Just a Touch Dutch
Updated: Nov 30, 2019
If you haven't heard me say it before, or deduced it from my height and Nordic complexion, I'm super Dutch! 50% to be exact. My dad is 100% Dutch, and our family name, Peerenboom, is Dutch for pear tree! Since I've basically got wooden shoes running through my veins, when I first heard about Holland, MI's annual Tulip Festival last year, I knew I had to make the trip!
The festival takes place between the first and second weeks of May, which is perfect for me because that's right around my birthday! Now I had an excuse to make the 8 hour round trip journey. I knew my girl, Riva, would be up for a little road tripping and exploring a new city, so we decided to make the trip together. Holland boasts 5 million tulips in a 6 mile range throughout the festival, and I'm pretty sure we walked through it all - wearing very impractical clogs, mind you. The city itself was beautiful. Colorful homes surrounded by blossoming trees and beds of tulips caught my eye on every block! But in all honesty, "5 million tulips in a 6 mile range" made me picture sprawling fields of colorful flowers - and that's not exactly what the festival has to offer.
To be fair, my researching was minimal and my expectations were high. I want to be transparent about my thoughts and experiences throughout the day, so here we go! We hit two other components of the festival before we got to the main attraction. The first was a carnival style attraction with rides and heavenly smelling fair food. This wasn't really our style, so we talked to some fairgoers equipped with cameras and followed their path to some flowers. After several blocks, we made it to a park entrance that held a number of small tulip patches. Hoards of people were stepping directly into the beds for photos.
A few things went through my mind: "Is this it? Are they really just tromping through the flowers like that? This better not be it. Wow it's busy. Holy crap we drove so far. Ow, my feet. Hey cool, I didn't know there were white fringey tulips! This can't be it.." Like I said, minimal research and high expectations. But alas, this wasn't it. Far across the marshy channel, we spotted the windmill. Fabulous, there is more! But how the hell do we get there? Wait for a shuttle or, you guessed it, walk.
And walk, we did. We had finally made it to Windmill Island and the Dutch Village, where we were greeted by a ticket booth and a $10 entry fee. At this point, it was late afternoon and there were still hoards of people hoping to get pictures near the patches or by the windmill - myself included...
Our cold Spring meant that only about a fifth of the fields on the island were actually bloomed, so we were limited in what we were able to see. Luckily, there were plenty of my favorite - red! This area was a little more sprawled, so there were small aisles to take advantage of and enjoy the flowers up close and personally. We didn't stay too long. With so many people around, you just felt in the way and people were asking us to take their picture left and right. We made our trek back, choosing a slightly different path to check out more of the city. We lucked out with a beatiful, sunny 70 degree day!
On our drive back, we found a winery tucked deep in the back roads. We treated ourselves to all things truffle at Tabor Hill Winery and caught the golden hour as it gleamed over the vineyards. This part of the day was my favorite.
Although my lofty expectations weren't met at the festival, I still had an excellent excursion! A road trip with my bestie, a gorgeous day exploring a new place, and a fabulous dinner. I'm here for it!