One of the World's Loveliest Lavender Farms Is Just Outside of London

Jack Taylor/Getty Images
Jack Taylor/Getty Images

Mayfield Lavender in Banstead, UK, an hour outside London, is just as much a treat for the olfactory system as it is for the eyes. The English lavender farm features rolling fields of fragrant plants, and according to Condé Nast Traveler, the site is open to visitors when the flowers are in bloom from June to September.

Originally a Victorian lavender field, the farm was revived in the 2000s by Brendan Maye, who was working in the fine fragrance division of Wella UK at the time. He convinced the company to grow lavender as a marketing stunt, and when the business was acquired by Proctor & Gamble in 2005, he bought the farm and incorporated it under his own name. With help from his wife Lorna, he transformed Mayfield Lavender into a tourist attraction.

The lavender farm opens to the public every year on June 1, with the flowers reaching peak bloom from late June to early September. For £2.50 (about $3.17), guests can wander the 25-acre farm, taking in the sights and scents. When the attraction closes on September 2, visitors can tour the Mayfield nursery and shop in Epsom that's open all year.

If you can't make it to England this lavender season, you can seek out the flowers in the U.S. The town of Shelby, Michigan is home to a massive lavender labyrinth that's visible on Google Earth.

English lavender field.
Jack Taylor/Getty Images

English lavender field.
Jack Taylor/Getty Images

English lavender field.
Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

English lavender field.
Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

[h/t Condé Nast Traveler]

A Picturesque Region of Southern Italy Wants to Pay People $770 a Month to Move There

Freeartist/iStock via Getty Images
Freeartist/iStock via Getty Images

If you’ve been toying with the idea of moving to southern Europe and opening a quaint inn ever since you first saw Mamma Mia! in 2008, it’s time to dust off your overalls and get packing. Molise, Italy, will pay you about $770 each month for three years if you promise to establish a business in one of its underpopulated villages.

The campaign aims to bolster Italy’s population numbers and provide areas with the culture, commerce, and infrastructure needed to keep those numbers up. “If we had offered funding, it would have been yet another charity gesture,” Molise president Donato Toma told The Guardian. “We wanted people to invest here … It’s a way to breathe life into our towns while also increasing the population.”

The government will, however, supplement the newcomer program with actual funding—about $11,000—for participating villages, which must have fewer than 2000 residents. And, if an ABBA-inspired inn isn’t the name of your game, Toma also suggested a bakery, a stationery shop, or a restaurant.

Molise, a mountainous region southeast of Rome, boasts spectacular cliffside views, sweeping olive groves, and bucolic tranquility. Why, then, aren’t people clamoring to move there for free? Partially because Italy is currently enduring a nationwide population crisis that has hit Molise especially hard.

According to the Italian National Institute of Statistics, the region has lost 9000 residents since 2014, and 2800 of those were from last year alone. The Guardian explains that young people are seeking job opportunities elsewhere in Europe, and those who stay aren’t starting families. Last year, for example, nine of Molise’s towns had no new births to report. Overall, Italy’s population of resident citizens fell by 677,000 between 2014 and 2018, and it’s second only to Japan on the list of countries with the largest proportion of senior citizens.

Enticing prospective residents with small salaries is only one method of combating the plummeting population numbers. The mayor of Sutera, in Sicily, has offered his empty estates to Libyan asylum seekers, while Sambuca, also in Sicily, is selling abandoned houses for about a dollar.

[h/t The Guardian]

Celebrate Thanksgiving With a Friends-Themed Holiday Locations Tour

Kārlis Dambrāns, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY 2.0
Kārlis Dambrāns, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY 2.0

This year, friendsgiving has a whole new meaning.

Entertainment Weekly reports that Warner Bros. Studio Tour Hollywood is giving Friends fans an opportunity to eat their turkey and mashed potatoes on the set of the beloved TV series.

On select dates in November, guests will get a 90-minute tour of the show’s iconic filming locations. Celebrate the series’ 25th anniversary by visiting Monica’s apartment, sitting on the big orange couch at Central Perk, jogging along the path that Phoebe and Rachel ran on the Central Park set, and singing “Smelly Cat” in the same spot where Phoebe used to perform.

And the fun doesn’t stop there. EW reports that fans will also get the chance to win prizes with Friends trivia while on the tour. When guests are good and hungry, they will be served a Thanksgiving feast prepared by a private chef.

Maybe don’t put the turkey on your head, though. We hear it still scares the bejeezus out of Joey.

And, for the first time ever, guests will be able to dance in the famous fountain from the opening credits of the show. Good thing we have been practicing the clap all these years!

Tickets ($139) are now on sale here.

[h/t Entertainment Weekly]

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