“Live life in full bloom.”
That’s the motto at Lavender by the Bay, a 17-acre oasis of flowering plants that turns the normally green North Fork of Long Island into a most regal purple for three weeks in the early summer.
Situated on the Main Road in the Victorian-strewn community of East Marion, near Greenport, the farm draws visitors from as far away as New York City, who come by car or railroad; and from New England, who shuttle across on the nearby Orient Point ferry. Young and old, they are drawn by the aroma of fresh lavender and the opportunity to distance themselves from the essentials of modern living.
The blooming season ended Sunday, July 15 and will resume in late June 2019. You can visit the gift shop daily through the end of September and on Thurdays through Mondays through the end of October. In the meantime, feel free to glimpse our guide to gardens and petting zoos across Long Island.
“You can disconnect from technology here,” says Chanan Rozenbaum, a father of two, who along with his parents opened Lavender by the Bay in 2002. “You can hear the bees buzzing. It touches the senses.”
The Lavender by the Bay gift shop offers lavender products and more to take home.
In late June and early July, Lavender by the Bay is a must-stop destination for visitors to Greenport and the North Fork. Families, taken in by the rare purple blooms, can stroll the grounds and stop for culinary, bath, and body products, herbs, soap, dried lavender, and more. In a fortunate bit of timing, no sooner had the Rozenbaum family opened the farm then the independent film Lavender opened, inspiring moviergoers and more to venture to the North Fork.
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Honey bees love lavender, and no, they are not threatening.
The farm is more than a fragrance wholesaler: It’s a chance for adults to escape corporate madness and for kids to learn about nature’s relationships. Honeybees and butterflies abound, drawn by the sweet aromas created by the half-dozen or so species of lavender grown naturally on the farm.
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More than a half-dozen varieties of lavender are grown on the farm, including French. What's your favorite?
Be advised, however: It’s a short blooming season, sometimes as few as 2½ weeks, ending in mid-July. After the bloom ends, Rozenbaum and company begin harvesting lavender for sale at the gift shop, at farmers’ markets in New York City, and online.
The farm is child- and dog-friendly and located at 7540 Main Road in East Marion, about 5 miles east of Greenport and 7 miles from the ferry terminal in Orient Point. From New York City, take the Long Island Expressway to Exit 73 and follow County Route 58 east to the farm. Alternatively, the LIRR’s Greenport station is the final stop on the Ronkonkoma branch.
Photos by the author