Festival of Spring at Burnside Farms

Over Easter weekend in early April, V and I went to the Festival of Spring at Burnside Farms in Nokesville, Virginia. Located less than 90 minutes from our home in Alexandria, the farm has planted 70 acres of tulips and daffodils every spring since 2012. Tickets can be difficult to come by, as peak bloom is unpredictable and most of the short three-week season’s tickets are snapped up as soon as they are announced. Other than a summer sunflower festival and Christmas tree farm sales in winter, Burnside Farms is more or less closed to the public.

I really wanted to go see the tulips last year, but didn’t hear about it until it was too late; we also lived in northern Virginia 2009-2015, but I don’t remember hearing about it back then, either. I even forgot to sign up for the email notifications alerting of ticket availability. But luckily, I was scrolling through social media one morning last month when I suddenly realized the festival was happening. Instead of missing it again, this time I lucked into day-of tickets and we got our chance to go. It kind of reminded me of tulip festivals we went to during our diplomatic assignment to Australia in 2017 (Floriade and Night Fest) and 2018 during my dad and stepmom’s visit (Floriade and Tulip Top Gardens).

Me at Burnside Farms, Nokesville, VA ~ April 2023

Photo: Dawn Crothers 2022 photo of Burnside Farms via the “Exploring Virginia” Facebook group page

Burnside Farms plants 150 varieties of tulips and 30 varieties of daffodils for visitors to enjoy. Tickets are a little steep at $31.00 per person (plus a $1.50 processing fee), but include five stems per person (as selected and plucked by you). If you want additional stems, tulips are $1.00 each and daffodils are 50 cents each. If you’d like to take tulip bulbs home, those are an extra dollar apiece. If you pick a stem and a bulb comes up too, and you don’t want it, you can leave it in the barrel at the exit. But obviously, you aren’t supposed to pick and then discard flowers; you only pick what you want. To my annoyance, I saw at least one unsupervised child who didn’t get this, but it didn’t seem to be a widespread issue.

In my mind, cash is always king. But in a sign of the times, the farm does not perform cash transactions; you’d be wise to bring a credit or debit card.

My shot of tulips at Burnside Farms

Photo: Samantha Popa via the “Exploring Virginia” Facebook group page

A very limited number of what the farm calls “annual passports” are also for sale for $70.00 apiece. The passport holder is permitted multiple visits both during the spring festival and the summer sunflower showings, along with stems on each visit and discounted merchandise. I assume the passports were sold out long before I happened upon our day-of tickets.

I was mesmerized by the colorful mix of tulips

There are picnic tables and a kids’ play area near a large dairy barn. On the field report section of the farm’s website is an oft-updated list of food trucks present in case you aren’t inclined to pack your own picnic. There are porta-potties for bathroom facilities.

V contemplates the perfect pick

Photo: Ashley Brooke via the “Exploring Virginia” Facebook group page

Apparently there’s also a short film to see in the barn, and activities like cornhole games and hop-on, hop-off wagons in the field, but this didn’t totally register with us while we were there.

Photo: Kelly Christine via the “Exploring Virginia” Facebook group page

The farm provides picking baskets to collect your stems and bulbs. The flowers cover a fairly large territory, as I mentioned, and the ground can be muddy and uneven. But it was easy for us to walk around and gape at all the gorgeous flowers. Harder was getting the perfect shots with my phone, and hardest of all was picking which five tulips I wanted!

I was a little worried initially that so many flowers would be picked before we got there that it would affect the views, but that did not seem to be the case. The farm is absolutely enormous with flowers as far as you can see. And as long as you enter within your timed ticket entry window, you are permitted to stay as long as you like until closing. For us, 75 minutes or so was enough, especially after we started picking flowers and wanted to get them home into water. But I could easily see staying there a couple hours, particularly for walkers and those with kids who want to play.

Collage of the tulips we selected and brought home. We also brought home a handful of bulbs to plant in our yard!

It was a little hard to try and get stems with a bulb attached, despite our best efforts. We soon gave up trying to select any particular bulbs and just bought the ones we ended up with.

This was a great little afternoon trip and I highly recommend it. Even if you aren’t a flower aficionado, seeing the whole farm and all the care and attention given to this beautiful place was calming and lovely. As a bonus, I unknowingly dropped one of my favorite discontinued lipsticks on the ground in the parking lot, and V spotted it laying in the gravel and pointed it out as we returned to the truck. It wasn’t even run over! Very lucky! All in all a great day and Virginia is a great place to live.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Sarah W Gaer

Author, Speaker, Thought Leader

The Dark Passport

A record of worldwide travel

Train to TBD

American expat life in Switzerland

Diplomatic Briefing

Your exclusive news aggregator handpicked daily!

What's Up With Tianna?

A Millennial's Musings of the World.

Life in a State of Wanderlust

"Not all those who wander are lost..." --J.R.R. Tolkien


Traveling Fashion Designers 🌼

Adventures With Aia:

A senior project travel blog

hello stranger

stories on adventure, and travel, and real life


Stories from a mid-west girl in Macedonia

Nina Boe in the Balkans

This blog does not represent the US government, Peace Corps, or people of North Macedonia.


Live well & Enjoy.

Den's Blog

This is what life is like when you don't do things the easy way.

Audrey is (a)Broad

A Humorous and Factual Repository.

Audrey is (a)Broad

A Humorous and Factual Repository.

Emma & Nathan's Travels

Our worldwide travels beginning in the year 2017

Latitude with Attitude

Exploring the World Diplomatically

try imagining a place

some stories from a life in the foreign service

Teach Travel Budget

Personal Finance for English Teachers Abroad

The Next Dinner Party

So raise your glass

Bag Full of Rocks

My rocks are the memories from different adventures. I thought I would just leave this bag here.

Carpe Diem Creative

A soulful explorer living an inspired life


Time for adventure

Trailing Spouse Tales

My Life As An Expat Abroad


My thoughts.

Wright Outta Nowhere

Tales from a Serial Expat

from the back of beyond

Detroit --> Angola --> Chile --> Cambodia--> India

anchored . . . for the moment

the doings of the familia Calderón

I Think I'm Going to Like it Here

A little drama every day. ~Dramababyabroad


Wanderings & Wonderings

The Multicultural Marketer

Inclusion Isn't Optional


two humans, one cat, and our lives together in West Africa

travelin' the globe

my travels, my way. currently exploring eswatini and the rest of southern africa as a peace corps volunteer

Collecting Postcards

Foreign Service Officer and Returned Peace Corps Volunteer

a rambling collective

Short Fiction by Nicola Humphreys

Enchanted Forests

This Blog is about discovering the magic of forests in every aspect of life from a small plant in a metropolis to the forests themselves


Chimping around the world!

The Unlikely Diplomat

We travel, some of us forever, to seek other places, other lives, other souls. – Anais Nin

Countdown To Freedom

A blog about health, the keto diet, weight loss, family, relationships, travel & love!

Let's Go Somewhere

A life well-lived around the world.

Cu Placere

Joyce Hooley

%d bloggers like this: