Posts in Adventures
5 Tips for Planning your trip to the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival
Anna Osgoodby Life + Biz :: 5 Tips for Planning your trip to the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival.png

When I moved back to Washington, visiting the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival got added to my adventure list real fast! We did a lot of adventuring growing up, but my appreciation for the state and the variety of things it has to offer is much clearer now as an adult! Plus, the last time I visited I was probably just a little bit taller than the tulips so it was time! If you’re not familiar, the Tulip Festival takes place each Spring in April (sometimes it starts a the last week of March) in the Skagit Valley, which is about an hour north of Seattle. They have a variety of events that happen locally each year, but the main draw is to visit the farms with rows and rows of all of those beautiful tulips! And yes, they really are THAT pretty! 🌷🌷🌷Now that I’ve visited and am clearly an expert on all things tulips now (onlyyyy kidding), I wanted to share some of my advice so you can plan the best trip up there too!

Prepare for Traffic & Crowds

Let’s just get this out of the way… there’s going to be traffic and crowds! it’s going to happen. You’re visiting farmlands full of a lot of two lane roads that are seeing more traffic now than any other time of the year. So just go into your adventure knowing it’s going to happen, make some good Pandora stations and you’ll be justtt fine. Obviously, the weekends are the most packed — especially on those rare sunny April days too so just be prepared for that. If you happen to have a job with days off during the week, I’ve heard that’s a great time to go, but most of us end up going on the weekends so.. yep you guessed it that crowd part comes into play. Everyone just wants to see those pretty flowers so give each other a break and just acknowledge the inevitable. That being said, we got there around 11am on a Sunday and the traffic wasn’t bad at all and we easily got a parking space. Realistically you’re not going to be there more than an hour or two so people luckily are in and out. The fields can get crowded but they’re so big that there’s plenty of room for everyone! We’re not talking Times Squares packed 😜

Pick Which Field You’re Going To

The next big question is which farm to go to. There are two main ones, Tulip Town and Roozengaarde and they’re not too far from each other. We went to Tulip Town for our trip, but the main differences I’ve heard are Roozengaarde’s fields are a lot bigger and Tulip Town is smaller (but still big) but they have a lot more color variety. Tulip Town also has an indoor display and some other family friendly activities too. I don’t think you can really go wrong whichever you decide though and the next time I go I’ll probably go to Roozengaarde so I can report on both! Their hours are a little different, but everything else is pretty similar so feel free to check out the info below to make your decision!

Roozengaarde

https://www.tulips.com

Admission: $10/person weekends, $7/weekdays, kids under 5 free

9am-7pm 7 days a week

Free parking

Tulip Town

https://tuliptown.com

Admission: $10/person weekends, $7/weekdays, kids 6-11 $5, kids under 5 free

Hours: 9am-5pm 7/days a week

Free parking

Anna Osgoodby Life + Biz :: 5 Tips for Planning your trip to the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival.png
Anna Osgoodby Life + Biz :: 5 Tips for Planning your trip to the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival.png

Bring Cash

As someone who doesn’t carry cash much these days, this would be a time to make sure you have some on hand. Tulip Town only takes cash at their entrance gate (they do accept cards inside though) so my recommendation is to get some before heading there. Plus, often at events like this it can just be easier to have on hand in case places don’t take cards. FYI, they also don’t sell tickets online in advance — you’ll buy them at the gardens.

Pack the Rain Boots

It’s April in Washington… I think we’re one of the states that invented the phrase, “April showers, brings May flowers”. While we definitely get some solid sun in April, remember you’re visiting farms so when it rains during the week, it can still be pretty muddy days after. So I definitely recommend packing rain boots if you have them. I didn’t actually end up needing them when we visited, but I’m glad I had them on hand just in case because there were definitely a lot of spots that were super muddy. I’d double-down on this advice if you have kids too because.. well… kids!

