When I imagine my kids’ toddler bucket list, I’m pretty sure an alpaca farm makes the top 5. Little did I know; it’s one of my top 5 too.
Our trip to Nashville was full of the typical touristy stops, but I really wanted to find a hidden gem the kids would love. Our friend and super talented photographer, Billie-Shaye Harper suggested we check out Long Hollow Suri Alpacas in Gallatin, TN, about 45 minutes outside of Nashville. Boy, were we in for a treat!
Long Hollow Suri Alpacas farm was started in 2002, by Karl and Jan Heinrich, as a cruelty-free alternative to traditional farming. They raise the cutest bunch of alpacas I’ve ever seen, process their own fiber, and make beautiful alpaca yarn and garments. They’re designer, Jessica creates one-of-a-kind garments with her stitch design and original patterns and their 3-D knitting machine. Our behind-the-scenes tour was awesome.
I had no idea that alpaca fiber is naturally wrinkle-free, repels moisture and dirt, and feels like your own personal puffy cloud.
This sweater is one of their original pieces, the one that started it all. And, as you can see from the wall of awards, it started quite a legacy.
After a quick call ahead, Karl was kind enough to take us on a tour of the farm. We started in their farm store and factory. The beautiful, sustainable products they make right there on the farm are heirloom pieces. Karl mentioned that the area rug will last long after he’s gone.
Then, Jacques, Evie and I got to take a tour of the factory while the rest of the gang napped in the van with Grammy (toddler travel life, am I right?).
The Heinrich family not only processes their own fiber, but they also process fiber for alpaca owners across the country and the world.
The Long Hollow designer, Jessica creates her own stitches by hand, then turns those stitches into a digital pattern that she sends to the 3-D knitting machine. Karl mentioned that they could have made an original design for us while we toured the farm. How cool is that?
After our tour, Evie was more than ready to check out our new furry friends out in the pasture. The whole gang joined us, and we spent a while feeding them treats and enjoying their adorable smiling faces. Did you know alpacas can’t really look up? Their eyes are socketed to the side and down, so if you want to get close, be sure to crouch down where they can see you. I think this is why they love kids!
Next time you are in the Nashville area, be sure to stop by the farm. It is so much fun for all ages!
Thank you, Billie-Shaye Style for these beautiful photos and memories.