Traveling to Amsterdam isn’t on our calendar this year but we couldn’t resist driving to Holland, Michigan for tulip time. We talked about going for years and decided the time was right this April. Our tulips were out and the weather was sunny and dry for a few days and we hoped the same was true on the west side of the state.

Holland has a Tulip Time Festival for a week each spring.  This year it is May 6-14 so it is going on right now.  You can get information about all the activities at  We decided to go before the festival for a more low key trip. I’m glad we did because the tulips seemed to be at their peak.

Our hotel was an easy 5-10 minute drive to the downtown area but I did see several hotels right downtown that I would check out the next time we go. The downtown has many restaurants, stores, parks, coffee shops, and pubs. We particularly enjoyed our seafood dinner at Curragh Irish Pub. My blackened salmon, mashed potatoes and mixed vegetables were delicious as were the scallops with pasta that Joe enjoyed. It was warm enough to eat outside in their large patio. Open tables were scarce that evening.

Besides the downtown area we visited two other must sees. The first was Veldheer Tulip Gardens/DeKlomp Wooden Shoe & Delft Factory on Quincy Street. You can walk around their fields of tulips and choose the ones you like the best.  You can then place an order for those particular bulbs. They are mailed to you in time to be planted in the fall. I did buy 20 gladioli bulbs to plant this spring.

Oh, did I forget to mention they have buffalo!

When we travel I always ask the locals what to do and see. The sales women who helped us find a book at Reader’s World in downtown Holland asked if we had been to Windmill Island yet. We hadn’t so she suggested we visit the next morning. She volunteers there and  when we arrive the next day we didn’t recognize her. Can you blame us?!

She was able to give our group the tour of the DeZaan Windmill which is America’s only authentic, working Dutch windmill. You can watch a short video at the welcome center which explains the history of how the windmill was brought from Vinkel, Holland.  We got some more history and learned how a windmill actually operates on the tour. It is truly fascinating. We met the woman expert  who operates the windmill and grinds the wheat and bran flour.

 We also got to walk on the outside ledge by the blades. It was an extremely windy day which certainly was appropriate for windmill touring! At the end of the tour I was able to buy whole wheat flour and bran flour ground at this windmill. I have made several batches of bran muffins already.

It was a short visit. I know there is more to see and do but when you travel with vamos Ramos it’s a whirlwind tour. Anyway, another check has been added to our bucket list. Makes me want to put tulip time in Amsterdam on our calendar for next year!