Skagit Valley Tulip Festival

The best part of my job isn’t the routine day-to-day interactions and speech therapy component. It’s the part where my co-workers have became my family and we ENJOY each other’s presence outside of work, including overnight weekend adventures. One such trip included spending a Saturday at the Annual Skagit Valley Tulip Festival in Mount Vernon, WA. The title explains most of what the weekend entailed, however it doesn’t put the picture of rows and rows of beautiful, bloomed and color tulips in your mind. The Tulip Festival is in its 30th year and runs for the entire month of April.  Tulips are grown over 100s of acres in the region of the Skagit Valley. In 2012, the festival was privileged to have visitors from 49/50 states and approximately 53 countries, talk about popular!

Within the festival are two stunning gardens, RoozenGaarden (a Washington Bulb farm) and Tulip Town (the DeGoede farm), which are home to over 1 MILLION bulbs. The entire festival has more than 100+ tulip varieties and 150+ varieties in total- including daffodils, hyacinths, crocus, iris, and other types of flowers. This festival is more than just flowers. This festival has other special events (like signings), connected wine festivals, photo contests, art shows, tours, bike/running races, and food stands and farmer markets which make it worth a whole weekend!

Let’s be honest, I grew up in Phoenix so flowers can get fairly mundane after a while, which can only mean one thing…WINE! Yes, you guessed it, I found a local winery, Tulip Winery, and went in for a little tasting! I even meet the owner. Not a bad mid-day break from the flowers, if I do say so myself 🙂 For pictures, click here.

As a group, we decided we would stay up north in Bellingham, WA. Reason to stay that far north: we wanted to spend time wander/driving through the North Cascades National Park. It wasn’t the best of weather (well, typical weather for us here) but with cars and cameras the weather never crossed our minds! The day was spent driving along Highway 20 pulling off to the side of the road for waterfalls, farm houses and anything we thought would make a good picture. Oh, I probably should have mentioned my team members and I are a bit photographic obsessed 🙂 Can’t really ask for a better day with friends! Pictures from the NCNP

Oktoberfest in Leavenworth, Washington

Wilkommen in Leavenworth. Washington’s Barvarian’s Village.

 Oktoberfest in Leavenworth was more that I could have hoped. It’s approximately 4 hours from Aberdeen to Leavenworth and working until 3 pushed our ETA further than I wanted, meaning we arrived in the dark of the night. I have been told quite a bit regarding the location, scenery, and Leavenworth itself, however nothing could have prepared me for what I saw, well of downtown, since I couldn’t see anything else. EVERY SINGLE BUILDING was designed in the barvarian theme and  majority of the people in the town were dressed in lederhosens and drindals. Sydney and I weren’t sure if we would venture into the actual Oktoberfest at first but we decided since it wasn’t too crowded that we should check it out! I was very glad we did because I was able to try 4 of the 12+ types of beer without the hustle and bustle of crowds and I have learned that a Drunkelweizen is my favorite type of beer (Weihenstephan and HB Munchen)! Other than beer, Oktoberfest hosted quite a few entertainment acts flown in directly from Munich. From dancing, to Cowbell Ringers to authentic German Polka, all around good times.

When the sun rose and Sydney and I finally looked outside, the view took my breath away. It’s hard to truly describe but I’ll try. Mountains surrounding the village, leaves of all colors, sun shining. Perfect start to a Saturday morning. Now Oktoberfest didn’t start until noon, which gave us plenty of time to wander around and shop (a past time of ours) while we wait for our friends to get into town from Seattle! Opening ceremonies for the festival began at noon with a mini parade (anti-climatic but fun none the less) followed by a keg tapping celebration! Entering the festival we realized how too crowded it was at that point and went to the wine tasting for some hot spiced wine followed by a crepe filled lunch with homemade cheeses in a little French style bakery- Pavz! Can you guess what we did next? Off too Oktoberfest of course and danced and drank the night away meeting people from all over the world! I will be back again…maybe next year my parents and friends will come and join me for this adventure!!

Ending the weekend with a walk in the park and fall leaves fun with my friend Kristin having way too much learning the ways of my camera! Check out the pictures from Leavenworth and you decide, join me next year or not???