MANSFIELD — Taking a walk is good for what ails you.
But taking a walk with friends or family and an alpaca or two might be good for what ails all of us.
At Alpaca Meadows, 1200 Rock Road, Mansfield, area residents are letting the pressures of everyday life melt away as they take a walk with alpacas around the trails on Julie and Matt Petty’s sprawling land.
Many from Galion may remember Julie and Matt as they owned and operated the Hallmark store in Galion for over 30 years. They’ve operated Alpaca Meadows for 17 years and just this summer started up the alpaca walks.
“We’re not the first farm to do it,” Julie said of the alpaca walks.”I’ve seen it in other countries, mostly. We were just looking to bring people to our farm, especially right now during a pandemic.”
“We’re like everybody else,” Matt said. “We were looking for something to do that was safe and this is something you can do outside, with social distancing. People can get outside and enjoy nature and interact with the animals.”
Julie said they have a beautiful piece of property with various trails, a hay field and wooded areas.
“I walk back there all the time and I thought people need to see this. We should be able to share this somehow,” she said. “We started the alpaca walks just a few months ago.
“I think a lot of people love alpacas and this is a chance to have an encounter with an alpaca outdoors, enjoying nature. For some people it’s on their bucket list. It’s an out-of-the-ordinary experience and I guess that has an appeal to people”
For now, the walks only take place between 8 and 10 a.m., because Julie said the alpacas get hot later in the day.
But as soon as they get cooler weather they will be offering the walks at different times.
Julie noted they usually tell people to give about an hour for the walk, as it takes time to harness the animals, learn a little about the animals and even take photos before they head out onto the trails. She said the walk itself usually takes about 30 minutes. The cost for the walks are $50 for two alpacas. Matt and Julie said they have to take out at least two alpacas at a time because they are herd animals.
“They don’t do well by themselves,” Matt noted.
For each additional alpaca on a walk the cost is $25, and they are limiting the walks to four alpacas at this time.
Julie said people have been very receptive of the walks, even saying they want to come back and bring friends and family the next time.
The Petty’s became interested in alpacas after visiting a farm one summer with their children and decided they wanted to try their hand at raising the animals.
“That’s where it all started,” Julie said. “One thing led to another, I subscribed to an alpaca magazine and did the research and spent the next five years trying to convince (Matt).
“Once we made the decision and actually got some animals it was an easy decision after that, because you just fell in love with them,” Matt said.
“They are just very gentle animals, there is a peace about them,” Julie added. “For me, we do a lot with the fiber, as far as the end product. But for me the whole cycle of birthing a baby, caring for the baby, training the baby and then finally shearing it and doing something with their beautiful fiber, it’s just really satisfying.”
Photo courtesy Alpaca Meadows
Matt and Julie Petty, owners of Alpaca Meadows on Rock Road in Ontario, are offering up relaxing, enjoyable walks with their alpacas.
Photo courtesy Alpaca Meadows
A relaxing walk with an alpaca or two is a good way to forget about your troubles for a while. The walks are available just a few miles from Galion. Visit www.alpacameadows.com for more information.