Week 18: Stop and Smell the Flowers

 

Get off the freeway, stop and enjoy the colorful gift that nature provides at the Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch. I remember back when I was a little girl and my family drove south on the 5 freeway to visit relatives in San Diego. I would look out the car window in awe at the rainbow of colors whenever we passed by the flower fields. I thought to myself one day I will stop and visit.

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That day arrived this past weekend. After last week’s disappointing non-flight, I decided to do something easy breezy. And what girl doesn’t like to be surrounded by flowers. (Well, I like flowers – hint, hint to any potential suitors). Now that I actually live in San Diego, it’s become one of those things when you live someplace you don’t always enjoy what is offered in your area. That’s partially what I am trying to fix via this 50 Weeks to 50 blog.

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My friend Gigi same thing, gone by, but never into the fields. So off we went during a glorious blue sky filled, light breezy winter day in San Diego (it was still officially winter). One of those days where I really wished I drove a convertible. After a short lunch stop at one of my favorite seafood joints, Pelly’s in Carlsbad, we arrived at the Flower Fields. I will say I think it’s a little sad that now the view of the fields are partially covered by the outlet stores, why must we take away from simple pleasures…

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Once in, you are immediately infused with color. We decide to take the old-fashioned tractor pulled wagon ride to the north fields that were in full bloom, and get a full overview of the place. Over 50 acres are dedicated to growing the Tecolote Giant Ranunculus, where the flowers are either cut for sale or their bulbs are later harvested also for sale. I would love to have even a smidgen of color like what I was seeing in my yard. Maybe the UC Garden Club folks can help me out?

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What a beautiful ride. Not only did you see a rainbow of flowers, but the clear blues of the Pacific Ocean below and the skies above were picturesque, this is why we live where we do — and we really must take advantage of our locale. At the wagon stop, we got out to walk amongst the flowers. The pictures do not capture the splendor. Yes, they are planted on purpose, not wildflowers, but what human creativity and nature combined can create – it’s art.

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I wanted to run into the middle of the flower fields and play hide’n’seek like a little girl playing in the park, but guests are kept to certain photo spots and the outer edges. It was bad enough I almost fell backwards onto some flowers while posing for a photo, luckily I fell forwards. Always the klutz that I am. We walked up a short hill to get a better viewpoint. Ahhh, we could have sat there for hours, the calmness of the floral surroundings was mesmerizing.

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All around you, rows of purple, red, pink, white, orange, yellow. The hills are alive, with the colors of the rainbow…you really don’t want to hear me sing. Next time I will bring a picnic lunch so I have a reason to sit and enjoy for a longer time.

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After we are done looking in awe, we get back on the wagon and continue to gaze at the fields, passing by the U.S. flower flag (hard angle for pictures). Once back it was time for a snack – well the ice cream stand was right there and it was hard to resist. With ice cream cones in hand we went to explore the rest of the Flower Fields. Oh yes, there’s more to it than the fields themselves. They have done an excellent job of creating it into a family excursion.

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Remember Santa’s Village at Lake Arrowhead? A couple of those structures were moved here as part of the children’s playground. Then there’s the Paul Ecke Poinsettia display, a sweet pea maze (which we successfully completed), mining, and other inspirational gardens. Looking around will provide the gardener in each of us lots of inspiration. Cleverly, there’s an Armstrong Garden Center onsite, where you can also buy cut ranunculus to take home. My souvenir for the day.

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The rest of the season (this year they are open until May 11), many other special events are planned ranging from musical events to arts & crafts shows. So if you’ve driven by the Flower Fields and always wanted to go, get off the freeway and spend a lovely afternoon stopping to smell the flowers.

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And if you’re going to the Flower Fields, you might as well go pick strawberries. I’ve taken the kids to Legoland plenty of times during our season pass days, and never have we stopped to pick strawberries. As kids they did go strawberry picking during field trips to the now closed Bell Gardens, but we never did on our own. What the heck. We were in the neighborhood, so a few minutes away we had our big bucket to fill with strawberries. It didn’t take long to find ready to eat (but wash first) juicy red strawberries. Love these food souvenirs!

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Notebook:

The Flower Fields, Palomar Airport Road exit east, left at Paseo del Norte and you’re there, www.theflowerfields.com, open daily 9:00am to 6:00pm, $12 adult, $11 seniors, $6 kids ages 3-10, AAA discount and season passes available. This season the Flower Fields are open through May 11 with many special events scheduled for the weekends – check the website for more details.

Carlsbad U-Pick Strawberries, Cannon Road exit on the way to Legoland, www.carlsbadstrawberrycompany.com, $10 small bucket, $20 large bucket (get the large – you can share)

Pelly’s Fish Market & Cafe, 7110 Avenida Encinas #101 (next to Subway), Carlsbad, www.pellysfishmarket.com, excellent fish tacos, this time I had lobster tacos, yummy!