Our guide to the best hotels, restaurants and attractions
The residents of Pella, Iowa, will celebrate a lot more than flowers when Tulip Time, the community’s annual tulip festival, is held May 4-6. The weekend-long event primarily pays tribute to Pella’s Dutch heritage. Pella will come alive with parades, music, dancing, crafts and plenty of delicacies to appease your hunger, in addition to thousands of blooms. For a full schedule of events and tickets, visit pellahistorical.org.
Pella is one of Iowa’s most visited small towns because of its Old-World charm, which includes the Pella Historical Village on Franklin Street, where visitors can watch craft demonstrations such as Dutch cookie-making, wooden-shoe manufacturing and blacksmithing. Also, the Vermeer windmill and the miniature Dutch village are particularly photogenic. Stroll past the downtown square to see the 65-foot tall Tulip Toren. Next, head to the Klokkenspel, an animated musical clock featuring mechanical figures. Also in this area you’ll find the Molengracht, or “mill canal” plaza, which features an Old World-style drawbridge and canal.
Where to Dine
Local Organization Meals
Some of the best meals will be prepared by local residents and served at three different locations: a Dutch lunch followed by afternoon coffee time at the Memorial Building, a Dutch dinner and show at Central College, and supper at Trinity Reformed Church. Check pellahistorical.org for times and locations.
Maria’s Tea Room
Serving locally produced food from Pella’s bakeries, meat markets and chocolate makers at the Scholte House. During Tulip Time, seatings are at 9 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. and will be by reservation only. firstname.lastname@example.org, 641-620-9463
Many food items can be purchased right on the street from vendors serving everything from funnel cakes and burgers to Dutch festival favorites like poffertjes (mini sweet pancakes), Pella Bologna on a Stick, Stroopwafels (two waffle cookies sandwiching a hot caramel-molasses filling), and vet bollen (hot raisin doughnuts).
Where to Stay
Accommodations will be tight during Tulip Time. There are several national chain motels in Pella. Other options can be found in nearby communities such as Oskaloosa, Grinnell or Ottumwa. Or you can try your luck at a couple of Pella’s bed and breakfast inns.
The Cheesemaker’s Inn
A former dairy farm is the setting for this secluded B&B, just a few minutes drive out of Pella. Contemporary amenities. Rooms from $125/night.
420 Idaho Dr., 641-628-1448
The Dwelling Place
This craftsman-style B&B inn is a three-minute walk from the town center. Rooms from $125/night.
935 Main St., 641-660-4962