Take a trip: Visiting Pella before Tulip Time
🌷 Linh here. I am 0% Dutch but 100% intrigued by Pella.
Driving the news: The city's Tulip Time festival from May 4-6 can attract more than 150,000 people.
- I stopped for a day trip this week to see the blooms before the crowds.
State of play: Pella was founded by Dutch immigrants fleeing religious persecution in the 1800s. Today, it's known for maintaining its Dutch heritage and aesthetic.
- The Wal-Mart is painted green.
- There are at least 27 churches for 10,000 people.
- And it has probably the only old-timey Anytime Fitness and H&R Block in the world.
Yes, but: It's also known for more modern amenities, especially as the home of major employers like Vermeer and Pella Corp.
- Fiber internet is a city utility. And the local bar's Bloody Mary earned praise from the Food Network.
My goal: I wanted to see the rare "nightmare" black tulip, which is so special that even the employee at the visitor center didn't know where it was planted to help thwart thieves.
- While "nightmare" wasn't blooming yet, I was still happy with how many tulips were already in full color.
What I ate: Even on a Wednesday, I waited for about 15 minutes to get baked goods from Jaarsma Bakery. (The wait during Tulip Time after 10am is an hour.)
- I got a dutch letter, cream puff, cookie and a dozen almond sticks for under $10.
For lunch, I stopped by Liberty Street Kitchen, operated by the same people who own Centro and Django in Des Moines.
- I ate a stellar cheesesteak sandwich and fries made in beef fat ($15).
The best part of the trip: Every excursion was walkable and relaxed.
- If you're busy during Tulip Time but want to see the flowers, consider making a trip this weekend or next.
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