Those who know me best know I have a heart full of roses but I douse everything I love in healing lavender. From insomniac friends to those suffering from colds or even heart-ache, the Globalboho prescription I am known to lead with is 99% of the time Lavender, due to Antiviral, Antifungal, antibacterial and anti-anything weighing you down inherent properties. My #notadoctor a** prescribes Lavender to folks out on the road the way boomers used to make kids take a spoonful of castor or cod liver oil at the slightest sign of any malaise. Because it just works. Something about it jimmys whatever is on the human spirit in an awkward way off, even if only just enough for us to get a better grasp of what is afoot under the surface so we can correct things.
There was one kinesthetic thing I have had at the top of my bucket list for over a decade, something that I had missed by smatterings of days up and down the west coast as well as in the region outside of Montreal multiple times. Long before there were influencers posting pretty pics in search of likes, all I’d wanted to do was be an angel in a field of lavender blush-grinning up at God. I just knew it’d feel some kind of way vibrationally, but it had to be perfectly timed. And my timing had been off since 2009 concerning this great white buffalo experience. until 2021.
One of the coolest things I got to do at the top of this wanderlusty summer was spend some more time in one of the best-kept secrets of the Northern California region, Petaluma.
It was where 2020 ended and 2021 began for me, holed up in a musical sanctuary watching a friend’s pet tigers while they prowled around the jungles of Costa Rica. I taught myself to play the guitar and the piano whilst happily writing my ass off across multiple genres while on vacation from grievechronic up in that newest region to earn its AVA [wine appellation]. Even during lockdown, I had an amazing time.
Petaluma is a town of laidback, creative, empathetic people with black lives matter signs in almost every yard on some streets, long after other places had pulled them down. It was nothing but grace to be there when the January 6th insurrection hopped off because their collective reaction to it was something I didn’t even know I needed to see until I was witnessing it. They weren’t “embarrassed” by the insurrectionists as many pockets of white people across this country were. People in Petaluma were Pissed. AT the ones who stormed the Capitol. And they minced no words about it, either. There was no “there’s good people on both sides,” no “backing the white horse, even when it’s rabid and biting people” nonsense. There was this collective and Expressed sense of outrage, & they were expressing that as loudly to and with me as they were with their neighbors. And this is a town with a military museum that has paraphernalia from both sides of WW2 on offer, real talk. I was actually grateful to be camped out there.
These were folks who truly gave no fucks for the antics of big sister cities to the north, east and south of it… because Petaluma’s own history is wild, storied, rich and crazy… it totally stands on its own. You’re out in what would, on the surface seem to be a place of nothing but farms, hatcheries and creameries, centuries deep, with a beautifully wrought turn of the century downtown full of gorgeous brick buildings with soaring ceilings you’d never expect from the outside.
But that unexpectedness as you go from the outside, in is only the tip of the iceberg with this place because it turns out there was a full-on world within a world at play in Petaluma more than 100 years ago…better yet, an Underworld openly raging in the heart of innocent looking Petaluma the entire time. Literally thriving Under the city. Speakeasies, brothels, you name it, this lil farming & river town had it going on in spades off in the cut. No wonder my former clubkid you know what felt so at home. Turns out that the energetic response I had to the city was one that echoed that of many transplants I’d met there in January, people who all said “wait until you see it all the way open.”
They told no tales. There was no better place to be when lockdown first lifted the summer of 2021 than in sweet, ole seemingly unassuming Petaluma, California.
They charged the streets like kids who’d been on punishment and were seeing their friends for the first time in what felt like forever. Live music was back instantly, running the gamut. Movie theaters welcomed folks, outdoor seating areas at restaurants were slammed but safe, and indoor seating returned with a bang. But the best part of it for me was finding things to do there that even these fun loving locals had no clue were in their own backyard and watching them go “What the Fuck?! That’s here??” when I told them about it.
The Lavender Bee Farm is one of those places.
Owned by Richard and Jo Ann Wallenstein, The beautiful Lavender Bee Farm on the outskirts of Petaluma in Sonoma county specializes in all things lavender.
And when I say all things lavender, I mean just that. This lovely couple has been in business twenty years sending lavender based products all over the planet online. They make their own lavender infused honey, they make lavender sugars…and they leave most of the honey for the bees to use as they see fit.
There are multiple kinds of lavender grown on the farm as well as some sister species like salvia…if the color purple moves you this is a place to spend a quiet afternoon surrounded by an assortment of shades of it.
I had the pleasure of getting a private tour by Richard in mid-June, right after the world re-opened. At that point, they were giving tours by appointment only and my request came during the calm before the tourist storm the entire region was hoping for.
The most interesting thing about Lavender Bee Farm for me was how , in a strange way, it was hidden in plain sight.
We are technically IN wine country there. But this was a place that was not hours out of the way. I took an uber, barely a ten minute one, from a cafe in downtown. This was technically closer to Petaluma than any of the actual vines represented by winery tasterooms in town. In fact, you could see vineyards from there.
What this means is if you are full-on doing wine country and you want more than the Napa, now kind of disneyland- wine country experience I would suggest you start in Petaluma and explore its wineries, its breweries- because there is also a huge beer scene there- AND definitely Lavender Bee Farm. It gives the entire experience of the region a depth that other places have to work to get you to feel beyond the -props given- beatific winery experience.
In other words, if you want more than a boozy weekend running around vineyards(and I just did a summer of that ‘in search of’ style, so believe you me, there is nothing wrong with wanting that)… do what you can to make your way there to soak up the self-care that underpins all of our hedonistic outpourings in the first place.
There’s an equilibrium that those who charge up to wine country are unconsciously in search of, I feel. And there’s something about a little hair of the dawg to snap your system awake and make it remember its own sea legs. All I am suggesting is setting up some swaths of time to go zen out in some local lavender and stocking up on some satchels filled with freshly harvested lavender to take along with you for the ride.
We Globalboho-wired folks are all for the healthy decadence. Let Lavender Bee Farm be a pit stop to fill your arsenal with some sanctuary triggers on the way out into the further reaches of Sonoma county wine country. Better yet, here’s them speaking for themselves:
Get Close to Nature
“Envision your special ceremony amid three acres of lavender fields and gardens, against a backdrop of rolling hills. Wine Country serenity at its finest.”
Farm Tours by Appointment Only
If you would like to book a tour of the farm, please phone Lavender Bee Farm at (707) 789-0554 to inquire about availability.
764 Chapman Lane, Petaluma, California 94952