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Literary Travel

Literary Travel: Colorado Alpaca Farm

I’m excited to take another look through my literary travel lens. What books can I read before I visit a place to learn before I go? What books can I read that will transport me through the pages when I can’t actually visit a place? Today’s literary travel adventure is a visit to a Colorado Alpaca Farm.

As with most of my posts, some links may be affiliates. At no extra cost to you, I may make a small commission on your purchase.

Colorado Alpaca Farm: Background Info

No visit to Western Colorado would be complete without a drive through the Fruit & Wine Byway of Palisade, CO. This agritourism route has stops at various peach and lavender farms…and even an alpaca farm! A stop at the Suncrest Orchard Alpacas is an opportunity to take an alpaca out for an afternoon stroll through the peach orchards. But the visit doesn’t end there! You can also tour the mill and see the process from alpaca to hats and sweaters. And then you can buy your very own alpaca souvenir!

Often confused with their camelid relative, the llama, alpacas are distinguishable as they are considerably smaller than llamas. Descended from vicuñas, alpacas are not bred to be work animals but instead are bred for their soft wool. While alpacas are native to Peru, there are about 50,000 alpacas in the United States. Alpacas primarily communicate through body language, most commonly using spitting to show dominance or when they are fearful.

Bonus Fun Fact: Some alpacas can be house trained!

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Read Before You Go

Whether you are planning a trip to visit a Colorado alpaca farm and want to read before you go or you’re hoping to meet the alpacas through the pages of the book, these books will transport you to the farm.

Although this book isn’t specifically set on a Colorado farm, Jonathan Stutzman’s Llama Unleashes the Alpacalypse is all about alpacas. (Grab your copy from Amazon or Bookshop) An entertaining story that is sure to get the youngest members of your family excited about meeting alpacas.

The whole family can explore the topography of Colorado with Louise Doak Whitney’s C Is for Centennial: A Colorado Alphabet (grab your copy from Amazon or Bookshop). Walk through the alphabet with gorgeous illustrations of the Rockies, Blue Spruces and the varied landscape of Colorado.

Take a step back in time and explore Colorado in the 1920’s with Avi’s The Secret School (grab your copy from Amazon or Bookshop). Ida secretly takes over as the teacher when the one-room schoolhouse in her remote Colorado area closes unexpectedly. Anyone who had childhood dreams of being in charge will enjoy this trip back in time to schools nearly 100 years ago.

Literary Travel: The New York Public Library

I love books. A lot. I love to travel. A lot. So I often view books and travel through the same lens. I call it my literary travel lens. What books can I read before I visit a place to learn before I go? What books can I read that will transport me through the pages when I can’t actually visit a place? Today’s literary travel adventure is a visit to the New York Public Library.

As with most of my posts, some links may be affiliates. At no extra cost to you, I may make a small commission on your purchase.

New York Public Library: The History

The iconic New York Public Library first opened its doors to the public on May 24, 1911 (the dedication was on May 23) checking out N. I. Grot’s Nravstvennye idealy nashego vremeni (Ethical Ideas of Our Time) at 9:14 a.m. More than 100 years later there are now more than 50 million items and 92 locations in the NYC Public Library system. It is the second largest public library in the United States (the Library of Congress is the largest) and fourth largest public library in the world!  

The original branch, and arguably most famous, is located at Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street. This branch is home to the famous New York Public Library Lions, Patience and Fortitude. It has also served as the home to actual families! A few months before the library opened to the public John H. Fedeler moved into the library with his family and worked as the library’s live-in superintendent and engineer. (Read more about growing up in the library HERE)

Today the library is worth putting on your Things to See in NYC list! You do not need a library card to enter the library, get materials from shelves, or listen to free talks. However, you do need a card (available to residents of New York) to check resources out of the library. Begin your visit by watching a short 12-minute film about the library which plays every half hour. Then you can set off to explore the many areas of the library. Including a book train that transports books from underground to the Rose Main Reading Room (you can watch a video of the train in action HERE)

Bonus Fun Fact: You can get married at the New York Public Library! But it won’t be cheap!

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Read Before You Go

Whether you are planning a trip to visit New York City and want to read before you go or you’re hoping to explore the library through the pages of the book, these books will transport you to the shelves on Fifth Avenue.

For the youngest family members, read Josh Funk’s Lost in the Library: A Story of Patience and Fortitude. You can grab your copy from Amazon or Bookshop. This delightful picture book is all about the lions who stand out front and greet visitors to the library each day. Until one day when Fortitude finds Patience is missing and he must find his friend before the new day begins.

For the elementary and middle school members of your family (or for interested grown-ups!), pick up a copy of The Story Collector by Kristin O’Donnell Tubb (grab your copy from Amazon or Bookshop). This mystery is inspired by the real life of Viviani Joffre Fedeler, who was born and raised in the New York Public Library.

The adults in the family can read The Lions of Fifth Avenue by Fiona Davis (grab your copy from Amazon or Bookshop). Follow along as two generations of women navigate the fallout from book thefts at the library in the early 1910’s. Alternating between 1913 and 1993, Laura Lyons and her granddaughter Sadie Donovan, explore the history of the New York Public Library and how the impact it’s had on their family.