What started as a whale-watching trip off the coast of the Pacific Northwest in July 2005 has evolved into what is now Gulf Breeze Alpaca & Sheep Ranch & Lodging. After picking up a cozy scarf on her trip, putting it around her neck and feeling the amazing fabric, Lynn Christoph, a knitter herself, had to know where the material came from. Weeks of searching later, she found out it was made from alpaca yarn. On a subsequent trip to the PNW in 2006, Christoph planned a full weekend on San Juan Island, where she discovered an alpaca farm. Her first face-to-face with the fluffy animal on a misty morning was all it took; she was smitten.
The following year, Christoph purchased three alpacas from a farm outside San Antonio and started her family’s business on five acres of land with her husband Mark. Since then, it has expanded to 30 acres and is home to 13 alpacas and nine sheep that her family is eager to share with the community in a multitude of ways.
Over the years, the Christophs have learned how to shear the animals that were bred and born on the ranch, bypassing the need to transport them for shearing. “From field to fashion,” as the Christophs say — the fleece of the alpacas and sheep are made into the yarns and rovings for sale or for use in creating finished products such as socks, gloves, scarves and shawls, all available for purchase at the Fiber Arts Studio and Shop on the property. The yarns and rovings are made in a variety of weights and are suitable for knitting, crocheting, weaving and other fiber arts … all of which visitors can learn more about via the various classes available at the farm.
In addition to the fiber products and classes, Gulf Breeze offers a variety of farm tours, lodging and “Alpaca 101,” which presents guests with the unique opportunity to learn more about feeding, watering and tending to the animals on the grounds and other elements of the alpaca farm lifestyle. The Christophs are also registered Harvest Hosts for self-contained travelers to park their RV or vans on the property for overnight stays.
Whether it’s a class, a tour or a weekend away at one of the lodges, the Christoph family has created a one-of-a-kind experience by bringing alpacas to the Coastal Bend and sharing them with all those who visit. Now you too can have a face-to-face encounter with these impossibly fluffy animals and be captivated by their charm.