Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Tulip Fields of Skagit Valley

Rows and rows of colours, swaying to the winds of pacific north west, setting the ground ablaze in a rainbow coloured flame. The closer you get, the bigger they get – individually enticing you to a flowered land that kind of captures your attention so much that you forget the hordes of people chattering around you. Only two things might break your trance – a view that seems more beautiful or a splash of the puddle you just stepped into because you were focusing on the flowers. But trust me – the view of tulip gardens and just roaming around in the bulb farms surrounded by hills and windmills is totally worth it!

I don’t know about people abroad, but every Indian is surely in love with tulip farms thanks to the elaborate dreamy sequences in Bollywood movies. Of course they were Dutch fields or Kashmiri fields but tulip farms are same everywhere, right? This Saturday, I witnessed the beauty of tulip fields at Skagit Valley, Mt Vernon in the state of Washington, United States and I am still in a spell cast by that place. Acres and acres of blossoms dancing on that priced sunny day. It totally was a sight I would love to go back to any day.

Nestled in a pristine valley surrounded by the Cascadia range, Mt. Vernon has several tulip fields that make it one of the best getaways from Seattle specially during spring. Two very famous tulip fields of the area are – Tulip Town and RoozenGaarde, and I made my way toward RoozenGarde for my flowery day out of Seattle. 

RoozenGaarde was established in 1985 by the Roozen family and Washington Bulb Company. Every spring for about 3 to 4 weeks, the garden is adorned with about 20-30 different variety of tulips (from what I could see), daffodils, iris and lilies. During late April and early may, RoozenGaarde and Tulip Town host the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival and this is the best time to visit Mount Vernon to bask in spring’s warmth and walk around the arrays of the flowers.

While RoozenGaarde is a vast area with more flowers, Tulip Town flaunts more variety and ensures more colours in a single picture frame. Sure, for people staying in the North West of the US, sighting a random bunch of tulips at road side is not that uncommon, but the tulip fields of Mt. Vernon give you an experience that is close to the one that one might have if in Netherlands or in Turkey. For once I could say too much of something wasn’t bad at all!

By the way - Trivia! - Even though tulip fields are now a well-known tourist attraction of Netherlands, the flowers and the idea of the fields is native to Turkey, Iran and Lebanon. Anyhow, people who cannot fly to the countries that are famous for the fields, and for people visiting Seattle till the first week of May, look of for sunny days and be sure to pay Mt. Vernon a visit!

How to Get There:
Skagit Valley is about 70 miles north of Seattle (Downtown) and it takes almost 2 hours to get there by road. This is the best way to reach Skagit valley since the buses from Seattle take about 3-4 hours and after a decent number of bus hops.

Where to Eat:
Do not eat at the gardens because it is crazy expensive! Instead make may to Mt Vernon city restaurants. There are plenty of options. 

About Tulip Town and RoozenGaarde:

Both the venues are just 2 miles away and you would require minimum 2 hours at atleast one of the places if you love photography or nature or both. Both places have a 7 USD entry fee which also covers your parking cost. Best time to visit the fields is either early morning or after 4:00 PM. This way you would avoid major traffic. Also the grounds are muddy so you would want to wear water resistant boots and keep your eye out for sunny days.
This week the farms are in full bloom and Friday is sunny – just letting you guys know.

P.S. – Keep a look out for Llamas and horses! I was excited like a child when I saw Llamas for the first time ever.