Walking among the Cherry Trees

Washington Travel Blog

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Cherry Blossoms

I have lived in this area for a long time, but have never gone into Washington D.C. this time of year to see the cherry trees in full bloom during the Cherry Blossom Festival. Today the weather is going to be sunny, warm but very windy. Tomorrow is going to be even nicer, but the annual Cherry Blossom 10k race is tomorrow, so the crowds and traffic will be even worse in and around the D.C. area.

There will be four of us making the trip into Washington D.C. today, my wife Lena (bwitch16), my daughter Courtnie (Roguefairy13) and her boyfriend Joe and me.

The long line outside the New Carrollton Metro Station
I woke up around 7:00am and after a shower, started breakfast. As always, I turned on some hard rock/metal music to get me going! Joe was sleeping on the couch in the living room, so thanks to me, he was the first one up, then Lena and Courtnie came down to eat. After a big breakfast with omelets, bacon, sausage and biscuits, we cleaned up the kitchen and were ready to drive to the Metro Station (Washington D.C.'s subway system) to catch the train into Washington D.C. The closest station to Annapolis is the New Carrollton Station, about a 30 minute drive (at 70/80 mile per hour) away. This is also a Amtrac Train Station and a Greyhound Bus Station.

Once we arrived at the New Carrollton Station and parked (free on the weekends) we stood in the very long line to get to one of the many ticket machines inside the station.

10 miutes later, we are this close!
If you already had a Metro Pass (for those that use it daily) there was no need to stand in line. I knew it would be crowded, but I wasn't expecting this! The line did move quickly though, and soon we were at one of the faircard machines. We decided to get day passes for the four of us, instead of the standard faircard. The difference between the two were, a day pass is good for the entire day until the trains stop running, a faircard is only good for the amount you put on it. You can add more if needed, but the price from the New Carrollton Station to the station closest to the Tidal Basin where the chery trees are, the Smithsonian Station, was $6.50 round trip. The price of the day pass is $7.80, and since we planned on going to another part of D.C. for lunch, it made since to get the day pass. With passes in hand, we went up to the platform and boarded the Metro train and we were soon off to D.
Courtnie & Joe on the National Mall with the Washington Monument in the background.
C. The trip on the Metro took about 40 minutes, and once at the Smithsonian Station, we made our way up to the street level and started the 15 minute walk toward the Tidal Basin, passing the Washington Monument on the way. The weather was beautiful, a bit windy, but still very nice!

Here is a little history about the cherry trees and the festival: 1910 is when the first 2000 cherry trees arrived in Washington D.C. from Japan. But,  to everyone's dismay, an inspection team from the Department of Agriculture discovered that the trees were infested with insects and were diseased and had to be destroyed.

The Washington Monument
The National Cherry Blossom Festival annually commemorates the 1912 gift of 3,000 new cherry trees from Mayor Yukio Ozaki of Tokyo to the city of Washington. In a simple ceremony on March 27, 1912, First Lady Helen Herron Taft and Viscountess Chinda, wife of the Japanese ambassador, planted the first two trees from Japan on the north bank of the Tidal Basin in West Potomac Park. In 1915, the United States Government reciprocated with a gift of flowering dogwood trees to the people of Japan. A group of American school children reenacted the initial planting in 1927 and the first "festival” was held in 1935, sponsored by civic groups in the Nation’s Capital.
The Jefferson Memorial
First Lady Lady Bird Johnson accepted 3,800 more trees in 1965. In 1981, the cycle of giving came full circle. Japanese horticulturists were given cuttings from our trees to replace some cherry trees in Japan which had been destroyed in a flood.

During our 2 mile walk around the Tidal Basin among all the beautiful cherry trees in full bloom, we stopped for a visit to the Jefferson Memorial, which we have never been to before, and Lena's favorite memorials in D.C. There was a stage set up just in front of the memorial with a band playing. We checked out the memorial, and the band for a bit, then continued our walk. Along the way, we found the Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial, which I did not know was here. What a pleasant surprise! This is a beautiful and tranquil area with many waterfalls, statues and quotes spread over 7.

Cherry Blossoms
5 acres along the Tidal Basin. This is a memorial not only to FDR for leading the United States through the Great Depression during the 1930's and World War II, but also to the era he represents. The memorial traces twelve years of American History through a sequence of four outdoor rooms-each one devoted to one of FDR's terms of office. I'm sure we will come back to this area again to enjoy it's peaceful setting, only when there are less people here :)

Once we completed our walk all the way around the Tidal basin, we were ready for lunch. As we made our way back to the Smithsonian Metro Station, we found masses of people everywhere! Holy crap!! There must be a million people here!! It was crazy how many people were here now! We eventually made our way to the down side of the Smithsonian Station, only to find it was temporarily closed because of all the people trying to use the station.

