First, you can learn more about Windmill Island here.
I'll start by showing a variety of tulips:
Tulips come and go, but to me, the star of Windmill Island is this structure, the reason for the island's name:
I have read tourism brochures from other communities around the country that tout their reproduction windmills built to honor local ethnic groups. However, our windmill is the real deal - it was taken apart in the Netherlands, shipped over here, then reassembled. You can see how large it is by noting the people at the bottom left-hand side of the photo. The Netherlands, now rightly recognizing that their old windmills are national treasures, no longer allows their dispersal.
Here's a couple more angles as I got closer:
Tours of the mill are offered but as I had already done so in the past, I declined to take one today. The tour guide was pleased that I, a local, had been on the tour. "There are people who live here but have never been to Windmill Island", she informed me. I told her that was silly, as the windmill is very unique. I love its history and it's a cool-looking structure to boot! Like I said, it's the real deal.
Besides the windmill, many other features of Windmill Island promote Dutch history, such as this:
A gift shop that replicates older-style Dutch architecture.
Photos of the Little Netherlands display follow:
I'm a sucker for these scale-model set-ups; I love looking at all the details, which, as you can see from my pictures, range from boats, cheese sellers, pasture and more. Overall, the size of the entire display equals that of the big model railroad displays one sometimes sees in museums and in mall exhibits.
Close to the Little Netherlands is another example of artistry to a high degree:
An overview of the carousel, followed by a close-up of some of the steeds:
As fun as these animals are, what really appealed to me are the hand-painted panels encircling the inner section of the carousel; they had been redone several years ago by a local woman and she had done a wonderful job! You'll see what I mean by the following photos:
There are more panels from this carousel, but I hope you get the idea of how charming these are! As with the Little Netherlands display, I really enjoyed seeing all the details.
Another ode to the "real Holland":
These are some of the flags from Dutch provinces, with the signs near the bottoms of the flagpoles identifying each province. Several of these provincial names were used to name towns around here as well.
One last bit of Dutch history to show:
An old-fashioned organ, a gift from the Netherlands. It still is played at intervals throughout the day on Windmill Island and has a lovely sound.
I hope that if you don't live here, you enjoyed my little tour of Windmill Island! However, if you live in this area and, as the tour guide had commented, have never been here, then I say you owe it yourself to come see the natural and man-made artistry in person!