Anna Osgoodby Life + Biz :: 5 Tips for Planning your trip to the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival.png

Respect the Fields

Now, don’t worry you’re going to get all of the picture-perfect Instagram pictures you want… but remember to also respect the fields. There are signs everywhere to not walk down the rows, buttttt let’s just say a lot of people ignored that and being a true 1 on the Enneagram scale, you know I had to bring some attention to that! So here’s the deal, stay out of the rows! They say you can step 1-2 feet into them to get your photos, but any further than that you risk stepping on other bulbs and damaging future crops. Just don’t do it. RoozenGaarde did a great post on their Facebook page with more info and tips for getting the pics you want while protecting the fields.

Make a Day Trip out of your Visit

After you take in all the views at the fields, I recommend sticking around for a bit! Living south, I don’t get up north that often and in our experience, the traffic was a lot worse heading south than getting to the fields — so if you have the time make your adventure a day trip! Growing up in a farm town, I appreciate the slower pace that some of these towns offer so they were fun to explore. The tulip festival website is a great resource to find something that fits your fancy!

Evan had won a raffle at one of our local restaurant/bars of goodies from a brewery called Chuckanut Brewery that happened to be really close to the fields so we opted to check them out! We visited their South Nut tap room and it was great! Loved the farm vibes and the beer was solid!

Anna Osgoodby Life + Biz :: 5 Tips for Planning your trip to the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival.png
Anna Osgoodby Life + Biz :: 5 Tips for Planning your trip to the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival.png

There were quite a few winery or tap rooms in the area so if that’s you’re kind of thing you are in luck! You’re also only about 20 minutes for Anacortes or Deception Pass (or both) if you’re looking for some more options. Which, of course we were ready to check out alllll of the places!

Anacortes is located on Fidalgo Island and is such a cute little coastal town with gorgeous views! There’s also a lot of local restaurants , fun little shops, and outdoor activities. We kind of just poked around the downtown area and drove through some of the neighborhoods which were so adorbs!

Anna Osgoodby Life + Biz :: 5 Tips for Planning your trip to the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival.png
Anna Osgoodby Life + Biz :: 5 Tips for Planning your trip to the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival.png

We also decided to stop by Deception Pass because it was so close! It’s about 15 minutes from Anacortes and 20 straight from the tulip farms. The pass is most notorious for its bridge which connects Fidalgo and Whibey Islands and apparently is one of the most photographed locations in the state. For good reason too, it’s gorgeous! We drove over the bridge and then made a pit stop at Deception Pass State Park where you can park and walk along the beaches under the bridge and just take it all in. Because it’s a state park, you will need a Discover Pass unless you visit on one of the free days — they are two in April so check their calendar!

Anna Osgoodby Life + Biz :: 5 Tips for Planning your trip to the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival.png
Anna Osgoodby Life + Biz :: 5 Tips for Planning your trip to the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival.png

Then our last stop of the day was to the Shrimp Shack. By this point in the day, we were getting hungry and had passed it on our way to Deception Pass so we decided to stop on the way back. We weren’t the only ones either, the place was hopping! We went for a basket of shrimp, but if you’re into oysters they’re known for their Oyster burger. They have a ton of options that are all local too so definitely worth a stop if seafood is your thing.

Anna Osgoodby Life + Biz :: 5 Tips for Planning your trip to the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival.png
Anna Osgoodby Life + Biz :: 5 Tips for Planning your trip to the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival.png
Anna Osgoodby Life + Biz :: 5 Tips for Planning your trip to the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival.png

I hope these tops have been helpful! The tulips are truly gorgeous so I highly recommend checking them out if you get the chance. Plus, the area up there in general is just such a breath of fresh air so it’s worth a visit even outside of tulip season. These days, I’m such a sucker for exploring smaller adorable towns and just taking in all that Washington has to offer and this adventure definitely fit the bill.

Travel Guide for a Visiting Austin, Waco and San Antonio, Texas
Anna Osgoodby Life + Biz :: Travel Guide for a Visiting Austin Texas + Day Trips to Waco and San Antonio

Visiting Austin has been on my travel bucket-list for awhile now. So when we got the opportunity to plan a getaway to the city to celebrate Evan’s 30th Birthday, you know I was PUMPED! Plus, it was our first big trip together (eek) and we both came out alive, so I think that’s a good sign right?! Ha. In all seriousness though, this trip was so much fun to plan and explore together. Since Austin is pretty close to a few other cities, we also decided to squeeze in a few day trips too — one to Waco (because I’m a basic Fixer Upper fan) and another to San Antonio!

