Thursday, January 18, 2018

Tulip Mania & More with Tours of Distinction

Winter-weary eyes will brighten this May when visitors stroll through gardens ablaze with tulips at the famed Holland Tulip Time Festival in Michigan with Tours of Distinction.  This festival has been consistently chosen as one of the best small town festivals in the country by Readers Digest. Last year it was named the top flower festival in America by USA Today.   As part of Tours of Distinction's exclusive escorted tour group, you won't miss any of the colorful festivities that abound at this fun-filled event.

About the Festival

The Dutch obsession with tulips began with Flemish botanist Carolus Clusius when he planted the first bulbs in 1593. When the tulips bloomed in 1594  "tulip mania" began in Holland and, spread throughout the world -- and eventually to Holland, Michigan along with folks from the Netherlands that settled here.

In 1927, a local biology teacher suggested a one-day event to celebrate the tulip and the areas Dutch cultural heritage.  The idea caught on and the city sold bulbs for a penny a piece to residents in 1928, resulting in the first Tulip Time event in 1929 that featured 100,000 tulip bulbs. Today, Tulip Time has grown to be a ten-day extravaganza with more than six million bulbs planted and a variety of events from concerts and parades to art and craft shows, dancing and much more.

Tour Festival Highlights

The Tulip Time Festival is more than flowers.  This is a multi-faceted event that has something for everyone from parades and Dutch dance performances to shopping, craft events such as the popular quilt show to National entertainment, cultural performances, talent shows, carnivals and, even a tulip painting party!

  • Tour Highlight --Be welcomed by a sea of 100,000 plus colorful blooms at Windmill Island and Gardens located on the edge of downtown Holland.  On the grounds of the property, visitors will have a perfect photo opportunity in front of an authentic Dutch Windmill named "De Zwaan" (the Swan) that reaches 125 feet from the ground to the top blades. A highlight of the visit will be a special tour by a costumed guide of the property's 36 acres of colorful gardens, dikes, canals, and the Post House that is an exact replica of a 14th-century wayside inn. Take a spin on the carousel, and don't miss the stone ground flour from the windmill in the gift shop
  • Tour Highlight - A tour of Nelis Dutch Village is a little piece of the Netherlands in Michigan that will bring visitors back to a gentler time.  This charming complex consists of ten scenic acres of authentic Dutch architecture, canals, and dancers. Here you will enjoy the Klompen dancers, music from the Amsterdam Street Organ, a carousel, carillon bells, and, of course, tulips!  If you are a shopper, this is a great place to find everything Dutch -- from heirloom souvenirs and gifts, to food, artwork, and high-quality crafts.  

  • Tour Highlight - In the evening, the fun continues at the New Odyssey Dinner Show.  Haworth Inn's chef will create an incredible dinner to kick off the evening that will be followed by a dynamic performance by three ultra-talented musicians that will entertain you with thirty different musical instruments!

  • Tour Highlight -Tours of Distinction understands how important free time is on a vacation and the Holland Tulip Festival tour balances the perfect amount of free time to explore on your own with escorted tours and local adventures.

Did You Know?

This year, more than six million tulips will be planted and in bloom at the Tulip Time Festival in Holland Michigan. There are 150 species of tulips, with over 3,000 varieties including 75 wild species. Tulips with their flower buds known for their symmetrical beauty are categorized into fifteen different groups that are differentiated by their size and petal shape.  Here are a few interesting tulip tips!

  • Most tulips sprout a single flower bud, although a few varieties have four flowers on a single stem.
  • Tulips are native to central Asia eventually making their way to Turkey, and then to the Netherlands where this fabulous blossom really took prominence.
  • Tulips are part of the lily family.
  • Tulips only bloom for three to seven days in the spring and can be found in almost every color except blue.
  • Tulips have a wide variety of meanings, with each color symbolizing something different. In general, tulips are said to symbolize love and signal spring's arrival. Red tulips represent true love, white tulips say "I'm sorry," and purple tulips symbolize royalty. 
  • Tulips are edible!  In WWII tulip bread was eaten by those who could not afford other foods.
  • Today the Netherlands is still the world's main grower of commercially sold tulips, producing as many as three billion bulbs for export. 

Additional Tour Highlights

The Holland Tulip Festival Tour offered by Tours of Distinction from May 8-May 15, 2018  features three nights in Holland Michigan. The tour also includes visits to the Rock 'N Roll Hall of Fame, Greenfield Village and the Henry Ford Museum, Cranbrook House and Gardens, Niagara Falls and a wine tasting at Ventosa New York State Vineyard. A total of fourteen meals are included" seven breakfasts, one lunch, and six dinners in addition to a Tours of Distinction Professional Tour Director.