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Spring Day Trip: Skagit Valley's flowering fields

Fields of Tulips
Fields of blooming tulips beckon you to this corner of northern Washington come spring, when acres of multi-colored fields beg for some camera time.

This area is one of my favorite places to go for a day trip. Spring is the right time to catch Skagit Valley's colorful crop of tulips in bloom. Celebrate at the area's annual tulip festival, then rent a bike and take to the road, exploring the valley while stopping for photo ops of the rainbow-striped flowering fields before you.

Why go to Washington's Skagit Valley in April? To stand before fields of intensely colored flowers—cherry red, navel orange, pure white—that blanket the area.

In spring, Skagit Valley is a photographer’s dream, with strips of Technicolor petals stretching from your feet to the horizon.

Although it’s hard to screw up a shot like that, keep these tips in mind: Clouds intensify the colors. When skies are blue, shoot toward the sun—backlight makes individual blooms really pop. Keep your eyes peeled for the best spots—often right off the road, where the crowds aren’t.

Spring Tulip
The valley is full of cut-flower stands, but to buy potted spring bulbs for your own garden (and waves of spring-flowering perennials that pair well with them), stop at Christianson’s Nursery & Greenhouse.

Bring your lunch and you can picnic on benches scattered around the 1888 schoolhouse—and duck inside if it starts to drizzle.

Skip the bus tours and ditch your car! The tulip tour is much better by bicycle as you won't have to deal with crowded pullouts or circling for parking. Rent a tandem, road bike, or electric-assist two-wheeler from Skagit Cycle Center. 

While you are in the area the little burg of La Conner, WA is a must-stop. You can visit Bunnies by the Bay, dine on the waterfront, enjoy some wine tasting, shop a variety of antique stores or the quilt museum. Lovely bed & breakfasts add to the lovely ambiance of this fine waterfront town.

Take lots of pictures and enjoy your day or weekend won't be sorry!

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  1. Marie, my Great Grandmother and Great Aunt Carrie raised flowers to sell on Market Square in downtown Knoxville at the turn of the century through the 1940's. My Aunt Carrie was still living during my early childhood years, and the vestiges of the flower fields and hot beds still surrounded her home. She lived "across the field and down the hill" from us, in country terminology, so her house was on my daily jaunt each morning. All the old fashioned flowers such as daffodils, mucaris (we called them miniature grape hyacinths), peonies, iris, snowballs, hydrangeas, Sweet Williams, goldenrod, etc., were abundant and springtime was a fairyland of color.

    I would visit her each day and we would walk through the flower fields. This was how I learned the names of flowers; if I could tell her the proper name, Aunt Carrie would cut those blooms for me and I'd have an armload to take home with me, stopping at my Granny's house to share the wealth. I was so small that I remember looking UP at the peonies. This post of the Skagit Valley flower fields brought on a rush of rich comfort memories that made me smile. Thank you for sharing the beautiful photos! And writing these thoughts here tells me that another Ode blog is waiting to be born on my own blog page - stay tuned!

    ~ Dawn

  2. Just beautiful! We went down for the trip last year durring the daffodil bloom and plan to time it this year to see the tulips. When I lived in Skagit County I went every year and each bloom was more beautiful than the last.

    Some day I'd love to see this from a hot air balloon. Wouldn't that be a treat?


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