After turning off Route 6 — Cape Cod’s main highway — and driving through the center of Harwich, I one day found myself on an ordinary residential road. All of a sudden, I saw a sign, placed at the bottom of a tall oak tree: “LAVENDER FARM.”
Instantly enchanted, I was pulled down a long, bumpy gravel driveway through the woods until I came to a clearing, where 14,000 lavender plants were in bloom. It smelled like heaven. Or like Provence. Or both.
This magical place was a garden called Cape Cod Lavender Farm. I was smitten. In New England, the lavender season is abbreviated, though, lasting only the few short weeks between the end of June and the beginning of July. And so, Cynthia and Matthew Sutphin, the farm’s owners, rush to harvest the blooms by hand and hang it to dry.
At the farm’s store, which is open from mid-March to Columbus Day, the pair sells dried lavender, scooped into paper bags and sold by the pound, as well as several varieties of hardy plants suited to New England soil. The Sutphins also collaborate with local artisans, and their charming, ivy-covered shop holds every kind of lavender-scented product imaginable: salt scrubs, chocolate bars, essential oils, marmalade, linen spray, and soy candles, just to name a few.
Bordered by sixty acres of land preserved by the Harwich Conservation Trust, the farm is surrounded by trails leading from the lavender fields through scrubby oak forest and out to Island Pond. It’s easy to see (and smell) why summer is high time for stoppers-by, but even after the scent of blooming lavender has faded from the air, this rustic spot remains an enchanting place to visit.
Photos by Antonia Farzan, except where noted.