This Lavender Labyrinth in Michigan Deserves a Spot on Your Bucket List
The two-mile walk through the labyrinth is designed to help visitors reflect and connect with nature.
Strolling through at least one flower field is a must in spring and summer, and there are plenty of breathtaking options throughout the country. You can head to Dallas or San Antonio to enjoy Texas Tulips’ acres of flowers, or take a trip to Carlsbad Ranch in California for a stunning view of thousands of ranunculus flowers. And if you’re in the Midwest, there’s one unique farm that needs to be on your road trip list this summer: Cherry Point Farm & Market in Shelby, Michigan has a beautiful, fragrant lavender labyrinth you can walk through with an elaborate herb garden at its center.
Founded by the Bull family in 1949, Cherry Point is one of the oldest operating farms and markets in Oceana County in Western Michigan. The farm grows a variety of fruits, veggies, flowers, and herbs, and sells goodies like cherry strudel (made with freshly-picked cherries), homemade jams, bread, and other treats in the market. If you’re able to visit the farm, make sure you have plenty of time to explore the lavender labyrinth and herb garden.
A gorgeous counterpoint to the farm’s orchards, the labyrinth consists of dozens of lavender plants growing in circles surrounding the central herb garden. There’s no danger of getting lost if you decide to visit the labyrinth; it’s not a maze, and the lavender is planted in a spiral pattern that guides you toward the center. “There’s a big difference between a maze and a labyrinth,” says Barbara Bull, the owner of Cherry Point Farm & Market. “A maze is a puzzle, it’s a form of entertainment, where a labyrinth is this wonderful, thoughtful, contemplative, meditative walk.”
In the past few years, walking labyrinths as a form of meditation and reflection has grown in popularity. Bull says that the walk through Cherry Point’s labyrinth is about two miles long and takes most people around an hour. “Everybody enters the labyrinth in their own mental space,” Bull says, so the walk can take more or less time, especially if you stop to rest or meditate along the way. Visitors also have the option of walking straight to the herb garden in the center without following the winding circular path.
Cherry Point’s labyrinth is particularly relaxing, because you’re surrounded by the calming smell and sight of lavender as you walk through it. However, it’s currently going through a period of regrowth; the lavender was first planted in 2002, but many of the plants were killed during the polar vortex in early 2019. The new plants aren’t quite as established as the previous crop, and Bull says it will take another two or three years for the lavender to mature. “It isn’t the lavender that makes the labyrinth,” she says; even with smaller plants, the walk can still be a meditative journey, and the herb garden wasn’t affected by the freeze, so it’ll look as spectacular as ever this year.
The herb garden is planted in a pattern of 12 interlocking circles called a vesica, and contains dozens of different herbs. The overlapping circles create 36 different beds, each containing various groupings of herbs. The 12 innermost beds have different themes, including plants mentioned in Shakespeare’s writings and herbs traditionally used for medicinal or culinary purposes.
As people walk through the labyrinth and the herb garden, Bull wants them to feel connected to nature. “The garden, and specifically the labyrinth, is a place for people to come, to immerse themselves in the beauty and in the pattern that facilitates a connection,” she says. The farm also doesn’t harvest the plants from the central herb garden: “We want it to be there as an exemplary exhibition garden,” Bull says.
Walking through the labyrinth and herb garden is free, and you can also find bulk lavender and lavender products in the farm’s market. Despite the loss of lavender last year, Bull says the best time to visit is in mid-July to early August, when the new lavender plants will be blooming (though they could bloom earlier depending on the weather), and the herb garden will be lush. The farm is closed from November to April, but is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. from May through October this year. It's definitely worth planning a road trip to see the farm, garden, and labyrinth for yourself anytime during this window!