Apple Hill Farm is located off the beaten path near the North Carolina, mountain town of Banner Elk. They don’t advertise; but depend solely on word of mouth, and that seems to really be working out for the beloved animal sanctuary.
The farm’s main focus is alpacas, not apples! However goats, ponies, and lamas can also be found on the property. Mr. Pickles the pig is a celebrity in his own right, serving as one of the stars in Banner Elk’s massive 4th of July parade; he was pulled in a personal carriage by a sweet pup.
You can tour Apple Hill Farm 7 days a week until mid October; call ahead for availability. You’ll also want to stop by their shop for local honey made on site by their very own bees. A variety of alpaca products, like socks, yarn and finger puppets are made from Apple Hill Farm’s sheered wool.
3 Reasons to Love Alpacas
If local goodies and gorgeous mountains aren’t enough to lure you ; here are a few reasons you’ll fall in love with the farm’s stars.
1. They are hilarious, whether it be their quirky stare or instinct to spit at another alpaca to claim victory over the food. When one alpaca spits on the nose of another, the struck alpaca has to breath out of its mouth while working to clear its nasal passage, thus meaning the other wins. Lee Rankin, the owner, has many fun facts like this to share.
2. They make the softest socks! Alpaca wool is not only sustainable, it’s the cozyiest animal material that doesn’t pose any harm to the life of alpacas. Those guys gladly give up their coats during the steamy summer. Apple Hill ships off their wool to have a variety of products produced, and Rankin was wearing a pair of socks herself, the day we took our tour.
3. You can knit amongst them! Being perhaps the most unique thing to do at the farm is knitting in a field of alpacas, with yarn made from the wool of the same alpacas. It’s been wildly successful and Rankin plans to continue the unusual, fun activity. The view is insane as well, and the animals are so cute. I guess people find it relaxing and therapeutic; I can see why!
Alpaca Hill Farm is a gem, and the people there really love what they do. It’s a unique way to experience the outdoors and local economy of Banner Elk.