When we made the decision to spend the summer in the Pacific Northwest, our travels revolved around attending the Sequim Lavender Weekend. I imagined standing among rolling hills of lavender gently swaying in the breeze, breathing deeply the intoxicating scent, listening to the humming of busy little bees.
Sequim (pronounced skwim) is known for its commercial cultivation of lavender and has grown so much over the years that it has now claimed the title of “Lavender Capital of North America”, rivaled only by France. The drier climate, unlike much of the Olympic Peninsula, seems to favor this beautiful, aromatic herb known for its relaxation quality.
This bustling little town falls within what is known as the Olympic Rain Shadow. While the town of Forks, just 60 miles away, receives about 120 inches of rain per year, Sequim is practically a desert, registering only 16 inches annually. The Olympic Mountains act like a wall to protect the northeastern Olympic Peninsula from the bulk of the rain that moves across the Pacific Northwest, wringing much of the moisture out of the air before it falls to the ground.
Fog and cool breezes that come off the Strait of Juan de Fuca make Sequim more humid that your average desert, so everything around is lush and green. Fruits and vegetables are abundant here, as we soon learned when the “welcome wagon” arrived at our lovely little campsite at Dungeness Spit Recreation Area.
Friends Ardythe and Celene (mother and daughter) from our former Yellowstone National Park days, now living in Sequim, came bearing gifts of cherries from their tree, a huge bag of fresh produce and herbs from their garden, and fresh eggs from their chickens. We were so touched by their generosity.
And that was just the beginning. Celene made a scrumptious dinner with friend Ben a couple of nights later, where I was able to spend some time with the girls and Chris, Ardythe’s husband and my former colleague, catching up on life since Yellowstone.
Our visit to Sequim would not have been complete without a visit to the New Dungeness Lighthouse, which requires an 11-mile out-and-back walk on the longest sand spit in the U.S., a hike best done at low tide. This stretch of sand continues to grow at a rate of 13 feet per year…pretty amazing! At the tip is the beautifully restored New Dungeness Lighthouse and a small museum. We enjoyed lunch outside on the lawn while visiting with a couple who had signed up to act as lighthouse keepers for the week, an intriguing program.
We knew the lavender festival would be well-attended so we decided to visit a couple of farms for photo ops before the crowds descended. Our choices were Jardin du Soleil…
and Graysmarsh Lavender & Berry Farm, a you-pick farm with rolling hills of lavender and many types of berries. We loved the berries so much we went back a second time before leaving Sequim.
Fellow Jojobians Roger, Shary, Art, and Cj were in the area for the weekend festivities and joined us at the Washington Lavender Farm. With the backdrop of the George Washington Inn, a B&B that replicates the Mount Vernon estate in Virginia, and the Strait of Juan de Fuca, the grounds were lovely. The staff was dressed in period costume and Revolutionary War battles were being re-enacted on the lawn. With good food, music, and friends by our side, it was a delightful day.
A girls’ outing with Ardythe and Celene rounded out our stay in Sequim. They gave me a flavor of the area with a trip to Glass Beach in Port Townsend in search of sea glass, visits to Port Gamble and Bandy’s Troll Haven, and stops along country roads for photos of old barns. The time we shared together is something I will always remember and I look forward to seeing them again somewhere down the road.
Next Up: Going back in time to Neah Bay
40 thoughts on “Breathe Deeply and Relax ~ Sequim”
We really need to get to this area next summer. I could just imagine the lovely smell of all that lavender:) Great header! Glad you were able to make the journey to the lighthouse. I guess low tide lasts long enough to get out and back. Nice photo of you in the lavender:)
Thanks Pam. It is a lovely place to spend some time. The Olympic Peninsula would be a great place for you to explore, although I didn’t see any red rocks. 😦
That looks wonderful. My wife tells me she wants to buy a lavender farm.
There is a man in Sequim who owns a farm that is for educational purposes. He has trained people all over the world on what types of lavender work in their particular climates. Perhaps a trip to Sequim is in order? 😉
I think you’re right, we’re going to have to visit.
Whoo hooo! You made it to the festival….aaaand the lighthouse. Sequin was one of the highlights of our trip last year. Lovely town.
