NewsdayTV's Elisa DiStefano visits Lavender by the Bay on the North Fork and a new field at Waterdrinker in Manorville.  Credit: Randee Daddona

For 35 years, James Maris worked as a general contractor in downtown Manhattan. But he had a secret passion for lavender.

“I started growing it at home,” says Maris, who resides in both Rockland County and Mattituck. “I wanted to take it to the next stage and get a farm for my retirement.”

Four years ago, he purchased Roanoke Lavender Farm in Riverhead where he runs a farm stand on the property featuring lavender plants and products.

“Lavender has a nice scent to it and it’s very relaxing,” says Maris. “I can’t say anything bad about lavender.”

The purple flower is coming into full bloom this month. Head out east to buy a batch, attend a festival or take some photos.


663 Wading River Rd., Manorville

Take part in the inaugural Lavender Festival at Waterdrinker Manorville ($20 per person) from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. June 8-9 and displays remain up through June 16.

“We grow the lavender in a greenhouse setting and then we bring it out into our fields where we set up our photo-ops with the lavender in raised garden beds throughout 2 acres,” says co-owner Marc Weiss. “Visitors will be able to travel over a bridge backdropped with tons of planted lavender as well as other field props like rustic doors, bicycles, vintage cars, old tractors and different pergolas.”

A French market will feature more than 35 local vendors each day selling lavender goods ranging from candles, cookies and jewelry to pickles, ceramics and crocheted items.

The food court contains eight food trucks including Little Tin Shed selling burgers, chicken sandwiches, fries, hot dogs, NoFo Flour Shoppe for  gourmet desserts and Dough Boyz cooking up brick-oven pizza. Plus, there's lavender ice cream from Snowflake Ice Cream Shoppe in Riverhead.

Long Island Farm Brewery offers a beer garden with picnic tables where a lavender-inspired beer, The Lavender Fest ($8 per pint), is on the menu.

Expect live music on both days featuring local acoustic performers John Sapienza and Emy McB.

Take a ride on the Waterdrinker Express, which goes on a loop within Activity Alley that contains a series of miniature playhouses in Tulip Town, jumbo jumping pads, a nine-hole miniature golf course, an obstacle course and wooden play area containing a train, pirate ship and fire truck. See a series of barnyard animals such as Nigerian dwarf goats, alpacas, Kunekune pigs, chickens, sulcata tortoises, peacocks and emus.

WHEN | WHERE 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday-Sunday

MORE INFO 631-878-8653,


East Marion Farm: 7540 Main Rd., East Marion; Calverton Farm: 47 Manor Rd., Calverton

Matthew Astride, of Manhattan, poses among the lavender plants as...

Matthew Astride, of Manhattan, poses among the lavender plants as friend Debbie Chan, of Brooklyn, snaps photos at Lavender by the Bay in Calverton in July 2022. Credit: Newsday/John Paraskevas

Head out into the fields for a photo-op ($14 for 90 minutes) among the lavender at locations in East Marion and Calverton.

“Our fields look like a sea of purple when they are blooming and the fragrance is intoxicating,” says co-owner Chanan Rozenbaum.

Multiple varieties break down to English and French lavender. “The English lavender blooms mid-June to the end of the month,” says Rozenbaum. “The French lavender bloom starts at the end of June up to the last week of July. Sometimes, it can even go into August.”

The lavender is sold in fresh ($10-$12) or dried ($26-$30) bunches. The shop sells up to 30 products including soap ($9), essential oils ($14), pillow mist ($20) and homemade lavender honey ($16).

“The look of the actual flowers can vary as well,” says Rozenbaum. “Some are purple, some are pink, some are white and some are even blue.”

WHEN | WHERE 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, weather permitting

MORE INFO East Marion Farm: 631-477-1019; Calverton Farm: 631-381-0730,


3360 Sound Ave., Riverhead

Come to Riverhead where the English, French and Spanish lavender is organic.

“We don’t use chemicals like the other farms in the area who use pesticides,” says Kelly Maris. “Our goal is to be good stewards of the Earth.”

The lavender is sold in multiple-size pots: small ($15), medium ($20) and large ($30). There are also dried lavender sachets (starting at $6), soap (starting at $6), oils (starting at $8.99) and candles (starting at $15.99) for sale.

“People love to hang sachets in their car because of fragrance,” says Kelly. “You rub it and it activates the seeds to give off the scent. They last for years.”

 The farm also has goats, chickens and ducks that visitors can feed as well as an acre of sunflowers and farm fresh eggs for sale ($7.50 per dozen).

WHEN | WHERE 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily

MORE INFO 631-740-9025,


132 Ryerson Ave., Manorville

Wander through the lavender fields and pick your own, lavender merchandise for sale, children’s activities include face painting, fairy hair styling and candle making, vendor market with handcrafted arts and crafts, live music, food trucks and wine tastings. Admission is free, $10 parking fee.

WHEN | WHERE 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. July 6-7




Lavender grows in the sensory garden near the main greenhouse at Planting Fields Arboretum State Historic Park in Oyster Bay.

“Most of the lavender that grows here is English lavender, which needs a cool and moist environment with well drained organic soil. It likes full sun exposure with soil that’s not too dry but not too wet,” says Vincent Simeone, director of Planting Fields Arboretum State Historic Park.

Over at Old Westbury Gardens, the lavender grows all along the fence in the Cottage Garden.

“Lavender is a hearty plant. Once you get it established, it’s very carefree,” says head grower Scott Lucas. “As they flower, you need to cut them back a bit and you can get another flowering period toward August.”  


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