The cherry blossom festival in Washington, D.C., is something I’ve been hanging out to visit since we first arrived in New York last June…and it finally happened last weekend! I’ve heard that the DC festival is the largest sakura festival outside Japan, and it certainly was beyond anything I had imagined. The stretch of Yoshino cherries along the Tidal Basin was absolutely breathtaking, and the atmosphere of springtime celebration was intoxicating. Everyone just seemed so excited to be out enjoying the beautiful weather (we had magical springtime weather while we were there) and rejoicing in the beauty of nature. We hired some city bikes and rode them through the trees – it was like a fairytale! We managed to time it perfectly as well (I was glued to that blossom cam!) so that the trees were in peak bloom during our short 2-day visit.
It wasn’t just the Tidal Basin stretch that was incredible, though – the whole city was in full bloom, with various species of cherry and other fruit trees blossoming on every street, and daffodils, tulips, crocuses, hellebores, forsythia and all sorts of other spring beauties bursting out everywhere we looked. It was the magnolias that really impressed me, though – we don’t see that many of the deciduous varieties in Australia so I was completely awe-struck by how incredibly beautiful the saucer and star magnolias were, covered in their enormous pinkish-white blooms.
We stayed with the parents of a friend of ours from Perth, who were incredibly generous with their home and their time, and gave us amazing tours of Alexandria, the beautiful and historic area where they live (which, although sort of a suburb of DC, is technically in Virginia). Of course we also did plenty of things like visiting the many incredibly (and free) museums and art galleries in DC, and of course all those important sights like, oh you know, the White House and the Capitol…but who am I kidding? It was all about the blossoms for me!