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From Holland to the Skagit Valley: 5 spots for springtime flowers and gardens

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Each year when spring finally arrives, I declare it to be my most favorite season. And although we didn't have a severe winter here in the Pacific Northwest, when the daffodils and tulips begin blooming and the cherry blossoms burst forth -- I'll be smiling. Here's a list of five places to visit in the springtime, images I captured during my travels. Depending on where you live, some are close to home, while others are farther afield.

You can cut all the flowers but you cannot keep spring from coming ― Pablo Neruda

Skagit Valley Tulip Festival
Skagit Valley Tulip Festival Photo by Sue Frause.

Skagit Valley Tulip Festival

The  2014 Skagit Valley Tulip Festival is April 1-30. I try to visit every few years, and recommend driving up early in the morning before the valley wakes up (weekdays are best). They have an official Bloom Map so you can plan your trip according to what's in bloom. Last year I went on a photo tour with Shutter Tours, a fun way to see the tulip fields and resulting in this photo. Another option is to take an aerial trip via Northwest Sky Ferry out of Bellingham. That's definitely on my springtime bucket list! 

Monet's Garden at Giverny
Monet's Garden at Giverny Photo by Sue Frause.

Monet's Garden at Giverny

Jardin de Monet a Giverny (Monet's Garden at Giverny) is open April 1-November 1, 2014. I went in springtime several years ago, taking an hour-long bus tour from Paris. Claude Monet lived in the village of Giverny for 43 years, and it's absolutely beautiful. See the artist's house and gardens with a guided tour (75 minutes). Next time, I'll book a room at one of the many inns in this region of Normandy.

Springtime in Manhattan
Springtime in Manhattan Photo by Sue Frause.

Springtime in Manhattan

I was fortunate that my son lived in Manhattan for six years, and I always tried to visit during spring. The city is abloom this time of year, from in front of the New York Public Library (seen here) to Central Park. Here are the Best 6 Places to See Spring Bloom in the Big Apple. There's nothing better than springtime in New York!

The Butchart Gardens
The Butchart Gardens Photo by Sue Frause.

The Butchart Gardens

One of the loveliest times of year to visit The Butchart Gardens on Vancouver Island is spring. This year they're offering a special Spring Lunch at the Dining Room Restaurant. It includes adult admission to the gardens, along with a two-course lunch of an appetizer and entree. Price is $48.20 adults, $36 for ages 13-17. Available April 1-30, 2014.

Holland's Keukenhof
Holland's Keukenhof Photo by Sue Frause

Holland's Keukenhof

In 2012 I made my first visit to Holland in springtime. And yes, it was tulip time. Keukenhof is a flower lover's dream, a Dutch destination with seven million tulips, daffodils and hyacinths in bloom. Celebrating its 65th anniversary, this year's dates are March 20 - May 18, 2014. One of the highlights is a flower bulb mosaic planted with 60,000 tulips and muscaris depicting an Amsterdam canal scene with a tulip as large as a canal house. It symbolizes tulip mania during the Golden Age.

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