Austin

I reallyyy loved Austin! I’ve heard it be compared to Portland a lot and I can totally see the connection. I think if I had a good comparison to where I’ve been before I’d say it was a mix between Portland and Nashville. Portland for the hipster and foodie scene and Nashville for the wide collection of live music + a little bit of a country flair (although not as much as I thought). It was interesting too because even though Austin is home to nearly a million people, it felt really manageable. Like, driving downtown Seattle scares the crap out of me, but we drove all over the place downtown and it wasn’t bad at all. Plus the city is pretty easy to navigate (and I’m a terrible navigator) so that’s saying something. Def a solid city! So let’s get down to the nitty gritty on some of my recs on things to do on your visit.

Anna Osgoodby Life + Biz :: Travel Guide for a Visiting Austin Texas + Day Trips to Waco and San Antonio
Anna Osgoodby Life + Biz :: Travel Guide for a Visiting Austin Texas + Day Trips to Waco and San Antonio
Anna Osgoodby Life + Biz :: Travel Guide for a Visiting Austin Texas + Day Trips to Waco and San Antonio
Anna Osgoodby Life + Biz :: Travel Guide for a Visiting Austin Texas + Day Trips to Waco and San Antonio
Anna Osgoodby Life + Biz :: Travel Guide for a Visiting Austin Texas + Day Trips to Waco and San Antonio

Get your Grub on

Not that this will surprise you, but one of the things I was most excited about checking out in Austin was the grub! And it did not disappoint! Between bomb bbq, tacos and food trucks galore, Austin’s food choices were grubbing! Here were some of my favorites

  • La Barbecue: If you go to one place to eat in Austin, let it be La Barbecue. Seriously. We were going to order some pork ribs but everyone in line ahead of us was ordering the beef ribs, so we joined in too in fear of missing out. The ribs were insanely huge but so. dang. good.

  • Torchy’s Tacos: This was recommended from one of my friends and it was solid! It’s actually a chain but they have SO many options and it was very tasty.

  • Bird Bird Biscuit: I actually found this place on Instagram and we had to check it out! It’s a little off the beaten path from downtown (or I think so at least lol) but I’m so glad we checked it out. The food was so tasty plus the restaurant is just super adorbs!

Anna Osgoodby Life + Biz :: Travel Guide for a Visiting Austin Texas + Day Trips to Waco and San Antonio
Anna Osgoodby Life + Biz :: Travel Guide for a Visiting Austin Texas + Day Trips to Waco and San Antonio
Anna Osgoodby Life + Biz :: Travel Guide for a Visiting Austin Texas + Day Trips to Waco and San Antonio
Anna Osgoodby Life + Biz :: Travel Guide for a Visiting Austin Texas + Day Trips to Waco and San Antonio

Get Your History on at the Capitol Building

Austin is the capitol after all! While we were looking for parking downtown, we ended up near the capitol building and decided to take a peek inside where we stumbled into one of the tours starting. It was the first full day of our trip, and I have to say I know way more about Texas’ capitol than Washington’s now. 🙈I may need to look into a visit to Olympia soon! Truly, the tour was pretty cool though and it was interesting to learn a little history before getting set free to wander all over the building.

Anna Osgoodby Life + Biz :: Travel Guide for a Visiting Austin Texas + Day Trips to Waco and San Antonio
Anna Osgoodby Life + Biz :: Travel Guide for a Visiting Austin Texas + Day Trips to Waco and San Antonio
Anna Osgoodby Life + Biz :: Travel Guide for a Visiting Austin Texas + Day Trips to Waco and San Antonio

Check out the Bats under the Congress Bridge

In normal circumstances I think the idea of going to see bats might freak me out a little bit. Although I did like to hike through bat caves growing up… but this is definitely a sight to see! Not only is the population of Austin expanding in people but it also has the largest urban community of bats! We opted to take one of the boat tours along the water which was great not only to see the bats come out but also to learn more about the city and take in the views. As cheesy as tour buses and what not can seem sometimes, they are suchhh a good way to learn about the cities you visit. The tour was awesome and we learned a lot plus saw a ton of bats. Guys, there’s 1.5 million of them! Although who is counting those? No matter how many there are if you’re visiting during prime season (somewhere between May and October) definitely make time to check this out.

