Saturday, April 18, 2015

Skagit Tulip Festival

Last weekend, we wanted to get out of the apartment and find something fun and free to do. We were still waiting to hear when our moving truck would arrive, and we were getting antsy with that anticipation and being inside in too few square feet for too long. So Jon poked around for things to do and found out about the Skagit Tulip Festival. I said yes, please.

We left a bit later than I was planning and after a 30-45 minute drive, we were too early to eat lunch but wouldn't have a lot of time to look at tulips if we didn't give the kids a little something. So we drove up and down the two main streets in town until we found a cute little coffee shop.

The Ristretto Coffee Lounge was charming. Jon and I got tasty coffees, and I got the girls a marionberry scone to share with me, and a steamer to share with each other (steamed milk, with just a leeeetle bit of chocolate syrup). While Alice and I were watching the coffees get made, a woman came to collect her frequent buyer card out of a little box on the bar. Adorable.


 The girls loved the tiny leather chairs and all the toys. In fact, they loved the little kid lounge so much, they forgot to drink their steamers!

We finished up and then headed off to find some tulips!
 And we did!
We enjoyed the little garden area and maze for a bit before heading out to the fields...




 This lovely trail of tulips led the way out to the fields.
 It had been raining that morning, and I think a few days before, so the roads were good and muddy and puddly. The girls had more fun tromping in the mud and splashing in the puddles than anything else. Unfortunately, there were a lot of people on the road with us and not all of us wanted to go home with mud-soaked pants, so I had to keep being no-fun mom...




Alice was taking a photo of Jon, Ivy, and I and a nice girl with a nice camera offered to take our photo with everyone in it. I guess the focus works differently on her Nikon... Still cute.

Alice brought her camera along and took some nice photos, though she got carried away with the extra features and shot everything with a frame on it. I keep telling her to shoot clean and add effects later, but why would she listen to me?? So, to be clear, all the photos with the cloud frame belong to Alice...




 




They had a row of tulip varieties literally from A to Z. We started at Z and I just couldn't believe how many different varieties there were and how absolutely beautiful they were. I loved all the different names, too!




I think the Salmon Parrot is one of my very favorites.


I love the Rococo Parrot, too. I just love those ruffles.





Princess Irene is totally my jam. 
I thought the old design was fine, but the New Design is lovely, too!
Irene Parrot! Now we're talking.
This was Ivy's favorite, because it was right in front of her when I asked. She made me take a picture. 

 
Just gorgeous.

 

 By the time we reached the 'A's, it was way past our lunchtime and the girls were getting squirrely, so we headed back to the car. But on our way out, I spotted these beautiful gardens that we had missed before, full of all kinds of gorgeously arranged beds. While Jon and Ivy charged ahead, Alice and I ducked in and skirted the outer most path.



The tulip festival runs for the whole month of April, but it seemed like we were there at the perfect time. And it was a beautiful day. Fresh and chilly with lots of beautiful clouds, a bit of wind, and plenty of sunshine. Next year, I'll make sure we go again and make sure we plant some bulbs of our own in the front yard. We've seen so many beautiful tulips just driving around, I would love to see some right in my very own yard. Unfortunately, we can never enjoy them inside, since they are highly toxic to cats (and our cats go straight for the really poisonous stuff). But we have plenty of places to put some that we could enjoy from inside! 

We tried to eat lunch at the Empire Ale House, but kids weren't allowed even for lunch. So we tried the Skagit River Brewery, but there was a 45 minute wait there and we were all starving and cranky. So we headed up the road just a bit to try a Five Guys burger for the first time.

I've heard a lot of buzz about Five Guys, and we've seen them all over up here. The outside and inside    are plastered with enlarged copies of positive reviews (most from several years ago) from places like Tampa and other Southern locales, though there were a few local lauds.

Our burgers were tasty, but I don't think they really compare to Habit Burger or even In-N-Out. The restaurant design and idea was really similar to In-N-Out, but just kind of off the mark - at least to these California kids. Jon said it was like someone described In-N-Out to the five guys who started their own burger chain on the other coast...
We had peanuts while we waited. Ivy got impatient and tried to eat the whole thing, shell and all before I could peel it for her...
We tried the regular and the cajun fries and both were undercooked and squashy. The cajun seasoning was good though, Ivy loved it!


All in all, Five Guys definitely doesn't displace our favorite burger joints, particular the quaint burger stand that was around the corner from our old house. We tried another local spot down the street from our new house, but that's not a clear winner either. It will just have to do, though - plus, it has about a million model airplanes hanging from the ceiling (mostly - all? - Boeings), so Jon and the kids love it...

I can't believe this outing happened last weekend. It feels like weeks or months ago already. We've officially moved into our new house and are working hard to get everything unpacked and organized. Hopefully, I'll post a bit about that soon!