Sunday, April 1, 2012

Just Go Already | Skagit Valley Tulip Festival

If you ever check out our about us page 
or our FAQs
you would see that we claim to be the traveling type.
To that, it only makes sense that,
occasionally at least,
I write about that.

So here goes nothing!
Ready. Set. Go!

Where are we going?
La Conner, WA
Skagit Valley Tulip Festival
(here's a bloom map!)

Who goes to La Conner, WA anyways?
Lots of people go.
Especially on the weekends.

By the Festival's count,
every year hundreds of thousands
of people visit.
I'm sure they are double if not triple counting us.
For lots of folks, it isn't just a 1 shot deal.
Check that.
For photographer types,
you have to go over multiple weeks
to get the best shots.

The festival lasts throughout
the month of April.

So I suggest you quit your job
and go on a weekday
if you don't want 92 other families 
up in the background of your gorgeous photos.

Why are we going to La Conner, again?
Because every April, 
daffodils, tulips and iris
bloom like crazy in just over 20 fields
(apprx 1000 acres)
throughout the Skagit Valley.

And it isn't that far from Seattle 
(or Everett)
so all the city folks
get dressed up in their Sunday best.

And all of the mommy bloggers
break out their DSLRs
and don't you DARE get in their shot
as they stage the annual
family Easter Newsletter photo.

But truly.
The size of these fields makes the show.
You drive through miles and miles
of flowering bulbs at the height of the season.

What is there to see and do there?
Eat 1/4 of a scoop of ice cream
from a homemade waffle cone
from the Snow Goose Produce Stand
between LaConner and Conway.

It is WA state so people are friendly.
If you ask someone in line to hold your space
while you gawk a bit
(yes, there WILL be a line - a really long one)
(**I mentioned the hand dipped cones, right?**)
(***and the handmade waffle cones?***)
Besides the gorgeous tulips,
Snow Goose has produce 
(it's a produce stand, after all)
baskets, photographic art prints & cards
plant pots, seafood, gourmet foods
and, did I mention?
Ice Cream.

In all sorts of normal and glamorous flavors.
Robert gets Rainbow Sherbert
(which is how our stop here started.
no Rainbow Sherbert, no stoppy)
I get Raspberry Sherbert.

Don't say I didn't warn you about the scoop sizes.

Once you're back on the road behind all of the other cars going where you want to go,
keep your eye out for fields that have parking.
IF you are reasonably healthy,
you can get out and walk between some of the fields.

Again, don't say I didn't warn you about the sides of the fields.
Just saying that in some strategic locations
(which I have yet to figure out)
you can get prime enough parking
to access two or three lots from one
parallel parking debacle.

If you take pictures or photographs
(I take pictures, he takes photographs)
be on the lookout for interesting things
in the field
to juxtapose
(that's my 50 cent word for "put next to each other)
with your flowering bulbs
(I keep wanting to write tulips, 
but I know there are more than just tulips out there)

And for the really adventurous,
(or the tourists)
you can also visit the RoozenGaarde fields.
They have a whole set up with education 
(Washington Bulb Company, the parent company of RG, 
is the largest bulb grower in North America)
about various flowering bulbs,
tons of food choices, farm rides and all sorts of kitschy little 
cut out props for your picture taking pleasure.

When is the best time to go?
Depends on your purpose.
If you want to go when it is most convenient
(ie, the weekend)
keep in mind that it is most convenient
for everyone else on the weekend too.

That said, if you don't mind lots of cars in your shots
and literally having to get down and dirty on the ground
for unique camera angles
that cut out MOST of the people
then weekend it is.

Preferably closer to the end of the day
when people are heading home
and magic light is about to happen

Above all else
take your patience.
Or your face will look like this in a hurry

Stop babbling and just show me more photos:
You get two more.
You will do lots of this "staging"

with a tripod and timer
to get the right angle
to end up with various photos like this

No we didn't change clothes.
We were just there for the billionth time that week.
And I might have just dropped my ice cream cone 
on the ground.

I was VERY adult about it, though.

So what are you waiting on?
April 1 - 30, 2012 is the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival.

Google images of it.
You will NOT be disappointed.

And now...a message from Florida


  1. This post made me incredibly happy. I plan on returning to this one several times. My hubs & I moved away from Seattle/Bellevue 2 years ago. We lived on the Eastside 7 years. {L.O.V.E.D. it}. Sadly, we only got out to the Tulip Festival the last Spring before we moved. But we liked it so much we went like 3 weekends in a row! Love your pics.

    1. Awesom! We live on the eastside now and have not made the trip up there for a couple of years. So need to get back there though. Thanks for the comment and the picture loving.


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