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Lavender Festivals, Oregon

The scent and taste wafting in the air.

Girl with broad brimmed hat picking lavender with basket in field.

My favorite lavender festival was last weekend, and a friend and I made our annual trek to the fields and hills of the Willamette Valley in Oregon.

Pictures of the mounded purple plants are often advertisements to visit Provence, France. France is delightful, but Oregon is outrageous in its beauty in summer and the opportunities to indulge in lavender in all its forms.

The lavender festival in Newberg has sidewalk booths selling sachets, soaps, lotions, oils, honey, and chocolate… all infused with lavender. I look forward to the lavender lemonade, mixed with nectars of other fruits –peach, pear — or all on its sweet own. If I don’t eat a lemon-lavender shortbread cookie, I buy a chocolate truffle with honey-lavender filling.

The lavender farm has scooped baskets for pick-your-own lavender, and one can play at the maid in the violet fields against the cerulean blue sky with a bright yellow basket. It is splendor for the senses.

I watch the other patrons of the lavender fields, and although it is a great family outing, we lavender ladies of a certain age are the prime demographic. Perhaps the sleepy excitement of a day filled with lavender is just right for us.

We wear broad-brimmed straw hats, and since it is Oregon, there are those of us who are all too apparently aging hippies. Our cotton-linen dresses swing under tie-dyed shirts knotted at where a waist once tucked in an appearance. We wear good walking sandals, some with walking sticks.

The Plein-air art show is a delight. The amateur section is robust, and I could imagine my artwork displayed there after a lesson or two. The professional section has a wash I want to take home. I have, alas, budgeted my acquisitions as I am in the shedding, not gathering stage.

Later we will choose a sidewalk restaurant and sip a Pinot Gris, which is not infused with lavender.

I love the floral tastes that Europe embraces more than this country. I love rose-flavored gelato and the bright flower petals that grace salads. But that was another country, and one can compensate from the garden here.

Lavender and Old Lace was published in 1902 by Myrtle Reed. Myrtle, now isn’t that a good name for envisioning a slightly musty home filled with antimacassars on the furniture and doilies on the bureaus? Perhaps associations like that lead me to consider the Lavender Ladies as a demographic I have joined. Updated with tie-dye, the hippie style has joined others as almost…quaint.

I have filled my bedroom with lavender bouquets to dry, the serene scent filling the air and commending sleep.

I am a lavender lady.

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3 Responses

  1. Susan Spivack
    | Reply

    Oh lovely, Sharon. We’re in an Albany hotel near the airport so we can wake at 3 am to take a plane to SF. to see Jay’s family then to Santa Barbara for my family reunion. This is a great bedtime story for old lady me.

  2. kaystratman
    | Reply

    Mmmmmmm. My favorite is the lavender lemonade (and the lavender shortbread). We had a lavender festival I enjoyed in Maryland, even before I joined a certain “demographic”. 😉

  3. Cheryl Layne West
    | Reply

    Well then, you must see the film Ladies in Lavender starring Judi Dench and Maggie Smith. At the festival
    I purchased a lavender spray to scent my pillows for a good night’s rest. Lavender also keeps the moths away.

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