Anna Osgoodby Life + Biz :: Travel Guide for a Visiting Austin Texas + Day Trips to Waco and San Antonio
Anna Osgoodby Life + Biz :: Travel Guide for a Visiting Austin Texas + Day Trips to Waco and San Antonio

Learn to 2-Step at the White Horse

You can’t visit Austin without hitting up a honkey tonk, right?! I think before this trip, I was expecting the city to be a littleee more country — I mean it is Texas after all. We got our dose of country in though learning to two step while wearing matching plaid shirts. No that wasn’t planned… and yes we got crap from a few people that night haha. No matter what you wear though, it was a fun little spot to check out in East Austin and definitely a place where it seems like more locals go, which was cool.

Seek out some Street Art

Austin is busting at the seams with street art! Like seriously, the city is SO colorful which naturally my little Bold & Pop color loving self ate that up! Which btw, you can get locations of some of these walls here. Here were a few of my favorites.

Anna Osgoodby Life + Biz :: Travel Guide for a Visiting Austin Texas + Day Trips to Waco and San Antonio
Anna Osgoodby Life + Biz :: Travel Guide for a Visiting Austin Texas + Day Trips to Waco and San Antonio
Anna Osgoodby Life + Biz :: Travel Guide for a Visiting Austin Texas + Day Trips to Waco and San Antonio

Get your Pub Crawl on at Rainey Street

Last but definitelyyy not least in Austin, Rainey Street is suchhh a blast! It’s kind of the Bourbon street or Broadway of Austin and it was just a really fun scene. There was live music at just about every bar which was awesome and pretty much every place had a tonnn of outdoor space — perks to living in a warmer climate. I imagine it gets pretty nuts on the weekends (we were there Wednesday and Thursday) but it was so much fun and it felt like a lot of locals also hit up the scene so it’s not totally just touristy. A few of my favorite places we went to were:

  • Container Bar: This bar is built out of storage containers which was so neat and unique. They also had hoola hooping lessons that night to keep things interesting.

  • Unbarlievable: Guys, this may have been my favorite bar ever… I mean, there was a slide in the bar! Say whattt?! And yes, I went down several times! They also had a giraffe statue outside and beanbag chairs in the backyard. SOLD!

  • Banger’s Sausage House and Beer Garden: This place was also a blast. They had a huge selection of beer — expected at a beer garden I suppose and they have a giant outdoor space. We caught some live music and it was a great place to chill.

Austin, you definitely get two thumbs up from me!

Waco

When I realized that Waco was only an hour and a half from Austin, I had to make a case to include that on our trip! Lucky for me Evan agreed just about as soon as I suggested it. Totally necessaryyyy for this die-hard Fixer Upper fan girl! Full disclosure, we visited Waco for the sole reason of visiting the Magnolia Market & Silos Baking Co.. Which I imagine as a resident of Waco it might be a smidge bit annoying… but at the same time it’s also put Waco on the map for tourism so I imagine the local economy has benefitted from that.

It’s funny because Waco was just about everything I expected it to be. I had read a lot of reviews about the downtown district and people just thinking it was something it wasn’t because of the how it was portrayed on TV, but for me it really hit the nail on the head for what I was expecting. Maybe being from a small town (much smaller than Waco) set my expectations on that, but it pretty much lived out what I would visioned a small town in Texas to be like. Which truthfully it’s really not that small, 136k people live there, but it definitely still has that smaller city kind of vibe. It reminded us a lot of Ellensburg in Washington actually, if you’re familiar.

