Day Trip: Tulip Fields at Burnside Farms
From picturesque flowers to family-friendly games, this is one festival you won't want to miss.
Tulips are more than just a colorful centerpiece for your dining room table; they’ve had a remarkable influence throughout the history of art, culture and even economics. In the 16th-century, Dutch tulips became so popular that they were actually used as a form of currency in Holland, creating a flower-induced economic bubble known as “Tulip Mania.” This inspired still-life masterpieces like Judith Leyster’s Tulip From Her Tulip Book in 1643 and Monet’s Water Lilies.
Red tulips with white edges are even officially named “Tulipia Paul McCartney” after The Beatles singer spoke in admiration of that particular varietal. (Prior to a performance at the famous Ziggo Dome music venue in Amsterdam, the city christened the flower with a new moniker in honor of McCartney’s environmental efforts. Red and white, the city colors of Liverpool, pay homage to McCartney’s Liverpudlian roots.)
Each year the tulip’s unique history is celebrated in the Netherlands with a tulip festival at the famous opening of Keukenhof Gardens, but you don’t have to hop on a plane to celebrate the arrival of spring. This April, get your tulip fix at Burnside Farms’ Festival of Spring in Nokesville, Virginia. The farm’s owners, Leslie and Michael Dawley, spent most of winter planting millions of tulip and daffodil bulbs, which are expected to reach peak bloom at the end of April.
With more than eight acres of spring flowers, Burnside Farms is one of the largest pick-your-own flower fields in the state. Guests can stroll the fields and take spring photos, clomp around in authentic wooden clogs, play corn hole, take a wagon ride or sit down for a picnic lunch. A shaded area with picnic tables fills up quickly, so bring a blanket to sit on just in case.
The cost of admission is $8, Monday-Sunday, during peak season. The Dawleys report that peak bloom has been delayed by cold weather, but you’ll find real-time updates about blooms and pricing on the Burnside Farms Facebook page.