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Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival is a must see event!

On April 8, 2016 the Happy Feet Travel Club took a trip to Oregon to attend the Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival in Woodburn, OR.

Since we live and operate in California, driving is always an option however, our travel profile is to fly.  We want as much time to explore the area as possible.  The Burbank (BUR) airport is not only close, it’s convenient and easy to maneuver through the terminal.  When parking at BUR, there are several options – long term, short term and valet.  As well there is an offsite provider literally across the street we use to park.  VSP has a covered and an open air parking facility with air conditioned shuttles for your convenience.

Bob Hope AirportWe flew Alaska Airlines direct to Portland (PDX) OR.  We love PDX, why? Ease of doing business and maneuvering through the airport.  One key feature is the enclosed tunnel with people movers to the rental car garage.  Hertz was our company of choice this trip and we received a timely text about a half hour prior to scheduled pick up with the stall number.Hilton Garden Inn

We selected Hilton Garden Inn located in Lake Oswego, about a half hour drive from the airport.  The location was perfect for the weekend whirlwind trip.  That Friday evening, we had dinner at a local Oregon establishment, Stanford’s.  One can rely on consistently good food and service from Stanford’s. Later that evening it was visiting friends over a bottle of good red wine.

Saturday morning, we chose the hotel breakfast.  After a hearty cooked to order omelet and some bacon, we were off to the Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival.  Getting to the festival is GPS frenzy!  There is no easy straight forward route to get there.  Just be aware that driving during the busy weekends there are lots of people wanting to experience the beauty of spring.

Once at the location, entry is $5 per person or $20 for a car load of people.  Wear walking shoes as you will be walking on gravel, dirt, and uneven thick grass.  During the weekends there are food vendors, crafts and working equipment demonstrations.  As well, there is a children’s area with fun rides and activities.

DSC_0058As you crest the field you see breath-taking neatly aligned rows of thousands of tulips in the distance, thousands of bright colors gracing the landscape.  Upon approaching the fields of color, the details of each flower becomes more evident.  The shapes, colors and size of varied species of tulips delight the visual senses.  There is light pink, dark reds, bright yellow and deep purple varieties that each entail their own beauty.  There is not one more beautiful than the other, maybe a favorite color but equally delightful.

There are several tours one can embark upon that will take you through the field with a guide that explains the history and workings of the farm.  We opted for the wine tour.  Let me explain what I mean by tour.

Each tour is on a tram style ride powered by an over-sized all-terrain vehicle (ATV).  Hooked behind the ATV are several open air cars with a padded bench seats for two.  Cloe was our tour guide.DSC_0033

Cloe is a spry 70-year-old with a rough neck, take no crap from anybody personality.  Under that rough and tumble exterior is a sweet lady that has very interesting life experiences.  I won’t ruin the most interesting women in the world’s story, you will just have to visit and ask her yourself.  She is a wealth of knowledge and you would be richer in life for having her as your guide.

The tour through the tulips was bumpy and dusty.  The wine is locally produced.  During four stops you steDSC_0052p out of your open air car and taste some delicious wines.  One of the benefits of this tour is meeting diverse people, all with a passion for floral beauty and wine.  But make no mistake, Cloe is the reason to pay $25 per person for this adventure.  There are free tours of the tulips also, these are taken on a hay wagon. Just get in line early as there are many people that want to view the tulips that way.

Allow plenty of time, about 2 – 3 hours to really enjoy the scenery and tour.  Then allow about 40 minutes on the exit roads to get through a four-way intersection with a two way stop. The only drawback of this weekend was waiting to get back to the main road.  However, it should in no way detract from the overall experience.Riccardos

On Saturday evening, we took recommendations from the locals and had an exquisite dinner at Riccardo’s Ristorante in Lake Oswego.  Riccardo’s is an Italian restaurant with an extensive wine menu.  François, our waiter, made out first visit an amazing dining experience.  This may be close to an Italian dinner experience as in Italy.  They don’t rush you out, it’s a dining experience, not a turn ‘em quick establishment.  I had the lamb shank and my wife had lasagna.  François suggested some wine to pair with our meals and the rest is a culinary dream!

Overall, this Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival weekend was relaxing, fun and most of all an experience in new adventures.  Tulips are only here for a short season, but the memories will last a lifetime.