Fields of colour with Mt. Hood in the background

There is one weekend left of the Tulip Festival, so don’t miss it!

Sadly, sadly, our camera batteries died almost immediately. We were about a dozen photos into our morning when it shut down. After the tulips, we were going to stop and take photos of the galloping buffalo we saw along Highway 211. But without a camera, we skipped those plans. No seriously, a buffalo galloping along the highway. Awesome.

yellow hill

In any case, the Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm hosts an annual Tulip Festival out in Woodburn, Oregon, only 45 minutes from Portland. The tulip and daffodil farm includes over 40 acres, and a full 4 acres of that are landscaped with jaw-dropping color. This year is an extra-big celebration because it’s the 25th anniversary of the festival. The owners have been growing tulips there since 1974, so you can imagine they know what they’re doing!

It was a gorgeous day and we got an early start. Avoided all the crowds without even knowing there were going to be crowds. We parked right next to acres of tulips, and were soon wandering through the flowers. Daffodils were past season, but the tulips are still peaking. And stunning.

Galoshes and mud puddles

For whatever unexplained reason it is, people tend to flock together. So the three of us simply walked past clusters of visitors and got to parts of the fields that held only a few men with gigantic lenses on their cameras, and other folks like us who don’t need to be shoulder-to-shoulder. Mark overcame the lack of manliness he assumed was involved in tulip-gazing. He didn’t rise to the level of my daughter and me, gasping every 2.4 minutes. “Oh look!”

Eventually we crossed a field of rye grass in the direction of circus tent tops we could see from the tulip fields. There was fair food and lots to drink no matter your tastes. I am the only alcohol drinker of the family, so my man and my girl humored me while I did wine tasting for awhile. Fell in love with Maréchal Foch (say Marshall Foosh) from Vitis Ridge in Willamette Valley. Haven’t even heard of it before and it was so delish I had to bring home a bottle. I was very impressed with Methven wines, and rather than make a decision there at the festival, made mental plans to visit the winery in Dayton, Or.

My daughter and me

My daughter and me

We wandered past a tent of exotic rescue birds. Met Bodie first of all, who is a healthy and happy green wing macaw who doesn’t mind standing on the shoulders of a stranger. My girl went into the tent and had more macaws and a cockatoo walk on her.

Next we went to the climbing wall, where for $3 of tickets she could climb it three times, choosing her spot each time. She made it to the top of course. We bought Mother’s Day gifts and browsed beautiful things we didn’t need. We ate elephant ears, chicken kabobs with rice, corn dogs, and all manner of fair food. We all got sunburns, but found plenty of shady seating when we wanted it.

Hazelnut grove at far end of tulip field

I was too tired to even consider buying bulbs or flowers on our way out, but I have the catalog and will certainly find a way to acquire some of the amazing beauty from the fields. My daughter and I have our eye on a purple checkered flower. Checkered!

Here’s an inside tip: arrive early. When we left at 1:30pm, we passed cars lined up to get in. They were bumper to bumper from the gates of the tulip farm and along the 2 miles to highway 211/214. They sat in line for another 4 miles of highway and through the city of Woodburn, down the ramp from I-5, and a couple of miles along I-5. Moral of the story= arrive early. Gates open at 9am. We got there about 10:15 am and didn’t have to wait in traffic at all.

(Thanks Stephanie for blogging about tulips and providing the inspiration for our family outing!)

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