Tag: Tulip Festival
Tulip Time Festival in Holland is one of the most popular festivals in Michigan. It takes place at the beginning of May and with the cancellation of the festival in 2020, I had a feeling it would be an even bigger deal in 2021. In an attempt to beat the crowds, we decided to go the weekend before the festival began.
We decided this would be a great time to take the camper out for its inaugural trip for the 2021 season so with just a few weeks advance planning, I booked a site at Holland State Park. This park is very popular in the summer and with good reason. It has a beautiful beach on Lake Michigan with a view of the iconic Big Red Lighthouse and is relatively close to downtown Holland. The campground is made up of two sections, the most popular section is right on the beach (which was not yet open for the season when we visited) and the more wooded Lake Macatawa unit where we stayed.
Because of its popularity, this campground comes with some very strict rules. I had to sign a paper and hang it in the window of my camper agreeing to the 1pm checkout time. There was a sign in the office saying the visitors are not allowed and campers must keep their ID on them at all times in the campground to prove that you are allowed to be there. No alcohol is allowed in the campground at any time and rangers frequently drove around, looking into campsites to check. I’m sure these rules are necessary for peak season but the fact that the campground was only 25% full at the time made a lot of this seem a little intrusive and over-the-top. If I had a reason to be in the area, I would probably stay here again, but I wouldn’t seek it out when I’m just looking for a place to camp for a weekend.
As I mentioned at the top, the purpose of this trip was to visit Windmill Island Gardens and see the tulips. It was pretty chilly this weekend and we even saw snow flurries Sunday morning, but most of the tulips were in the early stages of blooming. I always enjoy visiting the garden and photographing the tulips. If you are looking to see the sights in Holland, Holland State Park is a good base for exploration, but be aware that they do have a lot of rules and they do patrol and enforce them.
This year I knew there were going to be more people than ever camping and it was going to be challenging to get into the most popular campgrounds in the summer. I decided to book the busiest campgrounds (such as this one and Ludington) in the off-season and then try out some of the more under-the-radar spots when the parks would be the busiest. For the most part, I did make reservations about six months out, and with this methodology, I was able to get some really nice sites. I am excited to share those journeys with you!
Thanks for stopping by! To read about some of our previous trips, visit my Trips Page. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page and follow me on Instagram! You can purchase prints on Etsy and Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my updated Gear Page.
Next weekend is the start of the annual Tulip Time Festival in Holland, Michigan. The Tulip Festival was recently voted the Best Flower Festival by USA Today readers. It beat the Rose Parade, seriously. We went last year and it was a little too crowded for my taste (I never would’ve been able to get a shot like this because people would’ve been in it). With the warmer weather we’ve had this spring, everything seems to be blooming about 2 weeks early, so it seemed this past weekend would be a great time to visit. Of course, we decided to go on Sunday and it rained all day. I can’t complain, though because it led to some really great water droplet photos! And the rain kept the fair weather tourists out. Of course, the down side to touring a garden in the rain is muddy shoes and it made it tricky to get the angles I wanted.
At Windmill Island Gardens we got a break from the rain and toured the authentic Dutch windmill (not pictured). The thing that is crazy about the windmill is that it is a working flour mill run by the only non- Dutch Dutch Certified miller. Not to mention the fact that this windmill is over 150 years old and was the last windmill to leave the Netherlands. We bought some of the whole wheat flour that they mill there and I am excited to make some pancakes next weekend.
Thanks for stopping by! For more information on Tulip Time and Windmill Island Gardens visit Holland.org. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram, and Flickr! To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page.
I saw recently that the Tulip Time Festival in Holland, Michigan was just rated the #1 flower festival in the US by USA Today readers. This was the second year that I made the trek over to Holland to see the blossoms and it really is beautiful! To see tulips of all colors, lined up in rows really is a sight to behold! The festival is over now, but if you are planning a visit for next year, I highly recommend Windmill Island Gardens. One thing to note, it gets very crowded during the Tulip Festival. If possible, plan your trip before the festival starts to get the gardens to yourself!
About the Photo:
If you are into photography at all you have probably heard about the importance of lighting. In the middle of the day on a sunny day, the sun is directly overhead and it casts harsh shadows. I’ll be honest, I’ve heard this over and over again and I tried to obey it but I never really understood what it meant. Well, looking at my Tulip Festival pictures, I finally understand. You can see the uneven shadows on that white tulip. That doesn’t mean I don’t like it. All rules are meant to be broken sometimes, and I think the shadows add something interesting to the image. Below, I’ve posted a photo from my visit last year when it was overcast and lightly raining. It doesn’t look as bright as the above photo (a flash would’ve helped with that), but the cloud cover provided nice, even light. The water droplets don’t hurt either.
Camera Gear (for both photos):
Nikon D3100 with 8.0-55.0 mm f/3.5-5.6 kit lens handheld
Top: May 8, 2016
Bottom: May 10, 2015