Saturday, July 27, 2013

sonoma lavender festival~

the novel bakers present lavender week~

one thing i love about the novel bakers is that with group efforts you tend to step out of your day to day life. as i mentioned early i bought the lavender cookbook before the nb's were even on the horizon, i would have probably made a few recipes over time and quietly enjoyed myself, but with LAVENDER WEEK, i get to immerse myself. i have never been to a festival before, we are homebodies, between the sea and country i don't need much more to entertain me. they look hot and crowded, nothing i care to participate in... but i love lavender, how much could it hurt to check it out?

my plan was to be there first thing in the morning, beat the crowds, plus they have cut your own lavender, i was told 3000 people come to this, seemed to me the lavender would all be cut and gone if you didn't get there first thing in the morning! the festival is located in wine country, just a couple of miles from where my family lived for decades, it is located next door to one of the few wineries i have never been to, so it was an all new experience for me, mixed in with the memories of family, now gone and deceased.

the minute we drove down the lane you are greeted with a sea or purple, from the lavender barn to all the employees wearing something purple from top hat to bottom shoes. i had to snicker at a cute teenager wearing a white dress with her brilliant purple bra strap dropping down her shoulder. even the bridge is dressed for your arrival.

right off the bat we are quarreling. my husband informs me he is sitting in the car when he learns it costs 10$ per person. i demand he joins me, i am not wandering a festival while my husband is tethered to car in the 95 degree heat no better than the dogs i left home... he is not happy, he thought he could zone out on his cell phone for 20 minutes while i wander around the garden. i inform this is a festival, not a garden, we are here to participate!

its already crowded an hour into opening, there are 12 stations you visit on your map, get everyone stamped like a passport and they have a free gift for you when you leave. great, now scott has a job ;-) because its already thick with people we decide to walk the opposite direction, the first station we bump into is ice cream... sure i will eat chocolate lavender ice cream at 10:30 am for the novel bakers :-)

right next door was handmade pottery. she only took cash, i was enchanted how she let people take things and said now mail me a check. so trusting. the mug was $24, the pitcher $68. i miss homegoods pricing!

the lavender is beautiful, thick alternating rows of provence and grosso, which is the darker shade.

i purchased the lavender book for a keepsake, the authors would be signing in the afternoon, but i knew we wouldn't last that long.

the farther we head back the more stations you will find, of course i had to buy lavender honey, from these very bees, and still infused with a bit more lavender after harvesting.

as i tumble off the main path to do some clicking...

scott comes to find me, where have you been, they are doing free hand massages. i don't like hand or feet massages, they make me feel creepy in my organs, don't ask... anyway, scott loves them. the scott that is supposed to be sitting back in the car bored out of his mind... there is a line, i tell him go ahead, i will keep wandering. i look back and can see bliss on his face. some pretty young thing is rubbing scott to sleep in a standing position. i wander back to see him having a marvelous morning at the lavender festival :-)

now look how cute and pampered this spa area is. big fluffy deep soft sofas to rest and let your lavender scrub and lotion sink in. i thought this woman was being stylish, with the faux fur, it was a chilled lavender neck wrap! ahhh, now its time for scott to let it all soak in...

there was a man next to scott trying to restrain a wildly active little girl while mommy was getting pampered, he looked over at scotts hand, then my camera, he said tell them at work its a cast... i think scott was the trend setter, next thing you know there were more men in line then woman, all the wives were clicking away too.

we had box lunches from the food station. i will be honest its hard to have good food from a tent serving 3000 people... we had lavender bbq chicken, it was great, and lavender greek salad, it had a delish lemon lavender dressing. strawberry lavender aqua fresca and lemon lavender iced brownies.

a wee bit more strolling, these small wreaths were $40, which shocked me, again homegoods has ruined my perspective on life, but i was looking at another winery, they charge you $40 to pick a small bucket of lavender so perhaps with labor this was a bargain.

people were cutting in full force as we head back to leave

the ice cream line had to be 50 people plus long, going backwards was brilliant. as we left the festival, the line had to me a mile long, traffic snarled in both directions, limos lined the road, the early bird does get the juiciest morsels~

but one last stop for us before we exited... spa boy was hooked, for the man who didn't want to cough up ten for a ticket we spent 15x's that amount buying him spa booties, lavender foot salts, lotions and potions. looks like i have a full time job ahead for me tending to his poor tired festival feet, all in all, i think we both loved lavender week!


home is where the boat is

once upon a plate

rattlebridge farm

sidewalk shoes


  1. Oh what FUN...I'm purple with envy~ in the wine country no less! I missed our small mountain lavender festival by a month, it wouldn't an event like one was by 3000 miles :)

    Love that your big burly hubby got out of the car to wear lavender mits and get hand messages too! I would love to see and smell those purple waves, I've never seen it growing like that, we don't have the right climate for lavender fields, but if I get back to sunny CA to the wine country again, you can bet that I'll look one up!

    Thanks so much for the fun and organizing lavender week! I'm planning on passing out in a blissful lavender coma next week :)

    1. thanks so much for playing so well, i loved seeing all of our versions of lavender week, it was beyond my expectations and i know we all tried some wonderful new recipes!

  2. What a great little festival. I'll have to tell my daughter who lives in San Fransico about it. Loved all the posts this week.

    1. thank you so much for commenting, its nice to hear back from anyone out there! tell you daughter to come early next year, it is a mad house!

  3. This week has been wonderful visiting The Novel Bakers each day to see what lavender goodness you all have for us. I appreciate the work each of you have put into this. Take care and I look forward to the next book you decide to explore with The Novel Bakers. Thanks

    1. thank you so much for stopping by, i am so glad you enjoyed us all, it was great fun playing with lavender in so many new and exciting ways. i am not quite through with lavender, i have my novel baker finale tomorrow, but i still have a few more lavender posts for the rest of the week... i just can't get enough of good thing! thanks so much for commenting, perhaps we have swayed you over to the purple side of life~

  4. Enjoyed your tour very much. I love your sense of humor and your husband was a good sport. The organizers should let you promote the tour next year. I truly am so curious to taste anything with lavender now after Lavender Week. You gals outdid yourselves. You have to be a little tired.
    Thanks again.

    1. thank you so much for stopping by and commenting, its been a very fun week! it may look exhausting, but truth be told i have been cooking with lavender since april, so i actually miss all these flavors now that my posts are showing up so much later... i am just constantly craving more and more lavender, i do have more to come, i keep saying lavender is my new s&p! thanks for you visit and truly do look for this cookbook by sharon shipley, i promise you every recipe will be a delight!

  5. What a wonderful festival! Wish we lived closer...I would loved to have gone with you and hubby could've stayed home!! Funny they always say no before they even know what it is all about. :)

  6. I'm with you, I don't like festivals too much either and prefer to get there early and be quick about it! I love that you had so much fun, and got to experience so many different ways to enjoy lavender~your husband sounds exactly like mine, I have to drag him and then he has more fun than anyone!