I meant to post about this last week, but earlier this month we had a much needed girls weekend. Now that we’re spread all over the state with normal adult lives, it can be really tough to find the time to get together. However a few days filled with shopping, flowers, and spring time was just about too great to pass up, so we headed to Tulip Time for the weekend.
Because we planned it out a bit last minute, everywhere in Holland was booked up. We ended up staying in Saugatuck, which ended up being nice hiccup since we got to see both little towns. We stayed at The Beachway Resort which I definitely recommend if in the area.
The suite rooms with the mini-kitchen were huge and would be great for a family vacation. The whole hotel definitely had that great small-town, michigan, local business feel. With DVD’s in the lobby, games you could rent, and coffee and a small breakfast in the sunroom in the morning, it felt more like we were staying at a friend’s house than a hotel.
We got to Saugatuck on Friday night in time to check in and grab some tacos and a pitcher of Margaritas at Loco Burrito, it was Cinco De Mayo after all!
After eating as much yummy mexican food as possible, we took a walk around the town trying to find somewhere to grab a drink. The downtown is filled with cute little unique shops, great restaurants, and a Kilwin’s. Amazing. We ended up giving Saugatuck Brewing Company a try and loved it. Cute restaurant and great beer, definitely recommend the Stout on Nitro and the Backyard IPA. Unfortunately not downtown, but worth the little drive down the road.
Saturday we got up early and headed up to Holland, it’s a pretty quick drive north and definitely doable. For the festival they had a free shuttle called the Orange Express that picks up at Nelis’ Dutch Village and made stops at the Windmill Island Gardens and Downtown Holland. Not having to deal with traffic and parking was a definite perk, so we decided to start the day at the Dutch Village and it did not disappoint.
I have to say, I was a little nervous for the Dutch Village, there’s an entrance fee, $12 per adult, and the brochures made it look like it was definitely steered towards kids, but we basically are large children so we figured it would be okay. If we could at least be able to spend an hour walking around it’d probably be worth it. I was so wrong, there was a lot going on for this little park, lots of demonstrations, events, photo ops, things to do.
We learned how to dutch dance and got stickers to prove it (thankfully no video). We rode in a sketchy ferris wheel and swung in the big swings, played around in the petting zoo, sampled gouda, and took picks in a giant wooden shoe. Plus on top of that, the park itself was absolutely gorgeous, beautiful tulips, little canals, and the best window boxes ever. I’m really glad that we went there and would definitely recommend it for anyone heading there. We spent about 2 and a half hours there and I bet we could’ve spent longer, but we wanted to move on to the next stop for the day.
After the dutch village we took the quick shuttle ride to the Windmill Island Gardens and spent some time learning about windmills and exploring the tulip fields. The little dutch village and history center are beautiful, great architecture and gardens, but we headed right over the little bridge to go check out the windmill.
Of course because we went on the first weekend of the Festival it was absolutely packed. We waiting for a while in the chilly wind before getting a tour of the windmill, seeing it’s operations, and checking out the view from the top. It was interesting to learn about the story of this windmill, the last one to allowed the leave the Netherlands ever and is still in operation. Plus how many people can say they’ve been at the top of a windmill as the blades were humming along?!
After exploring the old-time shops and attempting to walk in these crazy, tandem wooden shoes, we headed downtown for a late lunch. Thinking it was late so we wouldn’t have to wait long was straight up amateur hour. After the third restaurant we ended up finding a great pizza place without too long of a wait, Crust 54. We devoured a thin crust pizza (couldn’t wait for that deep dish) in about four minutes, then headed to get ice cream at Kilwin’s.
Downtown Holland has the cutest shops too, we spent a while just browsing and shopping for fun cards, cute sundresses, and some amazing smelling candles. Our favorites were Spring Street, Frances Jayes, and Urban Found.
We walked around the art fair for a bit, I got this really awesome wooden window shape, then found a seat to sit to sit and watch some dutch dancing in the street. I was honestly shocked with how many dancers there was and how well they performed. They hold their shoes on by wearing a lot of sock, but I don’t think I could walk let alone dance in those no matter what I was wearing. On top of that they all looked like they were having so much fun, I think everyone wanted to jump in and try.
There was probably a lot more that we could have done, but with such a long day of walking and shivering (it never really warmed up!) we were ready to drive back south and grab dinner. I know that we definitely missed a few parks and probably some more photo ops, but by the end of the day we were ready to hit the road and relax.
After a long day smelling the flowers (literally) we headed back to Saugatuck for drinks and dinner and to watch the sunset. Our hotel, The Beachway Resort, had DVD’s for rent and movies to borrow in the lobby, so we ended the long day with Scattegories and A Cinderella Story. There’s no better way to end a girls weekend.
I was so grateful for a little weekend getaway. Lately everything has just been so crazy and draining, it was fun to just have a whole weekend to shop, gossip, relax and laugh. I love the chances that we all get together and catch up, they can be few and far between but they’re always the best.
My Top Things To Do At Tulip Time Festival
Learn how to dutch dance at Nelis’ Dutch Village
Buy some Gouda
Tour the windmill at Windmill Island Gardens
Grab a cone at Kilwin’s
Explore the unique shops of Downtown Holland
Catch Dutch Dancing Downtown
My Top Tips for Visting Holland’s Tulip Time Festival
Take the free shuttle – it dropped us off right downtown and at the gates, there were plenty of buses, and it saved us a lot of headache finding parking.
Make a Reservation – Plan ahead and find a restaurant that takes reservations or give yourself enough time when so you’re not hungry when you find somewhere to eat. We waiting until 2 and there was still an hour + wait everywhere we went.
Bring Snacks – life motto
Take a Picnic Blanket and People Watch – I wish we would’ve brought a blanket so we could’ve just hung out longer. We visiting so many great parks but didn’t have the ability to stay in one place too long. I suggest one like this one from amazon that would easily fit in your purse.
Go During the Week or You’ll Have a Million People in Every Photo – As much as I enjoy removing people from photos in photoshop, it was impossible for us to get any photos without a crowd in the background. If you can, go during the week to get some one-on-one time with the blooms.
Have you been before?! Did we miss anything major?!