Roadtrip! / Asha Sanctuary
Visit an enlightening haven for former farm animals
Photo by Eric Frick
2969 Coomer Road, Newfane
Agritourists, animal lovers, and families
47 min. 36.1 mi. • 190 N -> NY 270 N -> 179 N
When Tracy Murphy rescued two cowering sheep and a sick calf from a livestock auction in 2014, she could not have anticipated the journey she was about to take. After scooping up the calf from what she refers to as a “brutal auction,” Murphy cared for him inside her home against the advice of friends, including her local vet, who suggested she put him down. Murphy asked for a miracle, whispering into the calf’s ear, “You’re going to be fine, Albert, you’re going to be a famous cow someday, you’re going to be a ‘Super Cow!’”
Five years later, Albert is just that. “Albert, the Super Cow” is the face of Asha Sanctuary in Newfane, a nonprofit organization that rescues, rehabilitates, and provides shelter to abused farmed animals. Asha not only provides respite to animals, but offers opportunities for people to visit and interact with the animals and find out just how much personality farm animals have.
Albert now has plenty of friends, including Tracy and Anu, the two sheep who came from the auction. Asha is now home to four cows, four sheep, two donkeys, one goat, five pigs, two turkeys, and a brood of chickens and Cornish hens, all of whom are happy to see the scores of people who come to visit them. Murphy wants people to understand that these animals have personalities and emotions just like domesticated pets. To Murphy, they are family.
Understanding all too well the inhumane treatment of farmed animals, Murphy promotes the vegan lifestyle at the sanctuary, and it’s a pivotal component of the newly constructed educational center. At the center, visitors learn about veganism and vegan alternatives, dive deeper into the world of farmed animals, and get a glimpse of the common practices associated with animal agriculture. A small vegan menu is available on premises from Albert’s Super Kitchen and vegan ice cream is offered gratis after guided tours.
This year, the sanctuary is hosting its fifth annual “Kiss a Cow” minifestival on Saturday, June 30. Comedian Myq Kaplan provides entertainment, along with live music, kids’ activities, and guest speaker, “White Gloved Vegan.” Vegan food vendors include 96 Lives Bakery and Cafe, Mama Rosa’s Plant Powered Kitchen, Lloyds Taco Truck, and, of course, Albert’s Super Kitchen featuring Albert’s Super Vegan Burger and Buffalo Chic’n Subs. “Kiss a Cow” is Asha’s major flagship event and grows both in size and popularity each year. Albert merchandise will be available for purchase as well.
Murphy invites everyone to come meet Albert and his friends. When leaving the sanctuary, all are asked to take Albert the Super Cow’s Seven Day Veg Pledge (pronounced vedge pledge)—to abstain from meat and meat by-products for one week.
Arrowhead Spring Vineyards is close by and offers a $5 tasting menu, no appointment necessary. Tours are available as well, but book ahead to be safe.
Zehr’s Farm Market & Nursery in Burt and Stedman’s in Newfane offer plants and produce.
Eighteen-mile Creek offers plenty of hiking trails. Lockport Cave and Underground Boat Ride offers a seventy-minute guided tour through the Erie Canal.