Anna Osgoodby Life + Biz :: Travel Guide for a Visiting Austin Texas + Day Trips to Waco and San Antonio
Anna Osgoodby Life + Biz :: Travel Guide for a Visiting Austin Texas + Day Trips to Waco and San Antonio
Anna Osgoodby Life + Biz :: Travel Guide for a Visiting Austin Texas + Day Trips to Waco and San Antonio
Anna Osgoodby Life + Biz :: Travel Guide for a Visiting Austin Texas + Day Trips to Waco and San Antonio

One thing I actually wasn’t expecting was that the market was actually right downtown! I think since Chip and Joanna live on a farm (actually not in Waco at all) I just envisioned the silos being more out in the country, and not so centralized but they’re actually right smack dab in the middle of downtown which surprised me. Maybe I missed that point on the show?! The market and bakery were everything and more that I could have dreamed of too. I’m not a big crowd person, but we went on a Thursday and the space is so big that it wasn’t too crazy, all things considered — although I hear Saturdays are reallyyyy nuts! Which btw, they aren’t open on Sunday so Saturday is your one weekend shot.

We started out our visit at the bakery to pick up some cupcakes. Apparently the wait can get nuts on the weekend, but we hit the timing right and only waited about 10 minutes. I can’t give enough props to the staff too, everyone was just incredibly friendly and had their system down to give everyone the best experience in a timely manner. The cupcakes were delightful too. I ordered a pumpkin spice (of course) and Evan got the campfire one — both of the seasonal options. I always appreciate a cupcake with a great frosting to cake ratio too and these were on pointttt!

Anna Osgoodby Life + Biz :: Travel Guide for a Visiting Austin Texas + Day Trips to Waco and San Antonio
Anna Osgoodby Life + Biz :: Travel Guide for a Visiting Austin Texas + Day Trips to Waco and San Antonio
Anna Osgoodby Life + Biz :: Travel Guide for a Visiting Austin Texas + Day Trips to Waco and San Antonio
Anna Osgoodby Life + Biz :: Travel Guide for a Visiting Austin Texas + Day Trips to Waco and San Antonio
Anna Osgoodby Life + Biz :: Travel Guide for a Visiting Austin Texas + Day Trips to Waco and San Antonio
Anna Osgoodby Life + Biz :: Travel Guide for a Visiting Austin Texas + Day Trips to Waco and San Antonio
Anna Osgoodby Life + Biz :: Travel Guide for a Visiting Austin Texas + Day Trips to Waco and San Antonio

The great thing about the grounds too is it’s been thought out SO well. They really created a space with a family experience in mind. The actual shop was a little crowded, but nothing I didn’t expect. Truthfully, I could have just sipped on some sweet tea and sat in one of their porch swings all day. They also had an impressive food truck selection, an area for kids to play, tons of picnic tables and a gardening area. Even the bathrooms were nice and not too crowded and I expected those to be a zoo.

If you’re a fan of the show, it’s 100% worth a day trip too if you’re staying in the area. There are also quite a few cute other little shops nearby the market and a Dr. Pepper museum if you’re into that. We also played creeper status a little bit and drove by a few of the houses they remodeled that were nearby too. Just LOVE their work!

Anna Osgoodby Life + Biz :: Travel Guide for a Visiting Austin Texas + Day Trips to Waco and San Antonio
Anna Osgoodby Life + Biz :: Travel Guide for a Visiting Austin Texas + Day Trips to Waco and San Antonio
Anna Osgoodby Life + Biz :: Travel Guide for a Visiting Austin Texas + Day Trips to Waco and San Antonio

San Antonio

Our last stop on the trip was San Antonio, and I have to say it was even cooler than I thought it was going to be. Truth be told, I was swampedddd with work before this trip (as well as a few other trips I had in the weeks prior) so Evan pretty much planned most of the spots we checked out and I truly didn’t know much about San Antonio before we went. Plus it was also only about an hour away from Austin so I’m glad we could add it to the trip. Our stop here was short so we mostly stuck to the touristy things to do but it was still so much fun! Here were some of my favorites in San Antonio:

  • The Alamo: I feel like this is kind of a must for a visit to San Antonio and it was something that Evan was really excited about. It’s right downtown so it was easy to navigate to and we definitely got our dose of history in.

