Can’t you smell the lavender?
If you visit Door County in July or early August, you are in luck. The lavender fields are in full bloom, and you will be blown away visually and sensually by — dare I say — a life-altering experience. Unless you are in Provence in July, there’s no excuse not to make your way to Washington Island to see a spectacular sea of violet — lavender buds sweeping their whorls of color, inviting you to walk through their rows. In a trancelike state, you’ll find yourself obeying. Who could resist?
It’s a Francophile’s Playground
Let me back up a moment. There are two lavender farms on Washington Island. To get to the island, you must take a ferry. I recommend the car ferry because you do not want to rush your visit to my favorite of the two farms (both are worth a visit, however). Once on the island, you may want to stop for coffee at my favorite island coffee shop, Red Cup. And of course, while you’re there, you should visit at Fair Isle Books. But you can save that for later and head to the farm first.
Fragrant Isle Lavender Farm & Shop is my favorite, and once you’ve arrived, you’ll see why. Before you are “allowed” onto the field, you must enter the shop.
You see? These lovelies greeted me before I was able to see what I already knew awaited me. I love those lavender fields and yet, be still my heart, these Fairy Tale Cookies stopped me in my tracks.
And the scones. Bonjour mon scones sucrés! Je dois continuer pour le moment!
I’m not sure which is more exciting for lovers of all things French, the shop or the fields. It’s a tug of war, but after the pâtisserie speed bump, I usually run toward the lavender at top speed.
I want a life of color and lushness. When I reach the fields, I see bright purple and green, and I am knocked out by the scent of fresh lavender! It’s everywhere, and all I want to do is touch it, feather it in my hands.
I’m not the only one who feels this way I see… children are the best at this, trading in manners to rub their faces in the buds.
Even bees share the experience and don’t mind our hands invading their busy work.
On the weekends and certain evenings, Fragrant Isle will host special activities, whether it be a professional body massage in the field (yes, I did this) or plein air painters, or Paint & Sips, or creating a lavender wand sachet from lavender you can cut yourself. If you plan, you might be able to partake in one of these fabulous activities. Check the site and see what is going on. UPDATE 2019: Painting Classes are not offered this summer, but there will be other fabulous activities. Always check the website or their facebook page.
The best experience of all my visits this year had to be a full-body massage in the lavender fields. I confess I had to keep peeking to see if I was really in a field of lavender!
To schedule a massage, call the farm. If you wait until you arrive, it will be too late, and there will not be any appointments left.
A Touch of Provence
Have you been to France? Fragrant Isle’s shop is a compilation of the best of Provence — soaps, linens, lotions, jams, home decor. Here is a taste of what you can expect.
You may be a bit overwhelmed by all that there is to sample. But I promise, once you have completed your purchases, you’ll be able to relax with a few treats.
Le Petite Bistro et La Pâtisserie à la Lavande
Le Petite Bistro serves a small menu of organic, locally grown bites. Even your kiddos will enjoy the food. Don’t forget to sample the beverages as well. UPDATE 2019: The bistro is open 7-days a week this summer!
The Patisserie serves baked goods and scrumptious sweets, and there is a full case of whimsical truffles which will tickle your palette with lavende et chocolat. Enjoy a café américain or café à la lavande, and for an added dose of sucre, don’t forget the ice cream.
Now that you’ve taken in the lavender fields, shopped like a real American in Paris and tasted true French pastries, you can sit back and know you made the most of your time at Fragrant Isle.
But, just in case you haven’t had enough, there is one more lavender farm on Washington Island. Maybe save that one for another day as you, my dears, have just had a beautiful French experience that you can savor. I hope you will be taking home lots of treats. Aren’t you glad you brought the car?