It was 7 years ago, my husband surprised me with a road bike. He bought it thinking it was an activity we could do together. I had different plans. As soon as I laid eyes on her I knew her purpose would be to introduce me to the world of triathlon. Ironically, we both got what we wanted, I would ride with him on the weekends and train for triathlon during the week. Cycling for us was never about how fast or how far but rather where to. We planned weekends away focused on where we wanted to ride. I have to tell you the world looks different from a cyclist's point of view.
Riding has taught us to appreciate things previously overlooked. I have fallen in love with the sight of an old covered bridge, the aesthetic of a small town, the acreage occupied by livestock, tree lined streets and the local greasy spoon (us being the only tourists – everyone else a local). I have been to places that make me feel as though I am playing tourist in another country. Put simply, I love exploring Quebec. There are places that have made me feel our ancestry and our history, in profound ways. For most of us, our travel plans for 2020 have been cancelled/postponed but the silver lining is this - you now have time and I hope the desire to visit Quebec.
This past week, my friend Dawn and I visited the lavender fields at Bleu Lavende, located in Stanstead (Fitch Bay), Quebec. Like most people during COVID-19, we haven’t travelled further than 15 kilometers from home, over the past 4 months. The 1 hour and 45-minute drive felt like a real road trip. Freedom at last!
The lavender farm is an immersive experience that titillates all the senses; the sight of the flowers – a sea of purple, the smell of the lavender evokes an automatic sense of calm and the sounds – of children laughing and the bumble bees buzzing. Walking through the gates you know you are somewhere special. If you allow your mind to wander it can feel as though you are in the South of France.
As we walked the fields; taking in the beauty, smelling the flowers and immersing ourselves in the experience – I let myself be transported. I had been there before and knew to bring a picnic. Awash with gratitude sitting on a blanket merely watching the people go by. We were there to soak up all the farm had to offer. I felt as though I was melting into the ground. - so present in the moment.
The farm is an actual working farm that harvest’s the lavender. They make a vast array of products (see below). Lavender oil is believed to have antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties, which can help to heal minor burns and bug bites. Research suggests that it may be useful for treating anxiety, insomnia, depression, and restlessness.You can also cook, bake or make fabulous cocktails with it. Simply grind lavender into sugar and use it in simple butter cookies or infuse cream for lavender-scented whipped or ice cream. I have been testing my mixology skills
by using fresh herbs, from the garden. My favorite alcohol base is vodka. Here is a yummy cocktail that uses both vodka and lavender.
Vodka Lavender Lemonade(makes two cocktails)
· 2 tsp of sugar
· 2 ounces cold water
· 4 ounces of freshly squeezed lemons
· ice cubes
· 2 small lavender stems
Place all the ingredients in a shaker and shake vigorously for a good 45 seconds - so that the lavender infuses into the liquid. -OR- You can make a simple syrup, using the lavender.
For those of you who are into buying local, then this is the place for you. I derive great joy when buying products “made in Quebec”. If you don’t have time to make it to the farm but would like to try their products - no worries you can purchase online at www.bleulavande.com.
Bleu Lavende Products:
Room / Linen spray
Household cleaning products
You don’t have to be into nature, farms or like lavender to enjoy your time on the farm. FUN FACT - this location is super Insta-gram-able! It is the perfect backdrop for an Instagram photo shoot!!! Visitors everywhere vieing to capture the best photograph. Watching someone trying to get the perfect selfie is beyond entertaining to me. For some it takes a few clicks and for others the process is all consuming and long. I like to strike a balance between living in the moment and capturing it. I admit I wanted for both, Dawn and I to leave having captured photos we could share. Full disclosure my photo was up on IG within 24 hours. TRUST ME - It is impossible to visit Bleu Lavende and not want to share this gem of a location, with your followers.
I think this location will be a summer favorite for tons of people who previously didn’t have the time. Think simple pleasures: watching children run through the fields, parents trying to capture the perfect family photo, spotting the elder couple holding hands as they stroll down the hill. There is an on site boutique that is a must! In my opinion, it is a postcard image of the best of humanity – no rushing, no stressing and no worries. I felt that there! Far away from the heaviness of the world. It is a momentary escape from it all. That is my day trip turned into a BLOG to share with you.
If you make a trip to Bleu Lavende please share your experience with me.