Tulip Festival 2016

Every April, millions of tulips are abloom in northern Washington, particularly at the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival.

This year was my first time there, and it was a sight to behold. Rows and rows of tulips…pink, purple, white, red, orange, yellow…and several two-toned ones as well. Simply gorgeous!

The tulip fields are scattered throughout the valley, with the largest concentration of them in Tulip Town and RoozenGaarde.

The tulips bloomed early this year due to unusually warm weather. So when I went last Saturday (April 9), most of the tulips were well past their peak bloom. In fact, several rows had already been topped! Kind of sad to see so many beheaded tulips, but it’s apparently the best way to ensure next year’s bulbs will bloom strong. It was still beautiful though, and I’m lucky to have gone when I did.

Apparently, the festival – which usually goes for the entire month – will close early this year: Sunday, April 17. So unless you make it there this weekend, hold onto these tips for next year:

  • Cash-only admission to Tulip Town was $6 per person. I didn’t make it to RoozenGaarde, but I think admission there was also $5-6.
  • If you must go on a weekend, get there by 10am at the latest. Any later and you’ll be stuck in some nasty traffic.
  • Signs on the freeway will direct you to exit 221, which everyone seems to follow. I bypassed it and took an exit farther north instead (I think exit 230). SO MUCH BETTER. But it does take you through a quaint residential neighborhood, so drive slowly and respect the local residents.
  • Wear gum boots. Else be prepared to lose a shoe in the mud.
  • No pets are allowed, but I saw at least two dog owners sneak in their pups.

Tulip Town is designed in rows. Hopefully next year I’ll make it to RoozenGaarde, which I believe is more garden-like.

Stuart and I made a day of it. We spent about 90 minutes wandering Tulip Town, followed by lunch at Porterhouse and a stroll along the river and an antique shop. We rounded out the afternoon with a quick drive to Deception Pass and a chill afternoon skipping rocks on the beach. Such a lovely day!

I’m really stunned at how nicely my photos turned out too. No filters, no frills. Just my old rinky-dink Samsung Galaxy S4, with the exception of the photo Stuart took of me on his iPhone 6 at the very bottom. Enjoy!

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