Monday, April 21, 2014

Seattle: Skagit Tulip Festival in Washington

Allow me to add to your bucket list.  When I say I that went to "see the tulips" at the Skagit Tulip Festival, I really mean it!  Look at this spectacular field of red.  Part of the fun of a tulip festival is that it is crawling with people, all out to enjoy the day and marvel at the beautiful and varied blooms.  Each and every person is in a good mood and all are willing to take your pictures for you.  I can't resist showing you this great picture of Dan and me standing in a tulip field.  Maybe this should be our Christmas card picture...
We are staying just outside of Seattle, Washington and the drive is an easy 90 minutes north.  Check out this map of the tulip growing area.  (I am going to publish this blog post now and I'll come back when Dan is around and note our exact route for you - it was short and sweet, but allowed for plenty of tulip viewing.)
Look at the mountains in the distance! I could not believe our luck - we visited on April 12 and the day was about 65 degrees and partly sunny.
There is a lot of traffic (think of a row of cars snaking their way down country roads), so I recommend a bathroom break before you arrive within the map area and bring along snacks and water to keep your passengers happy and comfortable.  There are clear areas where cars have pulled off along the road to exit their vehicles and take pictures.  Join in the fun and try for your perfect family portrait.  
After exploring a few fields, we crept along the road to Roozengaarde Tulip Display Garden.  You can Visitors pay $5 to enter the garden display and enjoy the beauty of 250,000 blooming bulbs. A 15-acre tulip field (above) is right across the street (and next to the parking area).  Paid entrance to the garden display allows you to wander these fields as well.  What a sight! 

In the manicured garden area, some families spread out blankets and enjoyed the sunshine while their children ran around nearby.  It was very crowded, but as I said, I think that is part of the fun.  When something is special and only blooms for a short period of time, it inspires people to come out and enjoy it.
Above is an example of the display gardens (each variety clearly marked in case you want to note your favorites and order bulbs for your garden in the shopping tent).
Yellow and red as far as the eye can see.
What could be better than an arch of tulips and a mountain backdrop?  I saw a couple taking what looked like their engagement photo right here.  
This "Salmon Parrot" was one of my favorite tulips.  It looks like a Dutch painter's dream. I think a large bouquet of these would make my hotel room look like it was in House Beautiful.
Within Roozengaarde's open tulip field, I could see a painter set up to capture the day.  Can you see her with her easel?  I wish I had thought of bringing my travel paint set along - I would have loved to paint this on site.
I really can't emphasize how relaxing and worthwhile it is to head to the Skagit Tulip Festival (which will run April 1-30) - if not this year, then next.  Just mark your calendar and promise yourself.

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