I don’t know about you, but the past few months have been pretty darn stressful for us. I am constantly questioning my choices surrounding COVID-19. (“I’m being paranoid… I’m not being cautious enough… why does it seem like no one else is concerned?” Get the picture?) After a few months of seeing my parents only once or twice, with the exception of Kellan’s daily FaceTime with Gogo, I decided that the kids and my mom needed some time together and Rob and I needed a day away. (Feel free to scroll past my current COVID rationale, but I want to share because 1. If you are struggling too, you can take comfort in knowing you aren’t alone in this struggle. And 2. These feelings were a big part of our experience, and it captures this moment we are in. Anyway, if you are still with me, it seemed an opportune time, because we had mostly been sheltering in and I was about to start back to working on site with students the next week, after which I will feel the risk of possibly exposing my parents is too high.
So off Rob and I went on our little mini getaway, while the kids were thrilled to have a few hours with Gogo at our house. As we began our drive north on 99 we got off to a rocky start, because well, have you driven the 99? And what is there to talk about these days that doesn’t feel totally gloom and doom? So yeah, we were questioning our adventure pretty much from the get-go. Oh and I forgot to mention that I didn’t order our lunch from the lavender farm in time, which meant we were going to have to pick up food elsewhere. So there was still the actual picnic to figure out, but I had a plan… or so I thought. I lived in Turlock from the ages three to ten and have some very fond memories of this little Valley town. The plan was to grab lunch at the local renowned bakery that we used to love. Unfortunately upon walking into this old time bakery we saw that NONE of the 15+ bakery workers were wearing masks and this was after the state ordinance. It was really disappointing. We walked out as quickly as we walked in. Can you tell how much fun we were having at this point? After a bit of venting in the car we decided Panera would be a safe and delicious choice that would respect the rules and our safety because they were corporate, and so we gave this trip one more try. Thankfully Panera came through, and a drive-by my childhood home also helped us to start shifting our mood.
I paint the picture of our dismal morning to show the magic of Pageo Lavender Farm. After driving just a few minutes through farmland off the 99 we turned off the road to a driveway with a field of lavender and flowers on one side and a lush, green park on the other. We arrived around one and there were still quite a few cars in the parking lot, but entering the park area we saw how expansive the grounds are and it was easy to feel safe and spread out even with lots of other people around. The staff was incredibly welcoming and directed us to choose any table we liked and brought us sachets of lavender while we were eating our lunch. (Mind you, we didn’t order lunch from them, they were just gracious and kind just because.) Now, from what I have heard, read, and seen, the lunches they order for guests are fantastic so don’t be forgetful like me and place your order to late the night before. You must call in with your meal request before 4pm the day before your visit. Just look at this menu! (We will be returning soon to get the FULL experience.)
Though the temperature was in the 90s in Turlock (over 100 that day in Fresno), the shaded grassy area was still really pleasant to hangout and have lunch. And you really can just sit there and chill. There were families with kids playing in the grass, people resting in the shade, and a sweet little chicken wandering the grounds. It really was the perfect antithesis to the stressful morning we had just had.
After a long, relaxing lunch, we made our way to the you-pick table to get the scoop on how it worked and to borrow a pair of scissors. Next stop, a glowing purple field of lavender that was buzzing with bees… but thankfully even the bees seemed relaxed or at least used to sharing the lavender with people.
If only pictures could capture the smell!
Finally we walked the venue a bit more (yes, they do weddings) and made our way to the gift shop to bring home as much of this calm as our car would carry!
The gift shop is full of lavender soaps, oils, sprays, bouquets… you get the idea. We took one of each, kidding not kidding. But really, this magical little hidden Valley gem, turned out to be exactly what we needed for our half-day getaway. The lavender blooms throughout June, but they are open throughout a lot of the year, so plan a visit soon if you could use a little calm escape like us. And don’t forget to call the day before to order your lunch!