Tulip Fields Without a Flight to the Netherlands

Tulips symbolize spring at our house and I buy them as soon as they start showing up at the market, sometime before daylight savings, when the sky still dark early, because the pop of color is a promise of what is to come. I’ve wanted to stand in an endless field of tulips, but I never expected it to happen because the flowers are in bloom for a short time and we don’t live near a tulip farm. Jetting off to the Netherlands would be fun, but a spring getaway isn’t going to happen soon.

I’m not the only one who dreams of a tulip emersion based on an unexpectedly big response to a recent Facebook post I made. Tulip lovers rejoiced! The neat rows of bright colors were almost unreal. The sky was grey and spitting light rain, but the fields were majestic. Our heavenly tulip visit was simple and can be recreated by anyone of any age.

I came across a tulip farm when planning our Spring Break trip to Portland. I knew Washington had a few great tulip farms, but I never thought to look beyond that, only to realize that Oregon is a great state for tulip peeping. (Most of the gorgeous, expansive tulip farms are in the Pacific Northwest, but I found a tulip farm in Modesto, which is on my list to visit next spring, and a tulip farm in northern Texas, too, of all crazy climates.)

We visited the Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm in Woodburn, Oregon, also home to the shopping outlets south of Portland along I-5, where we stopped after visiting the farm. My apologies to the Gap Outlet for tracking in clumps of mud stuck to my boots from the tulip farm, but I think we spent enough money to make up for it.

Wooden Shoe offers an early morning photography pass to capture the golden morning light on the fields as the sun rises. It was easy to image the warm burst of pinkish-orange reaching across the slightly darkened sky just beyond the windmill surrounded by a base of tulips. The problem was my kids couldn’t imagine getting out of their comfy hotel beds in time to make that happen, which means we arrived with the crowds around 11 a.m. Though, to be fair, it was a Wednesday in April, which meant the crowds weren’t bad.

The fields were muddy, which was to be expected in the Oregon spring. Don’t worry, my kids promised to wear appropriate shoes. My son ran up and down the long rows of tulips, somehow not slipping once on the soft ground. We walked, took a million photos, they climbed onto tractors, rode toy tractors, and willingly posted for all of the fun photo ops around the farm. We were there for almost two hours without one mention of being hungry, cold or bored, which always means a successful family outing.

Admission is cheap: it cost $10 for the three of us to visit. Admission is $5 per person for ages 13 and up, those younger are free. Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm is dog-friendly and there were many people trying to get their dogs to pose among the tulips. We have a small white dog who would have been caked in mud, if she had gone with us. The muddy shoes were enough for me. Tulip festival dates vary each year and by location, but the Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm’s 2018 festival runs through May 6.

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