20210711_093825Lavender fields in Cherry Valley (July 2021)

July last year turned out to be a busy month for exploring, as lockdown was lifted and more people were fully vaccinated in my home state. That meant more opportunities to go out and enjoy the warm, Californian summer, all the while discover some gems that I hadn’t heard of before. One such gem took me to the remote town of Cherry Valley, located east of Riverside County, where I spent the day at its annual Lavender Festival.

Home to a mere 6300 residents, Cherry Valley is located right at the foothills of the massive San Bernardino National Forest and is en-route to destinations like Joshua Tree National Park and the Mojave Desert. It has a small-town feel, with a tiny town center that had a few plazas with your usual Starbucks and Stater Bros for coffee and groceries, respectively. Aside from that, it felt rural and very-residential, as we past swarths of gated communities (for retirees, we assume). Visiting Cherry Valley was definitely a change in scenery, as it goes to show that not all of California is urbanized like Los Angeles.

Technically, the lavender fields were located in Beaumont, a neighboring city, but close to the border with Cherry Valley. The fields were specifically located inside of a resort, the Highland Springs Resort, and are known as the 123 Farm. Founded in 2004, the Lavender Festival takes place every summer until the beginning of August, and it draws visitors in with its lush, purple fields, all the while offering an outdoor experience of dining, live music, and local souvenirs– all lavender-themed.

20210711_094741

I heard about this event from a former high school classmate, who had posted her visit there on social media. The photos looked beautiful, and I was interested in going. The primary drive was due to the fact that I had visited the world-famous lavender fields in Provence two years prior, and I was feeling particularly nostalgic– plus, I love lavender, so there was an incentive to go!

We booked our tickets online– admission is $18 per adult, and it doesn’t include food or drinks, so expect to pay a bit more for the experience. We woke up early to make the two-hour drive to Riverside County, and we got there a half-hour early before the festival opened at 10:00. However, we were able to just walk in and explore the lavender fields before the crowds came, which was convenient, as we could take photos unobstructed! Besides, the staff getting set up didn’t seem to care, so we strolled to our heart’s content…

Of course, going in I knew that the lavender fields at the resort wouldn’t be as large or as abundant as the ones I saw in France: the resort’s fields were only 20 acres and the color wasn’t as vibrantly-violet as I had seen before abroad. The point, however, wasn’t to compare or be underwhelmed– I was glad to see lavender again, to wander and breathe in the intoxicating aroma of the purple flower.

20210711_094246

We took our photos and headed to the main grounds where the dining and souvenir shops were at. I purchased some lavender oil and lip balm before we headed to the dining area, where we got some cold lavender drinks (iced tea and latte), as it was getting increasingly warmer at close to 90ยฐF/32ยฐC– summer in the inland part of California is no joke! It was also getting crowded, as people were trickling in to enjoy the festivities. By the time we left, the parking lot (which had been empty when we arrived) was completely full.

20210711_101600

Personally, I found the Lavender Festival to be just-okay. Don’t get me wrong: I liked the lavenders and, while they aren’t as abundant as France’s, they did the trick. But to travel for two hours just for a short time there, I didn’t feel my $18 ticket made up for it. Perhaps if I were to have spent the entire day at the site, it would have been more worthwhile. But as it was a sweltering summer day, we ended up leaving before it got even hotter. While I wouldn’t choose to return to the Lavender Festival, to pass the time during the long, slow summer was a peaceful experience.

— Rebecca

49 thoughts on “Destination: Lavender Fields of Cherry Valley, California

  1. Wow, what a wonderful place, Rebecca ๐Ÿ™‚ There are many beautiful lavender fields around the world. Some of them are very well-known ones in Provence; others are in significantly more hidden and lesser-known locations so that you can visit them without any of the crowds and just enjoy the beautiful scent, the photogenic setting and the countryside atmosphere. Thanks for sharing and have a good day ๐Ÿ™‚ Aiva xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Exactly! I did go to a few of the lesser-known locations in Provence a few summers ago, and it was intoxicating to have the place almost to myself! Lavenders are a must-see for the summer!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I love the smell of lavender too. How was the lavender drink? I remember trying a lavender ice cream once from a lavender farm I went to in Australia. Can’t say I like the taste of lavender more than the smell.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I personally love lavender (the smell and taste), so I enjoyed my drink! But I do understand that it’s not everyone’s taste, as it can evoke the scent of soap. ๐Ÿ˜†

      Like

  3. I love lavender especially in a cocktail. I am sorry you were a bit disappointed. Two hours is a long drive and the heat did not help at all. I’ve never visited lavender fields, but it sounds like a great experience.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Visiting the lavender fields in Cherry Valley wasn’t a total bust, as I still enjoyed my time despite the long drive and heat. I don’t think I’ve ever had lavender in a cocktail, but that sounds really unique and interesting to try out! Maybe one day you can visit a lavender field. ๐Ÿ˜Š

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I love lavender, and itโ€™s essential oil is my go to when I feel like giving a DIY gift. The place looks lovely, I wish we have one here. The only time I remember seeing a plant up close is at my sisterโ€™s backyard in Australia. Iโ€™d love to have a taste of lavender latte too.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. That is interesting there was a lavender festival in California. So much lavender everywhere and the fields look massive. Definitely can see how $18 per person can be a bit of a steep price just to go in and walk around (and you have seen bigger fields and aren’t a huge fan of the summer heat XD), and I am guessing the food and drink there don’t come cheap like many other attraction places. I guess places like these you go for the experience and go there to relax and have a good time. I really like summer and the heat that comes with summer (30’C+) so I think I’d enjoy myself a lot all day here ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m sure you’d enjoy the lavender fields! Not just in California, but anywhere else in the world (France, the UK, etc). I don’t like extremely-hot weather, and I need to take breaks in the shade (and with ice-cold drinks) to cool off! Hope you get to enjoy a lavender field someday!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I had no idea that climate change was affecting lavenders and their location of growth! While beneficial to northerners who don’t need to travel down south to see them, it’s also probably not looking good for the lavenders themselves, which might end up becoming an invasive species?? Either way, a sea of purple is a beautiful sight to have!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Great post! I didn’t know there were lavender fields in California, and the idea of a Lavender festival sounds awesome! Though I agree that 18$ for just the entrance seems a bit pricey… did you like the lavender drinks?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Exactly! It was wonderful seeing lavender close to home, especially since I couldn’t go back to France for them, haha. The lavender drinks were good– very refreshing for a hot summer’s day!

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s