I’ve been kidnapped by camelids:
You can click to embiggen if you don’t believe me.
But from the looks of things, I don’t really need rescuing:
In fact, please don’t rescue me, because the gorgeous girls you see above are all part of Nicholas’ imaginative pre-Christmas surprise: a secret trip to a wonderful llama-farm-slash-bed-and-breakfast.
We’d originally planned a week off driving from blustery Canada to spend the holidays with my family in Illinois. At some point in the planning process, I came up with the idea of the two of us spending a day or two alone–you know, having one of those vay-cay-shun thingies everyone talks about.
It was then that Nicholas decided I needed a huge treat, and he proceeded to plan the entire itinerary himself, complete with secret sidetrips along the way, to be revealed only at the last possible minute.
Only one hint was given: He told me I might want to take boots suitable for walking around in the mud, and perhaps clothing that could get dirty wouldn’t be a bad idea either.
“Dirty?” says I, all innocence and shine-of-face.
“Dirty,” says he, flailing a bit at being pressed. “You know…dirty. As in, you wouldn’t mind if someone…spit on them.”
“Spit on them!?? Who is going to spit on me?” says I, blinking my eyelashes at him charmingly.
This is where he really started to sweat.
“Welllll….we’re going to be seing Beth and Jason’s new baby, right? You are going to want to hold her, and she’ll spit up on you. So I meant spit up, not spit.”
I admit that at that point, I truly hadn’t guessed what his plans were. The result was that I climbed into the car on Monday morning without a clue as to where we were driving, or what route we were taking, or even where we were going to sleep that night.
I didn’t find out until several hours later. It was after dark when we pulled into the circular driveway of Topliff’s Tara Bed & Breakfast, a working llama farm and small B&B inn in beautiful Williamston, Michigan. It was so dark, in fact, that I couldn’t really see the bright red barns very well:
And I certainly did not see the words “Llama Farm” nor the cute images of llama faces on the sign out front.
It wasn’t until we were being shown around the cozy kitchen area of the inn that I began to realize this was more than just a romantic trip to a not-so-ordinary bed & breakfast. I looked up, and perched up on one of the shelves was a small statue of a llama. I laughed, and pointed, and said, “Oh, look, honey, it’s a llama!”
Innkeeper Sheryl and husband Nicholas exchanged amused, yes-we-know-that glances, and after a moment or two of silence, Sheryl let me know the final part of the surprise: “Well, yes, it is a llama–because this is a working llama farm.”
I believe I may have actually squealed out loud. I do know that at some point I was kissing Nicholas in front of Sheryl and telling him he was the best husband ever. It’s possible there may have also been a certain amount of bouncing up and down and saying “Llama farm! We get to see llamas!” about every forty seconds or so.
I then found out that not only was it a working llama farm, but our host Sheryl is actually a spinner and a knitter herself, and her husband Don is a weaver (in addition to his day jobs as commercial pilot and llama wrangler). The thick, warm throw rugs on the floors were Don’s creations; and around the inn are scattered evidences of Sheryl’s passion for spinning wheels. In fact, when I went into our room’s bathroom and looked up at the skylight, I saw this:
Want a better look? Sure you do.
Not every bathroom comes complete with spinning wheel. But the past couple of days, ours did.
Over the course of our two-day stay, we got to hang out with the llamas for a while each morning along with our hosts, and I took about six hundred photos of cute llama faces and cute llama blurs (because llamas can move very fast when they want to, or when there is food to be had). I obviously have quite a bit of photo sorting to do; I’ll have more photos and stories to share about the llamas and the inn over the next week or so.
Truth be told, I’m writing this on Christmas Eve morning, and it’s about time to go fix a cup of coffee and wrap some more presents.
But before I go, just a few more photos from our stay at Topliff’s Tara.
Merry Christmas, everyone. Peace and bright blessings to all creatures, great and small…