Tulip Festival – Skagit Valley

by admin - April 26th, 2011.
Filed under: Day Trips from Vancouver. Tagged as: , , , , , , , , , .

Michael’s birthday; sun shining, a calendar that is getting very booked up for the next several months – all very good reasons (some might say excuses) for us to sneak away for a day trip! I’ve always wanted to see the tulip fields in Washington State when they’re in full bloom, so we decided to jump in the car and head across the border. What a great idea and we had the absolute BEST day! I must say that we almost had second thoughts when we discovered that there was a 1 1/2 hour wait at the Blaine border crossing (which turned out to be more than 2 hours!), but we had our Kindles and decided we would just consider it an opportunity to sit and read in the sun. The time passed pleasantly and quickly and before we knew it we were in Blaine and, after a quick stop for cheap (er) gas, heading south. We decided that it would be fun to take the Chuckanut Drive route along the coast, rather than the I-5 highway and it was such a lovely drive that we were glad we did. We turned off the highway just past Bellingham and easily found ourselves on the winding coast road, enjoying spectacular views of the blue water and the islands. An interesting historical sign along the way tells a bit of the story of building the road and the views from the rest stop had me wishing for my Nikon which we accidentally donated to someone on the Max train in Portland a couple of weeks ago. But that’s a whole other story! Next stop was a very picturesque oyster farm which is down a winding little road and where one can buy fresh oysters to take home for Sunday supper. Or if you, like us, have little experience in cooking oysters, there’s a handy restaurant nearby called the Oyster Creek Inn which serves up, among other things, delicious pan fried oysters on a lemon caper aioli with fresh home made bread – yum!

Snack time!

Tummy’s full, and with instructions from the helpful restauranteur, we continued our journey, winding first through a cute little town called Edison then within minutes we were in farm land with the field map in our hands (which we downloaded before leaving home – very helpful. Here’s the link: http://www.tulipfestival.org/map). The map lists which fields are currently in bloom – whoever thought of that was brilliant. It was surprising how many people were milling around the fields, some with big expensive cameras but many like me with nothing but their iPhone, all clicking away trying to somehow record the fantastic display of color. The first field we came to was charging $4.00 for parking which may at first seem unnecessary but there’s no parking allowed on the road so it is the only option. Besides, the farmers have a lot of people trampling through their tulips so $4.00 seems like a deal! There’s really no way to describe the experience of seeing miles and miles of brilliant purple, red, pink and apricot tulips, followed by fields of golden yellow daffodils and still to come, my favorite flower but unfortunately not quite open yet, fields of Iris! Wow! I will include some photos but please bear in mind these were snapped with my phone so I apologize in advance for the less than professional quality.

Magical Purple - My Favorite

Cool shadows

Orange creamsicles

Just to round out our day, we did of course drive the extra five minutes into La Conner, which is such a cute little town that everyone should make an effort to check it out if possible. There’s really something here for everyone who feels like playing tourist for an afternoon, sail boats tied up at the docks, quaint shops, numerous restaurants, even a quilt museum and a few nice antique shops.

For the sailors

Quilt Museum

Antiques

After walking around and poking our heads in some of the shops, Yelp helped us to decide where to stop for a very late lunch – hey, the oysters were only a snack! We opted for a thin crust pizza and Pilsner (hops imported from Czech Republic, apparently) at La Conner Brewing Company. It wasn’t amazing, the mushrooms looked suspiciously like they had spent some time in a can, but we were in a good mood so everything tasted fine! We were told the chef makes the best ever fish tacos, but not on Mondays….. Finally, tired but happy, we headed back to Vancouver. Less than two hours later (no border lineups coming north), we were back in our cozy living room in front of the fire. When I closed my eyes that night, all I could see were rows and rows of brilliant purple, red and pink! We definitely recommend this little excursion for anyone wanting a nice day trip out of Vancouver.