I’ve been chasing flower fields for the past 4 years on Long Island and discovering some new ones every year. I’ve learned that blooms can be very fickle. Sometimes the bloom is late, sometimes it come very early. And sometimes, it’s gone before you know it. So being able to align schedules for all parties involved for a nice shoot is a challenge along with timing it with the bloom. This is why I need to seriously learn self-photography with my sister. You can view last year’s photos of the bloom here.
The most popular blooms on Long Island in the summer is lavender and sunflowers. Lavender is in late June/early July usually and the sunflowers are mid July to early August. Which means lavender season has come and gone. This year the bloom was a little late. I went at the end of June, which was too early and they weren’t as vibrant and full. I tried again in two weeks and they were in peak bloom and beautiful as ever. It’s better to be too early than too late. This year the bloom was available up til July 29th!
Where can one find this lavender, you ask? Lavender By The Bay in East Marion, NY is the famous lavender farm on Long Island that many locals and tourists flock to for their coveted photos each year. It’s definitely a trip out there, being on the very end of the fishtail so be prepared for a long drive if you’re up to making this floral mecca. It’s a beautiful, relaxing drive though. I recommend weekdays over weekends though as there is less traffic and is less crowded. You’ll get better photos too when it’s less busy and the admission price is reduced from $9 to $7 on weekdays. And when I say it gets crowded, it gets CROWDED. It’s a one lane road so you might have to wait in line in traffic on the main road before you can even get in. Parking can be a challenge if you don’t arrive at opening on the weekends. Sometimes you might have to park further down the road and walk a bit over to the farm if the lot is full. And then play the hide people from getting in your perfect photo game. If you’ve been to LBTB, then you know. But if you’re coming here as a first timer, you’ll learn on your own if you don’t want to take my advice with coming early.
There is a shop full of assorted lavender goods to browse from as well. You can bring home fresh lavender, dried lavender, lavender soap, sachets, lotion, honey, oils and extract. They even give you a cute card helping you take care of your fresh lavender when you purchase so that it lasts all year long. I buy a fresh bunch each year and I still have last year’s going strong in my house.
The fields itself is a different story. You’ll know you’re there as soon as you roll down your windows driving up to it because you can smell it down the road. And once you step food into the fields, it’s even more amplified and amazing. It’s definitely an experience for the senses. A word of warning though. There are a LOT of bees in the field. So if you’re scared of getting stung like me, be patient as you walk through and give yourself some time. I’ve luckily have never had a problem with them and so far have left unscathed with each visit but it is something to note if you have a fear of bees or a possible allergy. I’ve honestly have never seen anyone or heard of anyone having a problem there though.
Oh yes! Another thing to note. In previous years the farm was limited to one location. This year, they expanded to another field located in Calverton across from the local Splish Splash. I visited both fields this year to check it out for myself and compare. The newer field is definitely smaller than the original farm in East Marion but still grand and just as lovely if you don’t have the time for the drive out that far to the OG. I was told they do have plans to expand even more next year so I’m very excited to have a location closer to my home. I can’t wait to see what it’ll look like next year!
If you can’t make it out to either locations in the summer, then you’re missing out. But no worries, if you’re in NYC, they do frequent the farmer’s markets with their wares throughout the year and they also sell some of their goods online. The bloom is over for this year, but I would definitely mark my calendar for next year if I were you. Especially if you’re looking for the perfect backdrop for important photos like engagements, baby photos, reunions, couples or even just an outing with friends on the North Fork. It’s really beautiful and something to see. I always start planning in May and remember to stalk their Instagram as they do post pretty regularly to keep everyone up to date with the blooms in real time. I’ve also found them pretty quick to respond if you have any questions or concerns. I love how active and involved they are in the social media world to help plan your visits. I don’t think I’ll ever tire of this bloom. Photos really don’t do it justice, in my opinion. You have to come out and see it for yourself and smell it for yourself. It’s my slice of heaven on the North end.
Lavender By The Bay is located in 7540 Main Road East Marion, NY 11939