You may be wondering how it was, exactly, that we ended up at an alpaca farm on a hilltop in Westchester County, smack-dab in the historic Hudson Valley region of New York State. Well, we’d tell you, but we know you wouldn’t hear a word. Your eyes have likely already jumped to those cute alpaca faces. We get it, we really do.
About Faraway Farm
Faraway Farm is an alpaca farm located just an hour away from Manhattan in Yorktown Heights, NY. They offer tours by appointment, and we wasted no time scheduling a visit. Perched upon a hilltop, Faraway Farm is the perfect vision of bucolic bliss. Think green pastures, an antique tractor and whitewashed fences. Your hosts and tour guides, Leda Blumberg and Steve Cole, own the farm and are on hand to welcome you the moment you arrive.
Leda’s parents purchased the land in 1951, when they escaped Brooklyn for a simpler life. But it wasn’t always an alpaca farm. That began nearly 12 years ago when Leda and Steve shifted the focus of the farm from sheep, chickens, cows, goats, and horses over to breeding and selling alpacas and fleece-related products. The prior sheep barn is now an office, farm store, and vet room. A remodeled horse barn now houses pregnant alpacas. A variety of services are also offered by the farm, including breeding, boarding, consultation, and photography. You can also host events here, one of our fellow guests was considering throwing her birthday party there. (Who wouldn’t want to be on that guest list?)
What to expect
The tour offers the opportunity for visitors to enter the pasture, walk amongst the alpacas, and to interact with them. Your initial reaction will be to run towards the animals (while squealing loudly), but Leda and Steve provide a thorough rundown of “alpaca etiquette” before letting the guests enter. This isn’t just for your safety, but also to keep the alpacas at ease. While you enjoy the company of the alpacas, Leda and Steve will provide you with interesting facts about alpacas, and share warm anecdotes from their experiences raising their animals. You won’t just learn about how long the gestation period for an alpaca is, you’ll also learn that Layla loves to kiss and that Zigi Stardust is the baby (born shortly after Bowie’s passing). The affection for each animal comes through in their stories. It’s one big, happy family here.
Some things to keep in mind:
When you reach the hilltop, park your vehicle at the first structure, prior to passing the farm store with the antique tractor parked in front. Though there are no clear indications of where to park, there’s room directly across from that first structure.
Faraway Farm is an active farm. What this means is this: it’s not a petting zoo, a carnival, or an amusement park. There are no officially listed operating hours and the farm is not open to the public. Tours are done year round, but strictly by appointment only. Groups are also limited in size so you get the most out of your visit. Contact Leda to schedule an appointment.
Pay attention to Leda and Steve’s tips and you’ll be rewarded. Rather than approach the animals, we let them come to us, then only pet them lightly on their neck when they allowed it. They made their rounds, even posing for photographs with a little baby!
Make sure to take advantage of the farm store. The alpaca yarn is tagged with the name of the animal it came from, so if you fall in love with one of the alpacas you meet, you can take a memento of him or her with you. The garments and textiles sold at the store are either handmade by local artisans or imported from Faraway Farm’s fair trade partners in Peru. You can also shop their beautiful (and soft!) hats, scarves, gloves, blankets and more online.
Besides the alpacas, Faraway Farm is also home to two Icelandic horses who you’ll get to meet. And as always, the drive to Westchester County offers scenic views.
“They’re a lot like cats,” Leda said. Like we really needed another reason to fall in love with alpacas.
Thank you to Faraway Farms for hosting us.
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