Last year a native New Yorker told me about Long Island’s best kept secret in East Marion—Lavender by the Bay—but I was unable to go during the peak season. I knew I had to make the trip this summer, so I decided to trek eastward to spend some quality time frolicking in the lavender fields on the perfectly-timed long 4th of July weekend.
If it weren’t for the sign you would never know that behind the entrance lies acres and acres of gorgeous lavender (French and English; however, in July most of the French has been trimmed leaving the English to bloom in the next phase of summer). I suggest arriving at the fields early in the morning (opens at 9). By 10am the crowds were getting bigger, making for less of a landscape photo opportunity.
I was surprised at how freely one can roam in the fields; the staff welcomes you to walk across the lavendr quite literally. A gazeebo lies in the middle of the front part of the fields, providing a peaceful ambiance that you really won’t want to leave (unfortunately they close at 5.)
Before heading home make sure you stop in the gift shop for lavender everything—bunches, soaps, lotions, perfumes, etc., etc.
Taking care of the fresh bunches is easy provided you do the following:
Option 1 (if you want lavender to dry straight): Split bunches into 2-3 smaller bunches and secure with rubberband. Using an opened paper clip, hang bunches upside down on a clothes hanger in a dry, shaded area. After one week combine bunches and place in a vase.
Option 2 (allows for a wilder, wilted aesthetic): Remove rubber band and place fresh bunch in a vase with wide opening. A wide vase allows stems to breathe and prevents molding (do not overstuff vase!).
Don’t forget to rub the petals for a long-lasting lavender scent and check out Lavender by the Bay’s Greenmarket pop-up schedule in the city M-F.