My husband and I decided to take a spur of the moment trip to Washington, DC this weekend to see the infamous cherry blossoms. It just happens to be "peak season" and the 2011 National Cherry Blossom Festival is in full swing! We booked a hotel in Old Town Alexandria, just outside of DC, and decided to take the metro into the city to avoid the hassles of having to drive and park. We were fortunate to have a metro stop about 6 blocks from our hotel, however the metro system did take a bit of figuring out. Special note to all those New Yorkers out there who share subway cards...in DC, each person needs their own card...we found out the hard way! Once we made our way into the city, we set afoot, armed with maps and trusty i-phone apps, to see the blossoms! Now you wouldn't think it wouldn't be that hard to miss the over 3000 blooming trees, however if you are a bit naive like me, let me tell you now, DC is huge! There were crowds of people to follow, and that did help of course, but there is also so much to do and see while you are there, you never really know which crowd is headed where! All joking and complaining aside from all the walking (make note to wear very comfortable shoes!), the trees are truly magnificent to see. They line the entire tidal basin, a 2.1 mile loop. There is also a 4.1 mile river walk where a free shuttle is offered to view some more of the many different species of blooming cherry trees. After seeing so many beautiful trees in one location, I did begin to wonder if there was a reason as to why so many trees of this type were planted in one place. Upon further research I found that the plantings of cherry trees originated in 1912 as gift of friendship to the United States from the people of Japan. Peak bloom dates for this year were estimated for March 29-April 3, however the festival is going on until April 10...so you still have a few days left to catch a glimpse of the fabulous blossoms. If you can't make it this year...next year will mark the 100th annual festival! Also, you can check out this online webcam to catch a glimpse of what the trees look like right now...what will they think of next?
view around the tidal basin
a friend with a friendly reminder!
most of the trees bloom white blossoms...
every once in a while there is a pink one!
it was hard not to stop at a few of the historical sites...
this wall in the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial was quite remarkable
close-up of a panel - the whole wall/column structure
was made of tactile relief panels, including the use of braille
Incase you are wondering what to do after you have had your fill of blossoms, check out the official DC tourism website for plenty of suggestions and ideas. There are more than enough things to do and see, I promise!