go to directly to ThorpeWood LLC in support of its mission to nurture therapeutic relationships with our natural world promoting empathy, wonder, and restoration.

The Merle Thorpe, Jr. Charitable Trust (MTCT) is a private non-profit foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization and all contributions are tax-deductible to the fullest extent of the law. Please consider supporting ThorpeWood through your contribution to MTCT with a gift of $25, $50, $100, $500, $1,000, or other amount. We greatly appreciate your support!

Note: Please ask if your company matches employee giving to non-profits. Thank you so very much!  

Print a contribution form to mail with a check:

We also accept online contributions made with Visa, Master Card, or via PayPal:

A copy of the current financial statement for the Merle Thorpe, Jr. Charitable Trust is available by writing ThorpeWood, 12805-A Mink Farm Road, Thurmont, MD 21788, or by calling (301) 271-2823. Documents and information submitted under the Maryland Charitable Solicitations Act are also available for the cost of postage and copies from the Maryland Secretary of State, State House, Annapolis, MD 21401, (410) 974-5534.