The schedule of events was enticing but we were in the mood for a leisurely holiday. So the first order of business was to get a great car! We were looking for a car which had at least 300 HP and had to have the fancy auto parking facility (not that we were bad parkers, but for curiosity). We finally settled for the Cadillac XTS from National Car Service. We booked the car via expedia so that we could save on the insurance. Insurance is one of those goofy things in the US, I have my own car insurance, but the rules are vague and convoluted so I decided to use the CDW on my chase freedom card. That said, my fellow travelers felt it would be the least hassle to pay $9 for the insurance and have complete peace of mind. We did just that, booked via expedia and used their insurance offering, with my regular insurance as secondary and credit card as tertiary. Yes it was insurance overkill; but we were in the United States of America, the land of stupid lawsuits and laws that laid side by side could circle the equator multiple times over. We weren’t taking chances.
Once the car was booked we awoke the next day at 6:30 AM CT for the drive to the airport. We parked my car in long term parking and went to the national counter to pick the XTS. It was a beautiful machine, super spacious and with a beast under the hood. To be specific a 3.6L 410 HP Twin Turbo direct-injection V6 beast!
Getting the keys and driving out of the lot probably took all of 4 minutes, since I was a member and had booked everything online. Ah the joys of IT!
Now what were we looking forward to ? The schedule below should give you an idea.
Schedule : http://www.pellahistorical.org/?page_id=16
As you see there was a lot to see and do!
I love driving and we started off about 7:30 AM, stopping by the lakeville McDonalds for some Big Breakfast. With a song in our hearts and contentment in our stomachs we marched forth!
Miles and miles and miles (you get the idea) of asphalt and farms made for a fairly straight forward drive. And by straight forward, it was dead straight! (See map)
We stopped at Story City primarily because it was called Story City.
At Story City for a coffee run
With our dosage of caffeine safely swimming in our blood stream we continued on a state highway to Pella. Pella greeted us with the billboard for Pella Corporation, my mind secretly thinking it was a CIA facility for surveillance; they however make doors and windows; my conspiracy theories aside, we had reached Pella!
The Pella Historical Village
As you can see, we weren’t disappointed! The town is simple and extremely beautiful. And there were so many people and so many flowers! The Tulips were all kinds of shades and each more beautiful than the next! As I mentioned before, the annual Tulip Time Festival is a celebration of Pella’s Dutch heritage. It features tulip gardens, performances, crafters, music, food, Dutch costumes, and daily parades. The festival is held for three days (Thursday, Friday & Saturday) during the first weekend in May. A queen and court are selected from the two high schools in the town to represent Pella and advertise the Festival. During the 2010 Festival a worlds record was set for the most people dancing in wooden shoes. Over 2,600 people danced for more than six minutes to set the new standard.
Tulips are a big deal here.
The Molengracht Plaza shown above is located in Pella’s central business district and was built to replicate an authentic Dutch canal and is over 100,000 square feet. The better of two worlds, the Molengracht complex combines a 21st century entrepreneurial spirit with Old World charm. The Molengracht’s Grand Opening took place in January of 2001 and has grown to include retail shopping, entertainment, casual & fine dining, business offices, residential condominiums, retail/office space for lease and an authentic canal and working drawbridge. The Molengracht buildings open onto an attractive plaza featuring a Dutch-Style canal and fragrant flower pots.
The Parade at the Pella Tulip Festival
Dutch Descendants and their families
The Central Park at Pella, IA