Tulip festival offers fun daytime getaway

May 6, 2014

By Christina Corrales-Toy

WEEKEND WANDERER

I’m not a gardener.

You most certainly won’t find me in the yard cutting grass, or crouched near a patch of soil pulling weeds and planting flowers.

Imagine my parents’ surprise then, when I suggested we head north for the final weekend of the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival.

By Christina Corrales-Toy A line of still-blooming purple tulips is bordered by the stems of now fallen blooms of the Tulip Town garden during the last weekend of the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival on April 26.

By Christina Corrales-Toy
A line of still-blooming purple tulips is bordered by the stems of now fallen blooms of the Tulip Town garden during the last weekend of the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival on April 26.

Flowers have never really been my thing, but after my April 26 exploration of the blooming tulip fields, I certainly have a new appreciation for the beauty of all things flora.

The trek to Mount Vernon is a little less than an hour and a half from Issaquah, far enough to really get out of town, but close enough to make it a manageable weekend daytrip.

We dressed for all weather, as any prepared Pacific Northwesterner would do, and it proved to be a good choice. As our car approached the exit toward the tulips, dark, menacing clouds unleashed a fury of rain and hail on us.

In a moment of good fortune, though, when we finally decided to exit the car and explore the fields, the clouds parted just for a bit, allowing us to explore the Tulip Town gardens without
getting wet.

On the Web

Learn more about the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival at www.tulipfestival.org or www.fb.com/skagitvalleytulipfestival.

The annual festival runs the entire month of April. RoozenGaarde and Tulip Town are two of the main gardens. Each garden has a $5 admission fee that, once paid, allows visitors to explore the sites, both of which include gift shops.

You don’t have to get out of your car, if you don’t want to. Simply driving past fields upon fields of the colorful tulips is an experience in and of itself.

We visited during the festival’s tail-end, so many of the fields were no longer in bloom, and the flowers’ fallen petals visibly littered the floor. I hope to visit earlier next year to experience the full beauty of the blooms.

If you go

• While the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival occurs only in April, there is one Mount Vernon locale that is open year round.
• RoozenGarde, established in 1985, is in the business of growing tulips, daffodils and irises. Its garden includes 16 acres of greenhouses and 1,000 acres of field blooms.
• While spring is the time to enjoy the tulip festival, visitors can enjoy a summer picnic on the grounds or a holiday festival during winter.
• RoozenGarde is at 15867 Beaver Marsh Road, Mount Vernon. Learn more at www.tulips.com.

There were still a few, though, and when we drove past the first blooming field, after seeing nothing but remnants of previous ones, my excitement was a little embarrassing.

When I think of flowers, I normally envision the bouquets sold at QFC or the nursery at Home Depot, but seeing those lines of tulips in a rural field is an altogether different experience.

For starters, the smell of fresh flowers is intoxicating and surrounds you as soon as you step foot in the tulip gardens. The visual experience is magnificent, too, as you are treated to a fluorescent rainbow of petals as far as the eye can see.

We visited the Tulip Town garden, which offers face painting, trolley tours, an indoor garden show and special tribute gardens, including one for military personnel, in addition to a vast field of flowers. Tulip Town is only open in April, but nearby RoozenGaarde is open year-round.

In my more than 10 years living in Washington, I had always seen the tulip festival pictures, and always wondered why people would drive an hour to go see a bunch of flowers.

After experiencing it myself, I now know the answer — “Why not?”

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  1. Tulip festival offers fun daytime getaway : The Issaquah Press … | Travel on May 8th, 2014 11:30 am

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