Saturday, April 19, 2014

Fields and Fields of Tulips at RoozenGaarde (Skagit / Mt. Vernon Tulip Festival)

   Even though there are many places where you can go see Tulips, they are usually in isolation and in little patches. It is only when the Tulips are in huge patches that they can have a stun factor. Knowing about the Skagit Tulip Festival for some time, I never got the chance to actually visit it. Driving by the I-5, you can see the huge cement cylinder (I think that's a chimney but I'm not sure), and there are Tulips painted on it.
   The way the Tulip Festival work is that there are multiple patches in the Skagit County/ Mt. Vernon area, and you would drive around the roads that are designated by the map:, and there will be patches along the side. The two of the biggest Tulip places are Roozen Gaarde and Tulip Town. That said, there are many places that you can see the Tulips too and they are all located along the roads that are marked on the map.
   For us, we arrived via the I-5 and we exited at exit 230 and drove around for a bit. There were a few patches along the sides of the road that was free to view but the parking was limited. Also, it was very muddy and slippery (so remember to dress for the weather and wear boots). We didn't get off our car until we were very close to Roozen Gaarde and there was a free patch for us to look at. The patch of tulips here were big, but the tulips themselves were relatively small. After, walking around this patch for a bit, we decided to go visit Roozen Gaarde just around the corner.
   I was very impressed with Roozen Gaarde as we drove into the parking area. Because we came from the south, we can see the the huge patch of tulips on the left and then a Dutch style gift shop like thing on the right. Driving into the parking lot was a bit of a pain because the parking lot was improvised and we were driving on grass that wasn't very well drawn out. There were parking marshals to help guide out the road, to the correct parking location thankfully.
Me running through the tulip fields
  Once we were parked, we made our way towards the entrance. Before the entrance, everyone had to make a pit stop at the porta potty. Just a warning about using these, make sure the doors are LOCKED when you use them. I saw a few cases of people opening up the porta potties with people in them... even though it was funny to watch the reactions, I'd imagine it would be uncomfortable for the parties involved.
  Surprisingly, the admission line was slightly long. It took about a good 10 minutes before we were able to get into the gardens. It costs about $5 per person for admission and each admission entitles a free parking spot. Walking into the gardens, it was memorizing to see the long rows upon rows of tulips.
   There were many colours and many shapes and sizes of tulips. Most of all, there were just so many and everything in sight was tulips. We began our walk on the tulip patches. Besides the fact that it was a bit too crowded and muddy, the tulips were just gorgeous. It's the middle of exam season for me right now, but being here, I forgot about my exams (temporarily).
   After walking around the tulip fields for about half an hour, we decided to cross the street to visit the displays (which is included in the admission to RoozenGaarde). There was a traffic crossing patroller who was in control of traffic so pedestrians could cross the street safely. He had a huge layer of sunscreen on his face and it was kind of funny to see him all covered up as if he was a bee keeper.
  Once we crossed the street, we entered the display area of the gardens. I never knew that there were that many varieties of tulips! There were hundreds, if not thousands of types of tulips. All of these tulips that are on display could be ordered too (if you would like them for your own gardens).
   Some of the names of the tulips were really funny. Like there were ones called "orange juice" when the tulip was really more red than orange. I found a variety that is called "Chinatown". I am not sure why, but Chinatown wasn't blossoming as much as the other varieties yet.
   Not only was the display area filled with many different types of tulips, but there were concessions selling food as well. It sort of felt like a carnival.
   In short, I would definitely recommend coming here for a walk. Despite being a bit too busy, the tulips themselves were worth it. Also the drive in the country side was a good break from reality.
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