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Sunday, September 20, 2009

Apple Hill Farm - Alpacas and Llamas and Donkeys! Oh my!

I thought I'd take a few moments to reminisce about our Summer vacation up on Beech Mountain this past July. We packed so many fun things into our visit last time that I'm still behind on blogging about them all. One really fun day was our visit to Apple Hill Farm - the Apple Hill Farm in Banner Elk, NC, that is.

One fine Saturday afternoon, we took a 20-minute drive off the Mountain to go visit . . . Alpacas! And Llamas, donkeys, chickens, goats, horses and . . . well, let's not forget the farm dogs and cats. They typically give tours (tickets cost about $10 for adults, and less for kids) on Saturdays Spring through early Fall. And the tour is extensive, lasting 1 1/2 hours (although, in our case, our group got along so well with our guide, our time stretched to closer to 2 hours).

We got to meet just about every animal there and learned a whole lot, even the parents, which I wasn't really expecting (being a Mom of a 5-year-old involves going to a LOT of farm tours over the years, including farms w/ Alpacas). Learned some very interesting things about what it takes to process Alpaca "fiber" (they do not refer to it as "wool" or "fleece"). You will be impressed with the amount of work it involves.

The tour involved a lot of rambling over hills and in and around various farm buildings - good exercise for all, and the younger kids got to burn off excess energy racing from one interesting thing to the next, which all parents no doubt appreciate.We explored the vegetable garden, petted horses, donkeys, goats, etc. (Incidentally, Alpacas don't like to be touched - they have a highly-developed sense of personal space, I guess - but we got to hand feed 'em.) We also witnessed an exciting and noisy football play when a hapless Japanese Beetle fell into the chicken coop and instantly became the object of desire to every free-range fowl in the place.
Anyway, I'll let the photos tell the rest of the story about our Apple Hill Farm visit. We'll definitely be back. I hear that in late September, the new baby Alpacas will make their appearance, and later on the breathtaking views and shady farm lanes will be a sight to see when Autumn turns the leaves to unbounded color.

To Learn more "fresh from the farm," visit www.applehillfarmnc.com.
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