December 6, 2023

Visit Hidden Spring Lavender & Alpaca Farm For Lavender Products and Fun with Alpacas

’TIS THE SEASON: Montgomery, the 2 1/2-year-old alpaca, and Marie Voorhees, owner of Hidden Spring Lavender & Alpaca Farm, are all decked out for the holidays. Montgomery was the first baby alpaca born at the farm.

By Jean Stratton

Avisit to Hidden Spring Lavender & Alpaca Farm engages on many levels. It’s a chance to spend time in the relaxing atmosphere of a country setting with fields of fragrant lavender. Opportunities for shopping are abundant in the special Gift Shoppe, and then there are the alpacas!

Twenty-three alpacas live at the Hidden Spring Farm and are a captivating attraction for enthusiastic visitors, who may even schedule a 20-minute walk with one of these appealing animals.

Opened in 2014, and located at 890 County Route 601 in Skillman, it was the dream of Marie Voorhees. After a career in the corporate world, she decided to head in a new direction. She and her husband Steven purchased her parents’ 25-acre farm, and it was the perfect spot for a new adventure.

“When we came to live here, I wanted to have something pretty out front,” she explains. “It had to be animal resistant because of the deer and rabbits, and lavender is resistant.”

Soothing and Relaxing

“I had also always loved gardening,” Voorhees continues, “but I had no experience with lavender, although I had always liked it and its clean, refreshing scent. It also has soothing and relaxing properties. I thought I’d like to try it”

She started with 1,000 plants, and once the lavender began to bloom, people started stopping at the farm and wanting to purchase the lavender. Each year more plants were added, and now there are more than 5,000.

“I was particular about including different species and fragrances, and all have individual character.” points out Voorhees. “We grow 15 different types of lavender, including English and French, and we combine several different varieties to get our own distinctive scent. We plant it in the spring, and it is harvested in June and July.

“Strangers kept coming up the driveway, asking about the lavender. They said the farm was a ‘hidden treasure,’ and we decided to call it Hidden Spring Lavender Farm,” she adds.

With the lavender flourishing, the next step was to open a shop, offering a variety of lavender-related products, which she made by hand herself.

“People began asking for lavender products like lotions and creams, and I learned how to make them. I had known how to make soap, and I had done a lot of sewing, and one thing led to another.”

Charming Showcase

The former cow barn was transformed into a charming showcase to display Voorhees’ handiwork, and now there is an amazing selection of 200 different items. Aromatherapy lotions, creams, moisturizers, a variety of beauty products, shampoos, carpet fresheners, dried lavender wreaths, sachets, candles, plush Buena Bear teddy bears filled with lavender, culinary lavender for cooking, a special lavender tea blend, and even lavender specialties for pets, including pet shampoo and pet spritz  — all of these and more are on hand.

“All our products are made of 100 percent pure lavender essential oil and from lavender grown right here,” reports Voorhees.

In addition to the lavender, she has introduced a number of beehives throughout the property, which she oversees. The honey from the hives is available in the shop, and is extremely popular.

With the arrival of the alpacas, who are sheared for their fiber (as their  fleece is known), there are now many alpaca-related products in the shop. Sweaters, hats, headbands, scarves, socks, gloves, yarn, and pillows are all available. Incredibly soft to the touch, all these items are favorites, especially now for holiday shopping.

Custom gift baskets filled with assorted lavender items are also available for all occasions.

Rental Opportunities   

In addition, the farm has become a popular spot for weddings, anniversary and birthday parties, showers, and other events. Rental opportunities are especially in demand especially from April through October.

The arrival of the alpacas is a story all its own. Originally, for 20 years, a number of horses were stabled at the farm. In time, as Voorhees explains, “I needed to transition from the horses, and since we had the stables, we could have other animals. I knew friends who had alpacas. I became interested in them, and my friends mentored me.”

And there was a lot to learn!

Alpacas are herd animals, so Voorhees began with four, two males and two females. Gradually, she began to add more.

“We started to breed them for their fiber, and we also take them to shows, typically to Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia. They are judged for the quality of their fiber and body conformation, and our alpacas have won many awards.

“They have become a big attraction for all our visitors. Children love them, and so do adults. Really, all ages love the alpacas. They are shy animals, but can be friendly when they get to know you.”

POPULAR TWOSOME: Three-month-old Penelope (left) and 5-month-old Ophelia enjoy life at Hidden Spring Lavender & Alpaca Farm in Skillman, where they live with 21 other alpacas.

Baby Alpacas

A great deal of work is involved in their care, and Voorhees has learned to tend to their needs in many ways.

“They need regular health checks, have to be weighed, have worming injections, nail trims, and dental exams, all of which I do,” she says.

In addition, she even oversees the deliveries of the baby alpacas! She also selects names for each alpaca resident.

When Voorhees started on that new adventure almost 10 years ago, she did not know what to expect — other than it would be something new. “I thought it would be nice to have my own business, but the success is more than I ever imagined. It’s wonderful! I love the chance to be creative and see people enjoy my products. And now, of course, they get to meet the alpacas.

“I enjoy the variety of what I do,” she continues. “Meeting the people, making the products, and I love taking care of the animals. It has really evolved into quite a story.”

Customers are sharing that story, and are coming from all over the area — from Princeton and Hopewell, all across New Jersey and beyond. As the word spreads, the numbers continue to grow, as people arrive from New York, Pennsylvania, and farther away.

The word-of-mouth has been remarkable, adds Voorhees, and there are many regular customers. They seem to like everything, she points out, including the wide price range, which extends from $4 to $50 and more. A typical price for many customers is in the $9 to $15 range.

For All Seasons

Voorhees is unquestionably a woman for all seasons! Lavender expert, product creator, seamstress, beekeeper, alpaca caretaker, businesswoman — and more. She finds a way to do it all.

“I love what I make, and I take pride in what I have done,” she says. “I love to see everyone enjoying themselves when they come to our farm. It is a special place, and we are happy to share it with all our visitors.”

And indeed, an important part of Hidden Spring’s appeal is its lovely rural setting. The farm’s location invites customers to spend time in what is almost another world, filled with natural beauty, a relaxed and restorative atmosphere.

It is open to visitors year-round on Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and also on Friday until Christmas. From January through March, it is open Saturday only.

Aspecial event will take place on Saturday, December 9 from 12 to 3 p.m., when Santa will be at the farm. Visitors may have their picture taken with him and an alpaca!

For further information, call (609) 558-7034. Visit the website at