About Us

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Kendal Marie holding alpacaOur incredible journey began over 13 years ago.  When one afternoon my wife asked me, “what do you think about selling our home and raising alpacas”? I said, “let's do it”.  My wife spent countless hours researching and gathering information about alpacas.  She coordinated the purchase of five alpacas at two local alpaca farms.  We continued to educate ourselves about these amazing animals.  The more we learned, the more we fell in love with them. We were very excited about this new adventure!

So, in the fall of 2009, we put our house up for sale.  It sold 21 days later.  Fortunately, we had an agreement to stay in the home until July of 2010.  We were looking at two to three properties a week and not having any luck.  By this time, it was now March of 2010.  We were getting nervous to say the least.  We decided to go look at a piece of property in Starks.  This was further away than we wanted to go, but we were running out of options and time.  The minute we came around the corner we looked at each other and knew this was it.  We immediately fell in love with this property.  It was perfect! We made an offer that afternoon.  And in April, we pulled in the driveway with the U-Haul trucks.

Kendall and Marie shearingWe immediately began transforming the property to what is now Sandy River Alpacas. While we were transforming the property to accommodate the alpacas that we had purchased, we continued to research and learn as much as we could about alpacas.  My wife took a birthing class, and I went to New York to learn how to shear alpacas.  Even to this day, we still learn something new about these guys.  I'll never forget the first time we were doing our first herd health (once a month the alpacas get a deworming shot, we trim their nails, and we take a general look at them to make sure everything is OK).  My wife was straddling one of our males looking at something, when suddenly he got spooked and he jumped up and took off with my wife on his back, riding him out of the barn.  Needless to say, we don't straddle them anymore to do anything. It was one of our many learning experiences, fortunately no one got hurt and we still laugh about to this day.

For the next four years, we raised, bred, and purchased additional alpacas eventually bringing our herd to a total of 34.  2014 saw a downturn in the Alpaca industry.  We were at a crossroad.  To continue breeding alpacas we would need a new, larger barn, a new herdsire and at least one new female.  While we were deciding what we were going to do, our daughter got married here on the property.  Everyone at the wedding, including our daughter, said “you need to host weddings here.  This property is beautiful and it's perfect for it”.   So, we changed our direction and started downsizing our herd to put our resources into what is now Sandy River Outdoor Weddings and Events.  We knew moving forward that the alpacas were going to be an integral part of what we did here.  We had learned early on that people are fascinated with these amazing animals. As we were and still are.

Music Festival 400pxKendal & MarieWithin our first full year here on the property, we knew we wanted to create something that would bring people to the property so they could enjoy it as much as we do. For the next three years, we hosted outdoor weddings and events.  It was going okay, but we felt that there needed to be something else. We then decided to start hosting music festivals.  In 2018, we had our first bluegrass festival. That was also the year my wife and I got married right here on the property.  We had been together for 19 years and decided it was time.  We had our second bluegrass festival in 2019 and were planning to add a country music festival and another bluegrass festival for 2020.  We all know what happened next.  COVID-19 shut the world down.  As with so many others, that gave us time to reflect.  Even though the festivals and the weddings were doing well, it just wasn't what we had envisioned.

In June of 2021, we became a Harvest host site and that's when it all changed for us. For those of you who may not be familiar with Harvest host, a host site is a place where RV’s and campers can go and stay for one night with the understanding that they purchase something from our business.  By the end of September 2021, we had hosted nearly 60 guests.  We kept hearing from our guests, both directly and in their reviews, how much they loved the property, the tranquility, and the uniqueness of the alpacas.  Hearing this from our guests was so gratifying.  I'll always remember the time we had two couples and their children staying with us.  I was outside watching the kids run around riding their bikes and having so much fun.  The parents were sitting around the campfire relaxing, watching their children playing and having fun.  I looked at Marie and I said, this is my vision, this is what I want.  I want to create a place where parents, their children and individuals can come relax and just feel like they are in their own backyard.  We knew then what we needed to do next. Open a campground.

Sandy River CampingOn October 7th, 2021, we were approved by the town to open a campground.  Not just any campground, but one that is centered around the alpacas and the concept of offering a unique experience.  This is not, nor will it ever be, like a typical campground.  Here, like our Harvest host guests, you will feel like you have your own little piece of paradise, not packed in like sardines.  Eventually, we will have a total of 20 sites with two cottage rentals scattered throughout the property.  You will always have your own little piece of paradise.  After two years of working full time, saving the money, and doing all the work that we could do ourselves, we are now ready to open on May 24th, 2024.  We are proud to say Welcome to Sandy River camping.  Come camp with the alpacas!


Sandy River Alpacas
1005 New Sharon Road
Starks, ME 04911
(207) 504-0138
(207) 751-0447

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