America Through My Eyes
Seattle (Part-3) – Tulip Festival
Telugu Original : Dr K.Geeta
English Translation: V.Vijaya Kumar
I was filled with boundless excitement that morning as I prepared for this trip, knowing that the Tulip Festival in April was to be held near Seattle in Skagit Valley. As a true nature lover, the flower festival represents an overflowing joy to me.
Since our stay was close to the airport, which is 20 miles south of Seattle, we set off on our journey in the morning, following the same route we had taken earlier. We arrived in Skagit Valley at noon. It was the third week of April, so the tulip season was nearly over. It’s remarkable that these flowers can only be seen during the month of April for those four weeks.
Tulip Festival – Roozen Garden: We stopped at the visitor center and learned that there were two main must-see tulip gardens in Skagit Valley. First, we visited the famous Roozen Garden, which cost $5 per person, with free parking. We parked our car in the parking lot on the other side of the road adjacent to the garden and crossed the road to the gate. Beautiful, colorful, bulbous flowers were nodding happily. There were about five hundred people, and it felt like heaven with rows of colorful tulips as far as the eye could see. We walked through large fields, experiencing the aroma of the wet earth beneath our feet.
I was delighted to have my mother with me, sharing the beauty of the moment. We kept Siri in the cart as she eagerly plucked a flower. Satya took Varu with him, and my mother and I took pictures and enjoyed each flower.
We heard that the uniqueness of this location is its unexpected sunshine, a rarity in a place known for its frequent rain. We were lucky to have sunny weather, as rain can be quite a challenge when traveling with a child.
Tulip Town: Around 2 o’clock, we headed to Tulip Town, another tulip garden. We bought tickets in the same way. The gardens here weren’t as large as the previous one, but they offered a variety of colors. Since it was already the third week of April, some rows of flowers had been cut from their stalks.
Despite everyone being hungry, we patiently walked around the garden for an hour. We were mesmerized by the flowers. Siri got her time to explore and ended up covered in dirt, much to our amusement. I also wanted to immerse myself among the plants and flowers. So far, I had seen many flowering plants, but the beauty of tulip flowers was truly unique.
The tulip buds had blossomed with great beauty, resembling a rainbow of colors, an incredible sight.
For lunch, we enjoyed pizza at a small restaurant. We spent some time exploring European-style paintings on temporary walls and wandering around a gift shop. I purchased a glass tulip flower set as a souvenir. It featured three tiny glass figurines with tulip flowers, and it was both cute and beautiful.
Although we were reluctant to leave, we had to move on.
Canada Border: After traveling another sixty miles, we reached the Canada Border. We contemplated whether we had enough time, but it was already four o’clock. Since we still had time, we decided to drive towards the border at least to get a glimpse from the car. A young couple we knew ended up following us, and we realized it was a worthwhile stop.
We arrived at the village near the Canada Border without stopping along the way. The town was called Blaine. To avoid any unexpected issues and ensure we didn’t inadvertently cross into Canada, I consciously took a turn just before the route that led to the freeway.
Peace Arch State Park: To visit the “Peace Arch State Park” on the Canadian border, we had to go over the bridge leading to the freeway and then turn towards the town, bypassing the immigration board. After following several turns, we reached a point where the immigration offices were visible. We parked our car in a residential park and walked to the magnificent Peace Arch. It was a bit of a challenging task.
After searching for directions online, we reached the park, where a policeman was stationed. He pointed to the other side and told us, “That’s Canada.” He warned us not to let the children run to the other side, or they would be fined. He provided us with detailed information on how far we could go and what we could see.
We were surprised to discover a frontier between two nations without a fence, a sight that defied our expectations. Holding Siri carefully, we began our walk. Siri was eager to explore and could have darted across if not restrained. Across the road from the park, a large arch marked the border. We took photos near rocks with the names “USA” and “Canada” inscribed on them. Although Satya warned against crossing our legs into Canadian territory, I took a step towards Canada, much to his apprehension. The walls of the gate at the arch were inscribed with “Children of a Common Mother” on one side and “May these gates Never be Closed” on the other.
The tulip gardens had been a great experience, and this visit to the border was equally fascinating. The pleasure and excitement we felt during this visit were beyond words.
Despite our difficulties in reaching the location, the couple following us ended up circling the town and calling multiple times for directions. I provided them with detailed instructions to avoid any accidental entry into Canada. Unfortunately, we couldn’t wait for them, and it became clear that giving such advice without first-hand experience wasn’t advisable.
As the sun began to set, the temperature dropped. Moreover, finding parking had become a challenge, so we quickly left for the nearby beach. It wasn’t a typical beach with waves but rather a pond-like inlet, marking the water boundary between the two largest countries in North America.
Although I was tempted to take a peaceful walk along the beach at sunset, we had to leave after just ten minutes. Our exhausted children needed to be back in Seattle for lunch.
My mother and I watched the beautiful sunset on the coast, with the Peace Arch shining in the evening light. We also witnessed a train traveling from Canada over the Arch to the United States. After checking the border, we marveled at its journey as it entered the town.
Upon returning to the hotel at eight o’clock that night, we went out for dinner before falling asleep at ten. My heart was filled with delight, having experienced the beauty of the tulip gardens and the enchanting border scenery.
(to be continued…)
A post graduate in English literature and language and in Economics. A few of my translations were published. I translated the poems of Dr. Andesri , Denchanala, Ayila Saida Chary and Urmila from Telugu to English. I write articles and reviews to magazines and news papers. To the field of poetry I am rather a new face.