Celebrate Spring at 5 Flower-Filled Festivals
I’ve been waiting for March to go “out like a lamb” since January. It’s not that I don’t love winter–I’ll miss the early morning hailstorms and the hot buttered rum–but after three months of scarves, gloves, and boot socks, I’m ready for a season that’s a little gentler, warmer, and greener.
So for those of you who, like me, have been waiting on the orange blossom perfume that means spring is in bloom, here are five floral events you won’t want to miss:
Epcot® Flower & Garden Festival
Orlando’s Walt Disney World® Resort brings spring into focus at the annual Epcot® Flower & Garden Festival. From March 2 to May 15, 2011, you can get gardening tips, take a tour of a butterfly house, visit Disney character topiaries, and view a variety of flowers at the event’s special gardens.
The National Cherry Blossom Festival
From March 26 to April 10, 2011, Washington D.C. will be celebrating the en masse bloom of its favorite flower: the cherry blossom. April 9, 2011 marks the day of the official parade—complete with marshmallow-like sakura balloons—but you can stop in at your leisure for a paddle boat ride on the Tidal Basin or walk beneath flowering trees to the Jefferson Memorial.
Skagit Valley Tulip Festival
Held each year from April 1 to 30, 2011, the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival draws thousands to the fields of the Pacific Northwest, where tulips of every color stretch skyward beneath the Washington sun. Visitors can tour local historic homes and flower-filled greenhouses, or spend a day sampling fine wine and cuisine.
California Poppy Festival
Drive from chic Los Angeles hotels to the Antelope Valley, and you’ll find hills blanketed in neon-orange poppies. The California Poppy Festival celebrates the state’s signature bloom from April 16 to 17, 2011 with a variety of performances, exhibits, and local delicacies served up in the sunshine.
North Carolina Azalea Festival
This azalea-focused festival returns for a 64th anniversary complete with garden tours, a street fair, and a cheerful parade. Visit from April 6 to 10, 2011 to see these bold blooms in person, plus tour the historic homes of downtown Wilmington for a peek at late-1800s Carolina.
Image Credits (Top to Bottom): “Epcot – Flower & Garden Festival” by ScrapNancy; “20100501-IMG_7905” by kellyv; “Untitled” by indichick7; “Untitled” by Jessie Emslie; “California Golden Poppy” by anarchosyn; “Azalea” by Hatsuki Maruyama.
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My name: Kate Beall
How I earn my keep: Writing for Travelocity.
Best meal I've ever had: There are three: the mofongo at Jimmy'z Kitchen in South Beach, the lomito completo at Fuente Alemana in Santiago, and (for the sheer novelty factor) the cuy chactado in Arequipa, Peru.
First thing I do in a new place: Hit the shower. Anything more than an hour in transit gets me fantasizing about soap.
View that took my breath away: Seeing the endless stretch of the Sierras as I flew in to Reno/Tahoe for the first time. In the winter, it's an aching field of white all the way to the horizon, like a world wiped clean. Looking out at it gives you this unmatched feeling of eternity.
Most challenging travel moment: Sharing a pull-out couch in a cramped New York apartment. The heat wave of 2010 was in full, humid swing and the air conditioning was D.O.A. There was nothing to do but soak your clothes in the sink and hope to pass out before they dried. ...then wake up in an hour and do it all again.
Favorite way to get around: On foot. I'm still working on the motorcycle license.