Washington is a beautiful state. It is lush and green; brimming with life. And there’s a reason for it. Washington is the rainiest place I have ever lived (recall that before this, I was in the high desert of Northern Arizona). There is a price for beauty — months of drizzle interspersed with torrential downpours.
This weekend, I was lucky to visit the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival, an annual celebration of Western Washington’s tulip farms, which are some of the largest outside of the Netherlands. Four of us trekked north, beyond Seattle to the pastoral lands of the Skagit Valley. Tractor dealerships and sleepy towns were nestled on the banks of winding rivers. We finally arrived in the fields outside of Mount Vernon at the famous RoozenGaarde gardens. Acres and acres of pastel flowers lay before us, so of course, the valley welcomed us with a cloudburst. The flowers were nice, but it was clear that the season was drawing to a close and much of the former glory had dimmed. Much of the land around of was fallow. Many rows of tulips had already been cut down. And it was pouring on us. We quickly snapped our photos.
We retreated from the muddy, slippery rows of tulips into the safety of my car. All seemed lost. But if there’s a secret to living in Washington, it’s patience. We were just about to leave in search of a better spot to admire the flowers when the raindrops on the windshield slowed. A few rays of sunshine poked through the mass of black thunderclouds. The storm had passed. Before the next one arrived, we decided to see what the other side of the road held, behind its tall hedge.
What we found was an intricate garden of tulips, planted in swirls and labyrinths. Tulips of every color and variety (and the varieties have super interesting names, like Flaming Parrot, Sensual Touch and Moneymaker). It was perfect. We wandered through the gardens and windmills for another hour before we meandered on to a vineyard for a quick wine tasting and a through street fair in the town of Mount Vernon before heading home. Sure, we got a little muddy. I still haven’t dried out, but I think it’s sometimes necessary to forgo comfort in pursuit of adventure.
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Jonny Eberle is a slightly sodden writer and adventurer in Tacoma, WA. You can follow his written work in a steady stream from the Twitter hose. Thanks for reading!