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For as long as I can remember I’ve wanted to see the lavender fields in France. Then I finally found a lavender field on Long Island that’s driving distance from Virginia, Maryland, and DC.
Lavender by the Bay is literally the only lavender field I’ve found driving distance from Virginia, Maryland, and DC that wasn’t just a lavender patch. It’s actually located in East Marion New York, but the closest town is Greenport.
This lavender field near DC certainly didn’t disappointed as that tulip field had. It was perfect and in full bloom when we visited the second weekend of July.
Where to Stay for Lavender by the Bay
Because we booked so last minute and we had a toddler our choices were more limited. I ended up with 3 picks:
Cliffside Resort – Check Prices
We ended up choosing the Cliffside Resort because it had a kitchenette, a pool and it’s own beach. The beach is so important because if you want to access any of the other beaches, there’s a $40 parking fee. The views from this hotel was stunning especially during sunset!
We had beautiful ocean views right from our balcony. They also have scheduled activities such as yoga on the lawn facing the ocean on weekends.
The Menhaden – Check Prices
This hotel is more high end in the center of Greenport. It’s very modern and sleek and perfect for a couple!
The Greenporter Hotel – Check Prices
This was our first choice for a place to stay in the area with a toddler because it has a pool. The Greeporter was fully booked for the weekend of our stay so we went with the Cliffside Resort.
Book a Photo Session
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When Does Lavender by the Bay Bloom
The lavender at Lavender by the Bay goes into full bloom around the beginning of July. Looking at pictures from 2018 and also this year, full bloom seems to hit around the July 4th weekend. We went the following weekend, July 13 and 14 and the field was beautiful with only a small section already harvested. I would hurry and go this week if possible before the lavender is all harvested!
What You Need to know About Lavender by the Bay Before You Visit
Lavender by the Bay is a lavender farm. When the field goes into full bloom you only have about 1-2 weeks to go see it before the farm starts harvesting the lavender to produce oils and other products.
Do not pick the lavender! This is a working farm and they harvest the lavender to make into products. It is not a pick your own lavender field. If you want some lavender to take home or as a photo prop, buy some from the shop at the entrance. They let you take lavender you have bought into the field.
There are tons of bees at Lavender by the bay. But don’t be afraid of them! The bees want only one thing, the lavender. They didn’t bother us one bit and we walked directly into them. I even had a bee stuck in the tulle of my skirt. If you are highly allergic to bees though I’d stay away from this lavender field.
There is an entrance fee to the lavender field. It’s $9 per person and kids are free. I found this entirely reasonable for access to this beautiful field.
Best Time to Visit Lavender by the Bay on Long Island
The best time to visit Lavender by the Bay is probably during the week or when it first opens on the weekend. We visited on both Saturday and Sunday and made it to the farm at about 9:30am. The field opens at 9am.
Of the two days, Sunday was marginally more busy than Saturday. But when we arrived at 9:30 am it was already getting quite busy. Their small parking lot was already half full when we arrived. By the time we left around 10:30 or 11am their parking lot was completely full. On Sunday when we left people had to park across the main road and walk over. There were even police at the entrance of Lavender by the Bay directing traffic.
Crowds at Lavender by the Bay
Even though we went early there were already people piling into Lavender by the Bay. But the field is pretty big so we didn’t field crowded at all, even when we left and more people had come.
Though it did become increasingly hard to get photos without people behind you. You would have to wait a few minutes so that they would move along.
Photographing the Lavender Field at Lavender by the Bay Long Island
Photography is totally allowed at Lavender by the Bay, but not commercial photography. You are welcome to take your family photos or even have a little Instagram photo shoot as we saw many others do. But you are not allowed to take commercial portraits here without a location fee and booking a time slot with the farm.
I read a negative review on Yelp about Lavender by the Bay that was completely untrue, they had said the staff kicked them out for using a DSLR. Completely not true, it was for setting up a reflector. Yes a giant obnoxious reflector, like the ones commercial photographers use.
The staff here were completely sweet didn’t deter anyone from getting shots of their family or even Instagram photos.
People tended to crowd around the front entrance to take their pictures so if you want pictures without others in them, head to the very back of the field. Even when we left and the field had gotten more crowded, most of the people congregated toward the front of the field and there were very few people in the back.
Because this field is in full sunlight you will have quite a bit of harsh lighting in your photos. There is one spot though at the very back of the field that has a slight bit of shade in the morning that is perfect for portraits! You will probably blow out the background but you will get a nice even skin tone. When you enter the field just head straight for the back toward the fence and trees and you’ll see one shady spot.
For a video of this beautiful lavender farm check out my IGTV here: https://www.instagram.com/li_diana/channel/
Things to Do Near Lavender by the Bay
What is there to do near Lavender by the Bay on Long Island. This is the first time I had ever been to Long Island so I did a bit of research and found that they had beaches and wineries! Two of my favorite things!
We visited Town Beach which I found to be a mediocre beach with exorbitant parking. Parking was $40 for the day if you did not have a permit. The beaches on this side of Long Island don’t really have sand only pebbles and rocks.
The water however was surprisingly warm and the waves quite small compared to the Atlantic waves I’m used to in the Outer Banks. But unfortunately there was some seaweed in the water as well.
We had fun collecting the pretty rocks on the beach but over the beaches here are pretty to look at but not great to swim in.
The one win from this trip was that I actually managed to get my daughter into ocean water! The waves were small enough that she wasn’t scared and she actually got in knee deep. She splashed and screamed with happiness every time a small wave hit her in the legs. My toddler is deathly afraid of the ocean so this is progress!
The Wineries of North Fork
I had been really excited to check out the wineries in this area! But unfortunately I was hugely disappointed.
We went to two separate wineries, Kontokosta Winery and Rafael Winery. Maybe I’m spoiled by having had wine tastings in Napa and Sonoma, but the wines at both fell way below my expectations. Even the table wine served as part of a castle we did from Paris was much better than the wines we had on Long Island.
We ordered flights of both red and white wines at both wineries. And both times the wines were bland and overly acidic. What found really odd was that at both wineries the wines tasted EXACTLY the same. I’m a huge fan of Sauvignon Blanc and at both places the Sauvignon Blanc tasted exactly the same!
The actual winery properties and setting were beautiful though. At Rafael you could drink your wine overlooking their vast vineyard. The cliff side views at Kontokosta were breathtaking as well as the modern decor of the winery itself. The staff and service was friendly at both places.
Is this Lavender Farm on Long Island worth the Drive from Virginia, Maryland, DC
As a huge flower fan, I would say YES!! It is about a 6.5 hour drive from DC because of the traffic from Manhattan over to Long Island. This is the only lavender field near Virginia, Maryland, an DC that even slightly resembles a lavender field. It’s definitely not France or even the lavender fields on the West Coast, but it’s the only one that I’ve seen near DC that’s worthy of the name “lavender field.”
If you are driving up from DC though I would leave super early in the morning to avoid the traffic. You could probably get here in 5.5 hours instead of almost 7 hours if you don’t hit traffic crossing into Long Island from Manhattan. Alternatively you could stay in the Hamptons instead of in Greenport or East Marion. The Hamptons are about 1 hour drive from the Lavender by the Bay. If you do stay in the Hamptons though you will have to get up early if you want to avoid the crowds at Lavender by the Bay.
Lavender by the Bay is every bit as pretty as the photos you see!