A trip to Hood River’s Lavender Valley in mid-summer is a delightful treat for the senses. The field is a swath of deep purple against the green rolling hills. The air has a soft herbal scent. And if you pause for just a moment and listen, you can hear the buzzing of about 1000 bees as they go about their business. The lavender plants are filled with them! But have no fear, no angry swarms here. The bees seem almost completely oblivious to the humans wandering past them.
There was lots of blue sky and sunshine on the day we visited, but without the sizzling hot temperatures that have roasted the rest of the country these past few weeks. Mount Hood was clearly visible to the south, its snow-capped peak seeming to cool things off a bit. Mount Adams loomed far to the north. We took our time–strolling through rows of lavender plants, snapping photos, and checking out the gazebo.
We stayed long enough for a picnic lunch at one of the small tables set up on a patio near the art gallery. No café on site; we brought our own. An abundance of chairs have also been scattered about in shady spots along the southern edge of the field for those who want to linger a bit longer and enjoy the view.
The art gallery is a must see! Inside, we found a variety of watercolors and oil paintings by talented local artist Verva (Bubba) Harris, along with a nice collection of hand-painted cups and glassware. The perfect souvenir!
Our final stop was at the gift shop which was, of course, filled with all things lavender: lotions, soaps, sachets, bubble bath and bath salts, linen sprays, lavender seeds, herbs, vinegars, tea, honey, lemon-lavender shortbread . . . even a bar of lavender dark chocolate! Mmmmm. There were also some fresh-cut lavender bouquets ready to take home.
Can’t make it to Provence this year? Lavendar Valley has over 15,000 plants in bloom from mid-June through August. An incredible display of color you really don’t want to miss! But don’t wait too long. Harvest is just around the corner.
Lavender Valley is located just four miles south of Hood River, OR. For a map and detailed directions, please check the Lavender Valley website. They’re open daily from 10am to 6pm through Labor Day weekend.
**Special Note: Looking for a lavender farm a little closer to home? There’s a lengthy list of possibilities featured on the Oregon Lavender Destinations website. Does anyone know of a similar listing for Washington State? If so, please let us know. Thanks!