This past weekend was the cherry blossom festival in D.C. and, since we live a short 2 hours south, my sister and I decided to head up north to see the event. Finally, after a few weeks of delay due to lingering winter weather, they finally proclaimed this past weekend the trees would be a peak bloom. Yay for us! We timed it well.
Or maybe not.
And, having driven to/around/through D.C. a few times, I know that I-95 can get ridiculously congested around D.C. Soooo, knowing this was peak bloom weekend, and that Sunday was predicted to be better weather than Saturday, AND that more people would opt to visit on Sunday, we (brilliantly) decided to leave Richmond super early (7:30a) so we could get there before the crowds arrived, take our pictures, and be back on the road home by 12 noon.
Yeeeaaaah, it didn’t go to plan. It turns out that, not only was it peak bloom weekend, it was also the Cherry Blossom 10K race around the Tidal Basin (exactly where most of the Cherry Blossom trees are located). Our “brilliant” timing put us into D.C. and on the Capital right as the race was ending. The streets were still closed which meant we couldn’t find a way across to get to the Basin. When we finally did, most of the racers were done as well, had found their families and headed to the Basin themselves. Yup, by the time we arrived at the Basin so had the entire racing corp.
But it was worth it all. The cherry blossoms were indeed in peak bloom. They say they symbolize clouds since they bloom en masse and they looked just like that.
Things to know before you go…
1.Avoid race day. The city closes all the main streets around the Tidal Basin and there are not a lot of ways to get past the race streets. You’ll just have to wait it out.
2. An alternative would be to go see the Cherry Blossom trees around the Washington Monument and Reflecting Pool. Most articles and photos focus on the trees around the Jefferson Memorial but there are just as many in the other areas of the National Mall.
3. Want to experience the Cherry Blossoms effect but can’t get to D.C.? Try Macon, Georgia. Yes, that’s right, Macon, GA. The city has the distinct privilege of being the Cherry Blossom Capital of the World. With nearly 350,000 Yoshino (aka Cherry Blossom) trees, it has more than D.C. and Japan.