  • La Villita Historic Arts Village: On our way back to our hotel, we came across an adorable little village square with a bunch of different shops that were really cute.

  • River Walk: You can’t go to San Antonio without visiting the River Walk. Yes, it’s kind of touristy, but it’s so cool that there’s a little river running through the collection of shops, restaurants, and hotels. We ate at the oldest Mexican restaurant on the walk, Casa Rio that had the iconic umbrellas. Then later on we also stopped at the walk’s oldest bar The Esquire Tavern, which was also a neat place. We also opted to take one of the boat tours which was another fun part of learning about the history of the River Walk.

Anna Osgoodby Life + Biz :: Travel Guide for a Visiting Austin Texas + Day Trips to Waco and San Antonio
Anna Osgoodby Life + Biz :: Travel Guide for a Visiting Austin Texas + Day Trips to Waco and San Antonio
Anna Osgoodby Life + Biz :: Travel Guide for a Visiting Austin Texas + Day Trips to Waco and San Antonio
Anna Osgoodby Life + Biz :: Travel Guide for a Visiting Austin Texas + Day Trips to Waco and San Antonio
Anna Osgoodby Life + Biz :: Travel Guide for a Visiting Austin Texas + Day Trips to Waco and San Antonio

Texas, you were so good to us! This trip was such a blast and I’m so happy we were able to squeeze so many different places in and get a good mix of touristy and local spots in. Always nice when you get to see a little of both! Until next time, yehaw!

A Tacoma Annual Tradition Hunting for Monkeyshines: A Look at the Citywide Guerrilla Art Hunt
Anna Osgoodby Life + Biz: A Tacoma Annual Tradition Hunting for Monkeyshines: A Look at the Citywide Guerrilla Art Hunt

It’s Chinese New Year which means... Monkeyshine season is upon us in Tacoma! If you haven’t heard about it before, it’s an annual guerrilla art hunt where local artists hide a couple thousand glass orbs and medallions stamped with the Chinese Zodiac around the city.

Originally, it was started by someone known as “Ms. Monkey” and a friend who wanted to create joy and excitement for residents during our long grey winters. While deciding what they were going to create and hide, they were inspired by Ms. Monkey’s friend’s brass stamp he had created with a monkey on it. With access to a hot shop and donated glass, they decided stamping glass balls was the perfect creation. Plus, it would also pay homage to the city’s glass roots. From there, they created 200 creations and with a cohort of volunteers they hid them around the city. Here’s a peek at what some of them look like!

Their idea was a hit right from the bat, even with some initial confusion. Apparently the finds were being confiscated at first because they thought they had been stolen from the glass museum! After a very buzzworthy first year, Ms. Monkey’s crew decided to commit to hiding what would be known as “monkeyshines” each year for 12 years to complete a cycle (and later another cycle). How fun right?! You can learn even more about the back story of the tradition in this great article from Joanna Kresge of South Sound Magazine including an interview with Ms. Monkey herself.

Since then, the event has continued to evolve and others have decided to join in the fun including, now infamous, Marble Man who leaves marbles and others who leave their own gifts of charms, bracelets, and painted rocks to name a few. Adding even more treasures to be found! There aren’t any formal rules, but you can find monkeyshines in public places around the city and be sure to keep the honor system of 1 per person (that is if you’re lucky enough to even find one!)

Last year was my first year of hunting for monkeyshines and while we didn’t find anything, it was a really fun day of exploring the city — especially because we’d just moved. You could say we fully embraced the original mission of the event! That was also the day we ended up discovering my favorite brewery, 7 Seas Brewing (where I just celebrated my 30th Birthday party at)!

Anna Osgoodby Life + Biz: A Tacoma Annual Tradition Hunting for Monkeyshines: A Look at the Citywide Guerrilla Art Hunt

This year, I was lucky enough to (unsuspectingly) come across a red envelope with a pig charm inside too! I also walked by a guy who found a really gorgeous glass ball in Wright Park! So there are definitely treasures to be found out there! I’ve been keeping up with the hashtag on Instagram of finds too! No matter if you find something or not though, remember to enjoy the hunt and this great city because that’s where the real fun is!