Heading out for a leisurely drive on the back roads around Woodstock, Vermont, is always a treat. Whether the view captures the lush greens of summer, the tones of fall foliage, or the white covering of snow in the winter, the landscape provides amazing variety with its rolling hills, winding streams and farm meadows. One particular road on the way to nearby Windsor, however, leads to quite a surprise. As you round a bend, a field appears where you instantly wonder if you have somehow been transported to the Andes Mountains – Weaving Dreams Farm is the proud home of a beautiful herd of Suri alpacas! One of a few alpaca farms located in our neighboring communities, Weaving Dreams was “founded” by Lauren Anderson just a few years ago as a result of her longstanding desire to own a farm. Returning to Vermont after quite a long time in other parts of the country, she had dreams of raising animals on her property in the state. Having lived for a while on a property where the owner raised alpacas, she found the key to that next step in her life.
Alpacas are domesticated, social (among themselves, not necessarily with humans…) herd animals bred for soft fiber used in woven and knitted products. The Suri breed (the one you see at Weaving Dreams) is known for their distinctive locks which are sheared yearly and spun into a soft, silky component used to create warm socks, sweaters, blankets, etc. And a particularly appealing characteristic is that the fiber is hypoallergenic! Lauren’s animals were sheared in spring, so they were just beginning to have short “dreadlocks” in their coats during our visit. She encouraged us to pet the neck of one of her friendliest females and, oh my, silky is an understatement!
You may know of alpaca farms focusing on meat sales, which is definitely not a goal of Lauren’s enterprise. “I just can’t think of that…,” she shares as we stand near the field. She prefers to focus on fiber and is about to receive her first supply of home-sheared yarn from her beautiful female, Marilyn. Current colors in the group we see in the field include a soft “ivory” and shades of gold and dark brown. Lauren would love to add a grey and/or black animal to complete the array. She also enters a few of her animals in competition, having received some recent accolades with a few of her prized herd.
A visit to Weaving Dreams, however, allows you to also see and purchase the products that alpaca fleece creates. Lauren offers a boutique space full of beautiful capes, sweaters, blankets, etc. She also highlights the work of local artisans beyond the alpaca theme – another love of hers, gardening, becomes clearly evident as you approach the shop and also as soon as you enter through the door to see the beautiful garden ornaments crafted by a local artisan.
We highly recommend a visit to Weaving Dreams Farm and Boutique to experience the beauty of Vermont and the adorable passion of another one of its special residents!