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One hour from Dallas: girls’ day trip to Gainesville

Did you know that the perfect girls’ getaway exists just one hour from Dallas? A day trip to Gainesville, TX allows you to get away from the hustle and bustle and be home by dinnertime. Step out of those high heels, and wear something farm-worthy, because today, you’re headed to the country! Here, the cell service is spotty but the views are uninterrupted!

Set off on a day trip to Gainesville!

Aubrey Oaks Alpaca Farm

I don’t know about you, but I love alpacas. Their big eyes, crazy hair, and sweet humming sounds easily land them at the top of my list of favorite animals. I’ve made it my mission to hang out with as many as possible, and I’ve succeeded in Peru, New Zealand, Scotland, Israel, Australia, France, Germany, and now I’ve found alpacas near Dallas, Texas! I can’t think of any better way than to start the day by visiting the alpacas at Aubrey Oaks Alpacas! (In the summertime, I recommend an early start so you don’t melt in the heat.)

Visit the farm

Charles and Debbie have raised alpacas on their farm since 2009, and are incredibly knowledgable about the animals they raise. If you’re considering alpaca ownership, their website has everything you need to know about purchasing your first alpaca, raising them, and even how to set up an alpaca business. If you just think alpacas are adorable, for a gate fee of $20 they welcome visitors to the farm to learn about these incredible creatures.  

Audrey Oaks Alpaca Farm females

Many of these alpacas are award winners and you can expect to hear all about the factors that make an alpaca show-worthy. Charles takes the time to explain behaviors, genealogy, and physical characteristics that make each alpaca unique. For example, the first cria (that’s the term for a baby alpaca) born at the farm is a rose grey alpaca. Typically, grey alpacas have a “tuxedo” appearance (white on their chest and stockings), but Cadence (nicknamed Cady) is grey all over. You might notice that lots of the alpacas are named after musical terms– that’s because Charles is a musician!

Cady, a grey alpaca at Audrey Oaks Alpaca Farm

Feel like someone’s watching you? Alpacas are curious, and it’s not uncommon to feel several alpaca eyes on you as they try to figure out the crazy masked strangers in their pens. (Can you imagine how confusing our COVID-fueled behaviors are to animals!?)

Audrey Oaks Alpaca Farm

I think the highlight of the trip to Aubrey Oaks Alpaca Farm for me was this little cria, Rhapsody. Just like human babies, she had a hard time staying awake! 

Sleepy cria

Wakey cria

And just like human mamas, mama alpacas take their naps wherever they can. In this case, the cria’s mom used her baby as a headrest. 

Alpacas enjoying the shade

Take home an alpaca-themed souvenir

Once you hit your cuteness quotient for the day, check out the alpaca-themed souvenirs. I can never resist anything alpaca-related, and left with a new toy alpaca and a couple of pom-pom scrunchies from Peru– the alpaca’s native land! They also sell purses, travel bags, pens, ornaments, and alpaca fleece dryer balls, among other great alpaca items.

Lavender Ridge Farms

Next up on today’s rural adventure itinerary, head down the street seven minutes toward Lavender Ridge Farms

The land’s been in the same family for over 150 years, and this is a family full of green thumbs! It began as a strawberry and melon farm in the 1920s and 30s… but now, it’s a pick-your-own lavender farm. During the season (late May to early July), you can visit the farm and clip your own bunch to bring the fragrance of Provence home with you!

Lavender Ridge Farms

Lavender Ridge Farms Cafe

While lavender doesn’t grow year round, the Lavender Ridge Farms Cafe serves up lavender-infused meals all year long in a gorgeous outdoor oasis or screened-in patio. 

Lavender Ridge Farms Cafe

While you’re here, you must try the lavender honey chicken salad for lunch, accompanied by a lavender lemonade. Pro-tip: substitute the potato chips for a dill-icious potato salad!

Lavender honey chicken salad

Save room for dessert, because the lemon lavender gooey butter cake is one of the best gooey butter cakes I’ve ever eaten! It’s even better than mine– and that’s my signature dessert!

Lemon lavender gooey butter cake

Visit the animals of Lavender Ridge Farms

After you’re stuffed full of floral fabulosity, pay a visit to the lemurs, colorful birds, and donkeys who call the farm home. 

Ring-tailed lemurs at Lavender Ridge Farms

Birds at Lavender Ridge Farms

Donkey at Lavender Ridge Farms

Stop and smell the roses

Bask in the lush green surround as you stroll through their extensive gardens. Watch hummingbirds and butterflies flit through the garden, unhindered by human intrusion. 

Gardens at Lavender Ridge Farms

Peaceful garden

Say goodbye to the country!

Before you hop in your car, don’t miss the gift shop! From lavender margarita mix to relaxing essential oils, they’ve got you covered. If you have a green thumb, check out their selection of live plants for a souvenir of the day that will last as long as you remember to give it water. 

Grateful and thankful for your visit sign

Right now, I’m not traveling too far from home, but this day trip to Gainesville was the perfect way for my mom and me to go on an adventure while maintaining social distancing. I hope you have as much fun with the alpacas and lavender lunch as I did!

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