Monday, May 6, 2013

Tulip Festival (And More National Parks Passport Opportunities!)

Every year the town of Mt. Vernon, WA (clever, I know!) hosts the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival where the two local tulip titans, Roozengaarde and Tulip Town, try to out-flower each other. Last year my friend Melenie and I checked out Roozengaarde. The tulip fields were only in partial bloom:

But the daffodils were going strong:

Another thing Roozengaarde had going for it was a pretty spectacular tulip garden, with signs that told you what variety of tulip you were looking at, in case you wanted to make a purchase:

It was lovely. I thought that Rex would love it, too, because he used to be a pretty good gardener back in the day. When I was growing up, our lawn was always the nicest one on the block and we always had tons of beautiful flowers and interesting plants in the front yard. We used to have a really fabulous garden in our back yard, too, with corn, rhubarb, potatoes, carrots, green beans, grapes, blueberries, raspberries, etc. It's a good thing my dad can't walk around freely anymore, so he doesn't know that the garden now looks like this:

Tragic. I don't understand how such a hardworking dad could have such lazy kids. We still have the rhubarb plant, though. That thing will never die.

Anyway, Rex and I hopped in the car and headed up to the tulip festival--and to Whidbey Island to get a stamp in my national parks passport! This time we went to Tulip Town. It was the last week of the festival, and everything was in full bloom:

The pictures do not do it justice. It was breathtaking. Tulip Town wins the battle of the fields, but I wish I could have seen Roozengaarde later in the season. I'm sure it would have been just as gorgeous. Plus, they had the awesome tulip garden. And funnel cakes. Winner: Roozengaarde!

After the tulips, we drove over to Whidbey Island. My parents used to live on Whidbey in the 50s when my dad was in the Navy. All of my brothers and sisters were born there except for me; I was born in Seattle. My parents loved living there. They talked about it all the time. I think it was their Boston.

You can get to Whidbey Island via ferry or via Deception Pass Bridge. After a 10 minute argument with my dad about how we would not be taking the ferry since we were only 15 minutes from the bridge, we I opted for the bridge route:

Again, I ask you: isn't Washington beautiful?

It was astounding to me that the closer we got to Whidbey Island, the more lucid my dad's mind became. Usually when we drive around Kent, he asks me every two minutes where we are. We'll leave our house, turn onto the main road, and he'll ask me what town we're in. ("Umm, still in Kent, Rex!") But up there, he would say things like, "Once we go around this corner, there will be a lake on the right hand side." Sure enough. "At the second light, turn left onto Cornet Bay Rd." "There's an oil refinery about a mile up the road. I used to work there when I got out of the Navy." Right on all counts.  Simply amazing.

We drove over to a place called Ebey's Landing, which for some reason is a National Historical Reserve:

It's supposedly a big deal because this patch of the island has been continuously farmed since Isaac Ebey moved here in 1850. Seven years later he was decapitated by a group of Indians who were looking to avenge the death of their chief and 27 other members of their tribe who had perished in the battle of Ft. Gamble. This was a bummer for Ebey, because he wasn't even at the battle of Ft. Gamble, but he was a prominent white dude and I guess that was good enough.

No offense, National Park Service, but this site was kinda lame. Historic farmland? Whoop-dee-do. It's so lame, in fact, that it doesn't even have a visitor center. What self-respecting national historical reserve doesn't have a visitor center? I had to drive into the (adorable!) town of Coupeville and stop at the Island County Historical Society to get the stamp. There was a cute little old man--at least 100 years old--behind the counter. I was just going to stamp and run, but I took one look at that leathery old mug and the next thing I know, I'm handing over $3 to tour the museum. I tried to be as quick as possible, because Rex was waiting for me in the car.

The museum housed some interesting items, including the first car on Whidbey Island, a 1902 Holsman:

That's right. That is a car. Weird. But not as weird as this piano with a picture of the 1923 Seattle Ku Klux Klan on top:

"Hey, Stanley! Where do you want me to put this picture of the Klan?"
"I think it would look nice on top of the old piano, don't you? Move the bust of Mozart if you have to!"

What the... ?

After the museum, we stopped by to visit some old friends, the Quintons:

My dad used to be branch president (like a pastor, for any non-Mormons who might be reading this) on Whidbey, and Brother Quinton was his 1st counselor. They had a very sweet reunion, and I feel bad that I grumbled a bit when my dad asked me to look them up. Not cool, I know.

All in all, it was a lovely trip with my dad. He enjoyed the tulips, and I think he was pretty excited to visit Whidbey Island again. When we got home he told my sister, "It was a really nice trip--with the exception of a couple flare-ups."


1 comment:

mystic a'dam said...

Thought it was the Netherlands!
Cool pics, cheers!