Pack your bags for an intown Atlanta Airbnb with its own mini alpaca farm
As I drove through the neighborhood, along an ordinary residential street just a mile or so southwest of Northlake Mall, I could never have guessed that hidden behind one of the typical suburban Atlanta homes was an adorable Airbnb with an adjoining legacy farm housing a small herd of alpacas.
But as soon as I pulled up the gravel drive that leads past the main house, I looked to my right and spotted them. There, behind a fenced plot marked with a sign noting it as a certified wildlife habitat, was not just a handful of the cutest alpacas you’ve ever seen, but also a llama, a huarizo (a cross between an alpaca and a llama), dozens of chickens and a couple of rabbits. Thus began my stay at the Decatur Alpaca Cottage.
After dropping off my overnight bag in the adjacent cottage, I met Marykay Mentzer, the property’s owner and caretaker, for the bonus Alpaca Experience I had signed up for. All guests of the Decatur Alpaca Cottage can watch the animals over the fence and take pictures galore, but with this special host-led tour, you get to go behind the gates to interact and feed treats to the flock. Mentzer shares her encyclopedic knowledge about the menagerie, as well as the history of how her little backyard farmstead came to be. In an Instagram-worthy moment, you even get to have your picture taken kissing one of the alpacas.
After meeting Beau, Loverboy, Skyboy Blue and the other critters, Mentzer then showed me the adjacent herb, vegetable and perennial gardens; outdoor eating area; firepit and some of the highlights of the cottage itself. The one-bedroom bungalow has been on the site for more than 70 years (the land was once a dairy farm), but it has been transformed into a chic, eclectic lodging with all the modern conveniences. Mentzer did the decorating herself, and the decor is delightfully big on the property’s featured creature, with alpacas on everything from the doormat to a decorative pillow on the plush queen-size bed to the set of dominos in the game closet.
My favorite cottage amenity was the cozy screened porch, where I kicked back with a glass of wine from the complimentary bottle of Willamette Valley rosé. Rather than drink it in one of the provided wineglasses, though, I thought it more appropriate to sip it from the alpaca festooned coffee mug.
Despite the fact the Decatur Alpaca Cottage is on the same acreage as Mentzer’s own home, it’s still very private. And even though it’s right next door to where the alpacas and the rest of animals are housed, there’s absolutely no farm-like smell (if you catch my drift).
When my stay was over and I cruised back down the gravel drive onto the main road, I felt rested, rejuvenated and 100% convinced that every Airbnb needs its own herd of alpacas.
Decatur Alpaca Cottage
Lodging from $235 a night
Award-winning writer and editor who has penned stories for CNN, Woman's Day, Good Housekeeping, and dozens of other outlets.