I dreamt of Wooden Shoe Farm tulips fields for a few years. Rows of beautiful flowers on the background of mt. Hood at a sunrise: that what I see behind my closed eyes.
It wasn’t that type of dreams that immediately pushes you to buy a plane ticket. I scrolled Pinterest and Instagram stopping for a few moments when I saw photos of the festival to enjoy the scenery.
One winter night we sat with our friends and watched something. I don’t remember how this talk started and how fast we decided that on a Spring break weekend we should visit tulips fields.
The month passed, and I bought tickets, booked hotels and purchased the permit to the fields. On the day when everything was obtained, the weather forecast promised sunny day with some clouds. Ideal, I thought, for sunset or sunrise.
It was the end of March when it became clear that the weather would not be on our side. All three days we planned to spend around Portland were overcast with 50 to 70% of rain. And so I packed my rain boots.
The farm has a very informative site with the bloom tracker where they post the progress and the photos of the fields. On the week of our visit, they expected fields to be in 20-25% bloom.
Taking into account all I wrote above, I felt anxious. But when we entered the farm and exit the car, all my doubts washed away. At first, we smelled all flower displays around the building. And then we saw fields.
If this was 20% bloom what is 100%? We were speechless. So we walked the grounds. It was Tuesday evening, there were around 10 people except us, so it felt like we had fields for ourselves. It took us an hour to make hundreds of photos and walk everything thoroughly when the rain started. I still think we were lucky that day.
We returned to the car with muddy shoes and drove to the hotel in town.
I bought a season pass to the festival which included extended hours with sunrise and sunset. And though forecast told that the morning should be cloudy, we still planned to visit on sunrise. If Tuesday was rainy, Wednesday morning was windy. The fields became even muddier after the night rains, and wind chilled to the bones. Skies had only a few cloudless spots, so I almost didn’t wait for a sun show. I still walked around red tulips fields. Dark of the skies looked stunning on the red foreground. However, I quickly froze and return to the car.
I returned home with a few shots less than a thousand. Though I have no photos that look like my dream picture of the festival, I’m delighted that I saw this place with my own eyes.
And yes, now I can plan to visit Skagit Valley with hope to get their sunrise 🙂
Information and links
- Wooden Shoe Tulip Fest usually starts at the end of March and lasts for one month.
- Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm is a hope of the event. Here is their site.
- The farm is located in Woodburn, OR. It’s around 34 miles south from Portland. Portland International Airport (PDX) will be the closest place to fly to.
- Farm grounds are open Mon – Thur, 9am-6pm & Fri-Sun, 8am-7pm. To get to the fields in time for sunrise, you should buy Sunrise Individual Entrance Pass or Season Pass, which also allows to stay one hour before dawn and staying up to one hour after sunset.
- They have different types of passes from individual to single car to passenger van or coach bus. However, I found Season Pass the best option. I paid $40 (in 2019) for extended hours for everyone in a single car. This pass works for the whole festival duration.
- Fields could be muddy and cold. So bring layers, rain boots, and raincoats. There were food trucks on weekdays (however they shut before 5 PM). On the weekends they have a lot of fun demonstration and activities for the whole families. However, it could be crowdy on the weekends.
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