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It's that time of year again when thousands flock to the Skagit Valley, Wash., area to see the amazing tulip fields. We couldn't say no to spending a day at this Pacific Northwest gem. (Sy Bean / Seattle Refined)
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Let's Go Places: Celebrate spring with the Tulip Festival

In Holland during the 1600s, something called "Tulip Mania" crashed the Dutch economy. Tulips and tulip bulbs were actively bought and sold for insanely high prices-they were said to cost 10 times more than a working man's salary, making them more valuable than some homes. But the market took a sudden downfall in 1637, not leaving much for the Dutch.

Luckily for you, nowadays you don't have to go penniless to travel and see the tulip's natural beauty.

The Skagit Valley Tulip Festival celebrates millions of tulips bursting into bloom each year, and this year the flowers are expected to spring above ground during the entire month of April.

From April 1-30, you can attend more than 40 events throughout the Skagit Valley, including art shows, gala celebrations, concerts, tours of local shellfish and cheese operations, and more. The two signature festival gardens, Tulip Town and RoozenGaarde, are ready for tours. And don't miss the expansive fields of tulips that bloom only once a year throughout the Skagit Valley.

The festival is designed as a driving tour, so you'll need an efficient car to get from event to event. That's where the 2017 Toyota Prius Prime comes in.

Voted as the 2017 U.S. best-selling plug-in hybrid for standard midsize sedans, the Prius Prime strikes the perfect balance between elevated efficiency and advanced technology. And the eye-catching style is as exotic and beautiful as a tulip.

More miles with less electricity

With its combined gas and electric capabilities, the Prius Prime has a range of 640 EPA-estimated miles and an average of 54 combined miles per gallon. Even better, the vehicle's charging system is hassle-free. It requires no special equipment at home, just the included easy-to-use cable and standard household outlet. Notably, the 2017 model's electric range is 26 percent more than its predecessor.

Prius Prime also has the innovative technology to gain efficiency while stopping by storing reserved energy into the vehicle's battery and extending the EV Mode driving range. What's more, if the vehicle's battery charge does run out, Prius Prime will seamlessly switch to hybrid mode and use the engine as the primary source of power.

Comfort and convenience

Comfort, convenience, and safety are a priority inside the Prius Prime. Beyond the backup camera and available Intelligent Parking Assist, the interior has an available heated steering wheel and front seats, as well as a JBL Premium Audio system and Qi-compatible wireless smartphone charging. Additionally, its 11.6-inch HD multimedia display is Toyota's most impressive yet. That paired with the Prius Prime's 60/40 split fold-down rear seats help support passengers in almost any adventure.

This vehicle comes equipped with a carbon-fiber-reinforced polymer (a first for Toyota) to make opening and closing the lightweight hatch effortless, along with striking Quad-LED projector headlights and 15-inch aluminum alloy wheels. Specific to the Prius Prime Advanced grade, the model's exterior features include integrated LED fog lights and LED accent lights, along with rain-sensing variable intermittent windshield wipers.

Safety first

Prius Prime comes with more active safety features than any hybrid in its class and is a 2018 IIHS Top Safety Pick. Among the many features is the standard Toyota Safety Senseā„¢ P (TSS-P), which includes Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, Full-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control with full stop technology, Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist, and Automatic High Beams. The Prius Prime Advanced grade also comes with standard Blind Spot Monitor and Rear Cross Traffic Alert.

The Prius Prime Advanced is equipped with the Intelligent Clearance Sonar (ICS) with Intelligent Parking Assist (IPA), which is designed to scan for stationary objects like walls or posts that are within proximity. If Prime anticipates a collision, an audible and visual alert are emitted, engine or motor output reduced, and if needed, the brakes will automatically be applied to help bring the vehicle to a halt.

The 2017 Toyota Prius Prime models start at $27,100 for the Plus model, $28,800 for the Premium model, and $33,100 for the Advanced model.

For more information about this amazing vehicle, visit one of the local Western Washington Toyota Dealers near you today. You can also visit www.buyatoyota.com to read more about the 2017 Prius Prime and to see the interior and exterior pictures.

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