It is a lovely town, and we were quite the social butterflies, kinda like another couple we know. 😉
So beautiful, LuAnn. The lavender scene is so much like what we saw in South of France. 🙂
I would love to see that for myself some day Amy. 🙂
How absolutely beautiful. Now I know I have to visit Sequim during the Lavender Festival. Nice photo of you surrounded by the lavender.
Thanks Ingrid! The farms are really lovely.
We really enjoyed our summer on the OP too! We arrived in Sequim just after the lavender festival so there were just a few fields that had not been cut left to see. But we sure did enjoy picking raspberries at Graymarsh!
Because the weather has gotten warm earlier than usual here, the lavender was being harvested even before the festival this year. The first time we went to Graysmarsh we got a bit carried away with berry picking and came away with 11 pounds of berries. I still have some in the freezer. 🙂
Oh, I can almost smell that gorgeous lavender scent! Love the lighthouse photo. What generous and lovely friends you have. 🙂
The lavender farms were wonderful and the lighthouse was definitely worth the long walk. The generosity of our friends was amazing.
Boy did you hit the jackpot with your friends, Ardythe and Celene.
I would LOVE to go to that festival. How beautiful. I can just smell the beauty in the air.
Lighthouse photo is awesome.
I hadn’t seen Celene and Ardythe in 5 years but it felt like no time had passed. They are two very special women. The lavender festival is definitely a must-see.
We also love Sequim. Re-visited it three summers ago but have never gotten the Lavender festival..you make me want to come to it…Someday!!!
It is definitely worth visiting Jan. 🙂
I had no idea about this lavender festival! Brilliant captures of the event. Perhaps I don’t need to go all the way to France to see lavender fields after all.
Although these farms were lovely, I still want to see the fields of lavender in France. 🙂
We just missed the festival last year and most of the lavender had been cut. Still enjoyed the area but I was disappointed I couldn’t get our friends to walk all the way to the lighthouse.
Given the warmer than normal temps here, the harvesting had already begun when we arrived. The lighthouse is very nice but as Terry said, it is just an 11-mile walk on the beach, looking at the same scenery. Not exciting like the hikes you two have been doing but we were still glad that we did it.
We loved the Sequim Lavender Festival — it’s definitely on our list for a return visit one of these years (when we can pry ourselves away from Lopez Island in July :-)). I like your idea of visiting the farms for photos before the festival. Such a cute photo of you in the lavender, LuAnn, and a great photo of the lavender harvest. Looks like Terry was enjoying berry picking! Sounds like you had a very fun time, including visits with good friends. 🙂
Thanks Laurel. I’m glad that we went to the festival this year, as I’m not sure when we will be available again in July. 😉
My first comment is lost 😦
Anyhow, WA is on our route next year and I sure hope we can make it to the festival. All your photos are so vivid. I can even small the Lavender all the way here in South Dakota.
It is all about the lavender this time of year in Sequim. If you do get here and love berries, you really should go to Graysmarsh. They have so many different berries to pick and they are yummy. The blackberries were almost as big as my thumb. 🙂
That looks absolutely beautiful, very royal with the purple colour. I love the smell of lavender really makes one feel close to nature.
It was pretty special Ste J. Now to see those lavender fields in France someday. 🙂
I bet that would be an experience, I promise not to beat you to it hehe.
I am thinking you might have the advantage there. 😉
I absolutely love lavender and to be in a field of it would be so serene! Beautiful!!
It was wonderful! 🙂
Great photos. I hope they weighted Terry before and after so they could determine how much he ate;)
They didn’t but they certainly should have! 🙂
LuAnn, we passed right through this area and missed the lavender fields. Drat! I’ve never heard of the Olympic Rain Shadow, but it makes perfect sense. We were tent camping on the Olympic Peninsula and could have used any kind of rain shadow. BTW, your lighthouse photo is brilliant. ~James
Thanks James! It is hard to believe that some small towns receive 100+ inches of rain per year while others relatively close by have more of a desert climate. Have you been to the lavender fields in France?
I can so lose myself in the land of lavender!
And – how sweet of Ardythe and Celene…
Oh yes, the lavender was heavenly! And Ardythe and Celene are two very special women. 🙂