Sequim ~ The Provence of America

“Lavender fields forever”

When we think of Provence, we always seem to think of that special and unique area in the southeast of France that lies between the Alps and the Mediterranean. We think of charming, rustic villas dotting the hillsides and those ever so famous vineyards that produce so many bottles of delicious still and sparkling wines. We also envision those seemingly endless fields of lavender that stretch over those rolling fields that tenderly embraced the summer with their purple, lavender and pink flowering bushes. To me, it sparked ancient memories of childhood when we sniffed Grandmother’s delicious soaps and little stitched packets of lavender buds she had kept in her top drawer. She would tell me stories of that land so far away and where these soaps and little sachets traveled from. What wonderful trips I would take in my imagination of childhood dreaming of the magical places she described.

But, now, for me, it will always make me think of the Provence of America. This is an area where dozens of farm owners have planted their fields with the many varieties of lavender and about the devoted farmers who are passionate about growing these heavenly bushes. This is a very unique area that lies at the northern edge of Washington state in a little town called Sequim. Being in the rain-shadow of the Olympic Mountains, it also borders on the Pacific Ocean. They only recieve about a dozen or so inches of rain annually which makes it very similar to Provence in the south of France. If you look out across the water, you will be able to see Victoria, BC in the distance. But if you come here, you will have come with the sole intent of visiting this charming little town.
It is not some place that you pass by on your way to somewhere else.
It will be your destination!

I recall the first time I came here to visit. I saw rolling farmlands in this lush valley that was bordered by the soaring Olympic Mountains to the south. It was a beautiful morning, for we had left Seattle early to make the best of our day. There was a mist hanging on the edges of those steep and craggy cliffs and the blue skies with billowy white clouds added to the natural beauty. There were charming painted murals on the sides of buildings and little road side stands selling hand-crafted items along with fresh fruits and vegetables. There were marinas and golf courses and so many Bed and Breakfast Inns to encourage you to come and stay for a while, not to mention signs directing you to come and get your own freshly caught native Dungeness Crabs or freshly dug clams. One really has the sense that there is so much to experience here and how did it take so long to discover this lovely little town.

Grabbing a Latte at the coffee house, we headed out for a visit of our first lavender farm. I will never forget the complete amazement as I stepped out of the car and the fragrance that drifted on the air. Gentle and sweet and sublime… I was amazed. I had no idea the effect it would have on me. This peacefulness enveloped me and I walked as if on air. Lavender bushes of many varieties were planted along with rose bushes and climbing vines. There was a farmhouse for rent for a night or a week and of course we walked through and thought what a great place to invite the family for a reunion. We walked in the gardens and saved the gift shop for last, but not without lingering long enough to indulge in a small cup of lavender and white chocolate ice cream. Whatever your favorite ice cream is, this one will quickly take it’s place for the flavor is simply beyond your imagination.

I think currently there are about 30 Lavender Farms to visit, but if you are here for only a day, you will not be able to visit them all. Every one of them is unique in it’s own way and each year when you return, you will see the changes and improvements that have happened since your last visit. You are encouraged to harvest your own bundles of lavender to take home with you. Some of the farms have restaurants and/or gift shops with a vast variety of items that are lavender related. Many have potted lavender plants for you to purchase and take home and plant in your own garden. All of the farms are delightful to see and as you leave you will wonder if you have seen everything there is to see. Each farm stays on my list of places I simply must visit the next time I am back. When you do leave Sequim, the Provence of America, you will also be promising yourself a return visit. Or maybe even the thought will come to you that this is a place you want to move to and spend the rest of your days.
I know it is for me…

By Marjorie Wallace
October 2009

Story Featured in WELCOME TO WASHINGTON (the state) ~ 01 November 2009

Sequim ~ The Provence of America by 

Sequim, Washington. The Provence of America
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Cameras and photography captured my interest years ago as a child with my little Brownie. The cameras have changed over the years until the Digital age when I got really serious about photography. Not only has my work improved, but it has opened many doors to meeting wonderful people along the way. New friendships and learning new skills… I am hopeful that some of my best work is yet to come.

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  • BlackSwan
    BlackSwanover 5 years ago

    I enjoy your writng skills so much Marjie, and you really made me want to go see these lavender farms. Why do I have this terrible yearning for lavender ice cream all of a sudden??…….;-) xox

  • Thank you so much, Leena. I know you would love it here and I hope one day you can come for a visit. One of these farms actually makes ice cream and sells it at our local grocery store. I must go and pick some up one of these days.

    – Marjorie Wallace

  • Kay Kempton Raade
    Kay Kempton Raadeover 5 years ago

    Wonderful. I think you should write for their tourist board — but then it would get crowded. What time of year do they bloom?

  • Oh, thank you so much, Kay. It actually gets VERY crowded during the Lavender Festival in July. I make a special point to visit before the festival because I am not crazy about the millions of people who show up. I go a week or so before the festival and take my photos when the fields look their best. The last time I was there, it was bright overcast which is why the colours are so intense. It was a photographer’s dream.

    – Marjorie Wallace

  • Bootiewootsy
    Bootiewootsyover 5 years ago

    Wonderful writting and beautiful photos … Well done.

  • Thank you so much for your thoughtful comments. It means so much to me. :~)

    – Marjorie Wallace

  • BlackSwan
    BlackSwanover 5 years ago

    Well, me thinks you need to write some books my dear Marjie. You would be a perfect columnist too. I SO would read everything from your pen!

  • Oh, thank you so much Leena. I am putting together a small book that has by images and little vignettes or quotes by me. Now all I need is a good agent. I am working on that. I so appreciate your comments and I am glad you like my work. I feel blessed.

    – Marjorie Wallace

  • Sean Farragher
    Sean Farragherover 5 years ago

    well done,,,,,,,beautiful pictures

  • Thank you so much Sean. I am glad you like it.

    – Marjorie Wallace

  • Anna Shaw
    Anna Shawover 5 years ago

    Oh, thanks for sharing that. I had no idea there was a Provence over there. Beautiful writing and images.

  • Thank you so very much, Anna. I think it is rather a nick name for this area because of the lavender fields. The festival in the summertime has become legendary and many people love to come here any time of the year. It is simply sublime… :~)

    – Marjorie Wallace

  • Morag Bates
    Morag Batesover 5 years ago

    Very beautiful, and interesting too !

  • Thank you so much, Moraq. I am glad you enjoyed it and took the time to leave me a message. It means so much to me. :~)

    – Marjorie Wallace

  • AuntDot
    AuntDotover 5 years ago

    Such lovely writing, Marjorie! You make it sound so inviting, and your photos of the lavender are superb.

  • Thank you so much Aunt Dot. It means so much to me that you enjoyed it for it is another outlet for me need to be creative. Isn’t Red Bubble the most rewarding place? Have a lovely day! xoxox

    – Marjorie Wallace

  • debbiedoda
    debbiedodaover 5 years ago

    Beautifully written, makes me want t0 be there! I can almst smell it!

  • Thank you so much, Debbie. I loved visiting there and think it would be the most wonderful place to live. I so appreciate your sweet comments. xoxox

    – Marjorie Wallace

  • Socialite
    Socialiteover 5 years ago

    Thank you, Marjorie, for sharing your experiences and photos of Sequim. It does look like heaven and an incredible destination. When you think of Washington State, you think of rain. So it is hard to believe that Sequim only receives 12+- inches of rain. Again, thank you for your beautiful writing and photography. Anne

  • Thank you so much, Anne. I so appreciate that you came to read my little story and left such a nice comment. It means so much to me.

    – Marjorie Wallace

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