Groseclose farm wants to help people learn about alpacas, alpaca-fiber products

SWVA Today       
By: Stephanie Porter-Nichols
Photo: Courtesy of Alpaca Culture
Original content from SWVA Today.  

Last summer, Cyndie and Ken Parkin were contemplating taking a short trip to celebrate their wedding anniversary. Yet, as they gazed into the mountains and night sky from the deck of their hilltop home overlooking a portion of the Appalachian Trail, they struggled to imagine a place they’d rather be.

Now, the couple wants to share their home with visitors, wedding parties and shoppers.

Visitors might just make a few friends at the farm. Besides a cat known simply as Cat, the 20-acre Smyth County farm is home to 17 alpacas with two more on the way. Among that herd is where one finds the inspiration for the farm’s name – Long Neck Lair Alpaca Farm.

Cyndie’s early career years seem contrary to the woman who easily gets feed out of a bin and lets the alpacas eat from her hand. With a marketing background, she worked in the hospitality industry and for the American Red Cross, where she enjoyed working with and helping people. With time, she acknowledged a calling to help even more people. She changed career paths, turning to education. She now serves as a special-education teacher at Holston High School.

Still, the seeds of operating an alpaca farm weren’t planted until she returned to her hometown for a wedding.

Read the rest of this story and view the photo gallery at SWVA Today.