When I first spent time in Cherry Valley, thirty years ago, it was a one-stoplight town with ranches, orchards and beautiful views. Today, most of the ranch land has been replaced by neighborhoods and only a few cherry orchards are still maintained. Along with more shopping and housing opportunities, growth has brought a PGA golf course, a couple of really nice parks, a new high school, and of course, a few more stop lights. But the lovely views remain.
Highland Springs Resort, tucked up in the foothills of the San Bernardino mountains, has a popular lavender festival. On the drive inland I wondered if we were even going to be able to smell the flowers- the inland hills and valleys are smokey today, as a fire is currently duking it out for supremacy with a lot of area firefighters. It is putting up a good fight, too, and has grown to over 10,000 acres. But, the winds were in our favor and we really enjoyed the festival. By the time we arrived and had scouted out the grounds we were ready to eat- lunch came from the Sausage and Beer tent. The Grand Oak Sausage was a fabulous house-made German bratwurst. Even better was the sauerkraut served along side it. This was worth the price of admission today, holy cow it was delicious- the sautéed onions mixed into the kraut put it over the top. The Highland Springs Resort is on 2400 acres of land in Cherry Valley and The Husband used to run through the property when training for the high school’s cross country team. It all looks very different, he says. Now this is one of the state’s larger lavender farms and next they are expanding into the premium olive market. The entire area is gloriously perfumed with the herbs and lavender, sweet grasses and pine.
Today at the festival there were more lavender products than you could shake a
stick lavender wand at- so many crafts on display, described in seminars, or for purchase. Other local crafts were available for purchase as well, like specialty wools, yarn and fibers for spinning (thefiberranch.com), some very lovely pottery, and The Boy’s favorite- specialty fruit stands. If you want soaps, lotions or honey, they have it here. From the food to the music and all of the crafts and scenery in between, I really enjoyed the 11th Annual Lavender Festival (honestly, I’ve never seen more posh porta-potties or shuttle buses). And I’m not leaving here without getting a lavender mojito!