Tag Archives: alpacas

North American Alpaca Show (West Springfield, MA)

Dates of Event: March 31-April 2, 2017 (photos taken April 1)

Location: Eastern States Exposition Center, Mallory Building, 1305 Memorial Ave, West Springfield, MA (2 hours west of Boston, MA)

Cost: Free

Parking: ample parking is provided, free of charge, at the rear and side of the Mallory Building

Handicapped Accessible: Yes

Highlights: Alpacas, Alpaca shows, products made from Alpaca fleece

Web Site: North American Alpaca Show

DSC_0387

Known for their seemingly ever present signature smile and calm demeanor, alpacas are one of the more popular animals in the New England area.  Alpaca farms have been springing up more and more in the Northeast area.  In fact, the New England Alpacas Owners and Breeders Association (NEAOBA) lists 85 breeders in the New England and New York area.  Many of these breeders and owners met last weekend at the Eastern States Exposition Center in West Springfield, MA.  The owners and breeders came as far away as Phoenix, New York and parts of Maine and Vermont.

Besides being absolutely adorable and generally calm animals, alpacas are said to be very smart animals.  They often tend to pack together, you know like you expect from alpackas.  Okay enough word play.  For now.  As you can see from the photos below, they do like to be close to each other.

But, I did manage to get a few Alpacas on their own to photograph which was hard to do since they were all packed in there together (I told you I wasn’t done with my word play).  There are so many different colors and sizes.  Fun facts: the average alpaca can grow to be 150 to 175 pounds!  They also have a life span of 15-20 years and can grow to be as tall 3 feet at the shoulders and 4.5 feet tall by the head.

I also liked this “Alpaca photo bomb”

DSC_0216

Alpacas are shown and judged (they all received ribbons from to last place) and they are generally calm while they are being shown, except when their personal space is encroached.  But, overall they were very graceful.

Some of the alpacas appeared to mouth the metal fencing of their pens.  This is not uncommon.  In fact, one owner said he keeps baby teething rings for his alpacas and they enjoy using them.

DSC_0176

Most of the alpacas were very friendly, albeit a little guarded.  But, once they warm up to you, they were very social.  In fact, they seemed to pose for me.  That is what I noticed most about them.  They seem to have a lot of personality.

There were also several people selling many products made from alpaca fleece.  They sold a variety of products made from  alpaca fleece.  They were even selling alpacas made from alpacas (fleece). Being an animal lover, I inquired about the shearing process and I was informed that it is a simple, quick process that does not hurt the animals.

One of the cool things about these cuties is how they communicate to each other in a variety of ways such as through posture, the movement of their tails and some of them even make a noise the owners and breeders call “humming”.


Maple Brook Farm (Westfield, MA)

Dates visited: December 16, 2015 and December 21, 2015

Tucked away one of the many side roads of West Springfield, MA, is an unexpected place.

DSC_0055

The Maple Brook Farm is home to a variety of alpacas.  It’s not everyday that you get to see alpacas grazing from the road so I thought I would stop by.

They tend to cluster together so it was hard to take photos of them alone.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The driveway to the farm is usually open, at least during non holiday daylight hours.  When I went to visit, there was no staff or anyone else there but the public is welcome and there is no charge.  I just wish I knew what alpacas eat.  I would have brought them a treat.

The grounds of the farm are well groomed and there are many structures and statues that liven up the area.  It is definitely worth a visit.


Mystery Hill – a.k.a. “America’s Stonehenge” (Salem, NH)

From the moment you drive into the parking lot of Mystery Hill, (a.k.a “America’s Stonehenge”) in Salem, New Hampshire,(the other Salem in the New England region) you know it’s a special place.

DSC_0753

DSC_0793 DSC_0784

There are strange rock formations and….

DSC_0787 DSC_0780

…a bridge in the front entrance welcomes you from the past.

DSC_0804

and brings you to the future

DSC_0810

DSC_0797

But, the front entrance of America’s Stonehenge is only a tease.  Once you exit the gift shop (it costs $12 for adults and $7.50 for kids), you are greeted by some Alpacas on the right.  They are fenced but they are very friendly.

DSC_0860

DSC_0242

There are also a variety of time keeping devices which, to this day, still keep correct time.

DSC_0854 DSC_0847 DSC_0878  DSC_0880

But, some of the things I liked best were not the structures or rock formations but the statues, flowers, decor and the hollowed out canoe.

DSC_0887 DSC_0867 DSC_0851 DSC_0904   DSC_0898  DSC_0888 DSC_0070 DSC_0141 DSC_0897

DSC_0903

But, the main attraction are the rocks and rock formations.  The name “America’s Stonehenge” is somewhat misleading. There are no structures that bear any real resemblance to the actual Stonehenge.

Even though Mystery Hill bears no resemblance to Stonehenge, there are some interesting facts about the site.  Some of the rocks used in the structures at Mystery Hill were quarried using primitive stone-on-stone techniques and have been carbon dated as far back as 2,000 B.C.

DSC_0984 DSC_0022 DSC_0016  DSC_0964

Mystery Hill is a children’s play land.  Forget about all of the rock climbing.  They are also able to walk in some of the structures, such as, the Oracle Chamber and they wouldn’t have to duck to be able to walk in the smaller spaces.

DSC_0040 DSC_0036  DSC_0024

There is a sinister legend that overshadows the light atmosphere of the attraction.  According to legend, the area here was a spot for sacrifices.  Stories of ghostly apparitions and huantings have been reported.  I decided to go and see for myself.

DSC_0059

I didn’t see or hear anything unusual, at least not of the other worldly variety.  But, the legends still persist.

The area is pretty expansive.  It claims to be 30 acres but feels much longer.  The best parts of the area were the random rock structures and the views.  And, of course, the foliage.

DSC_0166

DSC_0186

DSC_0157 DSC_0174  DSC_0180  DSC_0187  DSC_0004 DSC_0085 DSC_0080 DSC_0067 DSC_0090 DSC_0106 DSC_0109 DSC_0115  DSC_0134 DSC_0132 DSC_0128 DSC_0137 DSC_0208 DSC_0199

There is also an area where it is believed the Nov. 1st sunrise was watched from.  It is amazing when you consider they could identifty the best place to view the sunrise, way before we had scientific devices to use.

DSC_0198

DSC_0200

Although the rocks and rock formations were impressive, my favorite part of the attraction was the alpacas.

DSC_0856