Stock Up on Wooly Things at Alpaca and Llama Farms in Rhode Island
These family-owned operations raise llamas and alpacas and have the knitted goods to prove it.
As the days grow crisp, thoughts turn to wooly things. And Rhode Island has plenty of the live variety to thrill the little ones and cater to your inner kid. Visit these six farms for alpaca or llama meet and greets, idyllic settings and oh-so-soft apparel and yarn.
The Lazy K Ranch
Alan and Ann Kinsley, owners of the Lazy K, got into the alpaca business by accident. “We wanted to start a farm and started looking for goats,” says Alan. As it turned out, goats were hard to come by, but one breeder had two alpacas for sale. “We fell in love and it snowballed from there.”
Five years later, twenty alpacas, including two babies, call the twelve-acre farm home, along with assorted chickens, turkeys, honeybees and, yes, goats. Sure, the alpacas earn their keep — they’re the source of the yarn, socks, shawls, scarves, hats and other items sold at the pasture-side store and farmers markets. (The goats and honeybees also pitch in, providing the raw materials for the goat milk soap and honey that the farm sells.)
But with names such as Petunia, Archie and Schartner, the alpacas have become family to the Kinsleys and their six-year-old daughter. “They’re so sweet and gentle you can’t help spending time with them,” says Alan.
Visit Sundays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. There’ll be an open house Sunday, November 10, with soda, hot dogs and activities for the kids. Come winter, the alpacas are homebodies but you’ll find their goods at indoor markets, and they’re scheduled to make a guest appearance at the R.I. Shriners Fez-tival of Trees Thanksgiving weekend. 71 Beaver River Rd., West Kingston, thelazykri.com
Other Llama and Alpaca Farms:
green river alpacas
Lisa DeWetter and Jonathan King’s forty-four alpacas roam this thirteen-acre farm along with goats, chickens and ducks. Buy alpaca yarn, mittens, hats, scarves and more at the farm store, and schedule a visit through the website. 115 Hallville Rd., Exeter, greenriveralpacas.com
Hope Alpaca Farm
Hobnob with Bill and Hope Ryan’s fourteen alpacas on this twenty-acre farm during open houses on December 7, 14 and 21 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. or by appointment. Buy goodies, such as yarn, mittens and toys from the online store, and schedule a visit via the website or phone. The farm also hosts yoga classes with the alpacas in the summer. 134 Maple Ave., Little Compton, 635-8089, hopealpacafarm.com
Dandy Acres Llamas
Owners Ralph and Brenda Foxwell breed and show the more than two dozen llamas on their eighty-three-acre farm that you can visit by appointment. Llamas can be hired for hikes, to visit schools and libraries or to attend birthday parties. Look for the llamas at Chepatchet’s living nativity in December. Check the farm’s Facebook page for info on fees and to arrange a llama visit or hike. 1486 Snake Hill Rd., Glocester
Matunuck Alpaca Farm
Hang out with owner Carla Davis’s fourteen-plus alpacas on the first Sunday of the month year-round, from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. There’s also a hilltop rope swing for kids to enjoy. Check Instagram a few days before for the address of the farm. Buy yarn and other alpaca goods at Dove and Distaff Rug Gallery (also owned by Davis). Dove and Distaff Rug Gallery, 365 Main St., Wakefield, instagram.com/matunuckalpaca
The Muddy Llama
Visit three llamas and six alpacas at owner Bonnie Lambert’s twenty-five-acre farm, where there’s yarn, apparel such as hand knit hats, scarves and cowls, and felted llama toys for sale. You can also sign up for spinning classes. Schedule a visit via Facebook or phone. 82 Cucumber Hill Rd., Foster, 397-4355, facebook.com/themuddyllama