Weeks out of the sunny Southwest make me miss the bright blue skies. I really thought that spring time is all about sunshine, the green grass and cheery speckles of flowers. Maybe not in the East Coast. The past days have been all overcast skies and puddled potholed roads.
Though I think God was on our side when it was all sunshine in our Washington DC visit for the National Cherry Blossom Festival.
Washington DC is a good 4-hour drive (It could’ve been a shorter trip if not for the slower highway speed limits – at least the ones we past, did not exceed 60 MPH) from New Jersey, so if you find yourself in this area in spring time, it is worth a visit. Instead of booking a holiday to Japan for its Sakura festival, this is a cheaper alternative if you live in the East Coast of the US – just rent a car (or even use your own car), fill ‘er up and drive. You could always get a plane ticket if you live further out South or in the West Coast.
The US capital’s center, where all the major monuments and structures are at, is lined with cherry trees which bloom in the spring. Pretty romantic if you ask me, seeing the trees bedecked in pink and white. The window for the cherry blossoms’ bloom is a short one and highly weather dependent, so best to check here before scheduling your trip.
Apart from sitting on a bench, gazing at the marvel of cherry blossoms, you can enjoy a tour of most of the DC monuments coupled with a history lesson from a park ranger. The awesome thing about the tour – apart from picking up curious tidbits like how the Martin Luther King memorial was made by Chinese master sculptor or that the cherry blossom trees are not endemic to Washington DC – is that it is FREE. Yes, you don’t even need to shell out a single cent.
So pack and wear your most comfortable walking shoes because the walking tour with the ranger can last a good hour or two. Apart from the cherry blossoms tour, you are sure to walk a bit more to check out the majestic federal buildings that surround the DC monuments, which are also dotted with cherry blossoms. I love that Washington DC is such walker city (Oh, I’ve learned that Washington DC isn’t really a state)!
Sigh. Looking out the window, louds pregnant with rain and asphalt roads black with moisture, I think I’d love to have another dose of sunshine and cherry blossoms. For now, I’d have to be content looking at them in digital photo form.
Washington DC Cherry Blossom festival
Annual spring time event
Timings subject to weather conditions
that affect cherry blossom bloom