Reporter: Lauren Compton l Videographer: Jemon Haskins
Thaxton, VA-Tourism in Bedford County is getting a big boost from some unusual four-legged animals. People are coming from all over to get an up close look at furry, funny-looking Alpacas in Thaxton.
The owners of the Alpaca farm did not envision their place becoming a tourist hot spot, but they welcome anyone who wants to learn or have some fun with these unique animals.
They are big-eyed, playful, and lots of fun to watch.
"I think Alpacas are very unusual animals. Most people don't know what an Alpaca is, "said John Ferrante, co-owner of Otter Peaks Alpaca Farm in Thaxton.
And that curiosity is bringing tourists in from all over.
"We had a couple from Norway. We had to have an interpreter, because they couldn't speak English," said Ferrante.
Alpacas are relatives of camels and llamas. And if you're extra curious during a visit you'll get a whole history on the life of Alpacas.
"They come out we teach them about the animals, and the care of the animals," said Ferrante.
And, forget what you have heard about Alpacas spitting or biting. We were able to pet the Alpacas, and give them a snack.
"They can't really bite you they only have teeth on the bottom," said Cindy Ferrante.
The couple from Syracuse New York didn't set up shop in Thaxton to be a tourist attraction. John and Cindy Ferrante say the real money maker is what's on the Alpacas backs.
"Alpaca fiber is one of the finest fibers in the world. It's very durable. It's very fine to work with," said John Ferrante.
The Alpacas were recently sheared for their fiber. Cindy uses theirs fiber to make all kind of things.
"If you can think of it, you can do it. I've recently been making wine cozies. I needle felt little animal for the children, and I make it into yarn," said Cindy Ferrante.
She even makes hats, teddy bears, and all kinds of clothing.
"It is the warmest fiber you can put on your body. It is comparable people say to Angora or cashmere," said Cindy Ferrante.
If you want a good sweater or a good laugh tucked away in scenic Thaxton the Alpacas will be waiting.
The Ferrantes also help people set up their own Alpaca farms. If you would like to visit the Alpaca farm, be sure to make an appointment in advance.
If you would like to visit call 540-587-6766 or 540-525-0965. You can learn more on their website.