Me and Lena during our walk around the Tidal Basin
A Metro employee and a Metro Police officer were standing at the top of the escalators, which were turned off, only letting so many people down to the platform at a time. As soon as the platform would clear out, they would let another group of people down. We finally got down to the platform and boarded the train. With one transfer to the Green Line, 10 minutes later we were at the U Street/African American Civil War Memorial/Cardozo Station. Here we got off the train and walked up to the street to find Ben's Chili Bowl right across the street! I have wanted to go here for some time, and now we were here!!

After a great lunch, it was about 3:30pm and Lena and I were ready to call it a day. Courtnie and Joe wanted to go back to the National Mall and meet up with some friends of theirs, so I suggested they go, and I would pick them up at the New Carrollton Station when they were done. Courtnie was very hesitant at first, but we finally convinced her to go.

The Jefferson Memorial
I felt like a father bird pushing his young out of the nest and saying, fly, be free! hahaha. They had a cell phone, maps of the city, and day passes, so they shouldn't have any trouble getting around D.C. on thier own.

We all headed to the Metro Station and rode together for a few stops before we split up. Lena and I arrived back at the New Carrollton Station, and made the drive home by 5:00pm. I was still full from our late lunch, so we just relaxed, actually Lena took a nap and I started on this blog :)

Around 6:30pm Courtnie called me and said they were headed to the Metro Station to come back to New Carrollton. I arrived at the New Carrollton Station just before their train arrived, so the timing was perfect. I meet them inside the station by the faircard machines, and as we were leaving the station, I noticed a couple getting ready to buy faircards.

Joe & Courtnie during our walk around the Tidal Basin
 I approached them and gave them our day passes. Since they were still good for the rest of the day, I figured they might as well make use of them since we were headed home. That was my good deed for the day, hope they had a good time in D.C. :)

This was a great day, and I highly recommend anyone thinking of visiting Washington D.C. to visit this time of year! The blossoms are not around very long, so check the web site and if you time it right, you'll really enjoy the beauty of these trees, dispite the crowds. Here's the link to the National Cherry Blossom Festival site: http://nationalcherryblossomfestival.org/cms/index.php?id=390

Let us know when you come to visit. We would love to show you around, or help in any way we can :]

Safe travels to you all,

Mark & Lena

 

amudha_colaco says:
Gonna brave the crowds this year and hit Washington D.C during the Cherry blossom festival. Excited.
Posted on: Mar 10, 2013
Larrys says:
Mark, great blog and the pics bring back some wonderful memories. The only time I saw more people than this was on July 4th after the fireworks ended. The metro was a mad house. People just stuffed into trains. Crazy.:)
Posted on: May 28, 2009
marksreynolds says:
Thank you so much! Glad you enjoyed them :)
Posted on: May 04, 2009
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Cherry Blossoms
Cherry Blossoms
The long line outside the New Carr…
The long line outside the New Car…
10 miutes later, we are this close!
10 miutes later, we are this close!
Courtnie & Joe on the National Mal…
Courtnie & Joe on the National Ma…
The Washington Monument
The Washington Monument
The Jefferson Memorial
The Jefferson Memorial
Cherry Blossoms
Cherry Blossoms
Me and Lena during our walk around…
Me and Lena during our walk aroun…
The Jefferson Memorial
The Jefferson Memorial
Joe & Courtnie during our walk aro…
Joe & Courtnie during our walk ar…
Me and Lena during our walk around…
Me and Lena during our walk aroun…
The Jefferson Memorial
The Jefferson Memorial
Joe & Courtnie during our walk aro…
Joe & Courtnie during our walk ar…
The Jefferson Memorial
The Jefferson Memorial
The Jefferson Memorial
The Jefferson Memorial
Lena at The Jefferson Memorial
Lena at The Jefferson Memorial
Looking out towards the Tidal Basi…
Looking out towards the Tidal Bas…
The Jefferson Memorial
The Jefferson Memorial
Inside The Jefferson Memorial
Inside The Jefferson Memorial
Lena, Joe & Courtnie inside The Je…
Lena, Joe & Courtnie inside The J…
Lena, Courtnie and me inside The J…
Lena, Courtnie and me inside The …
Inside The Jefferson Memorial
Inside The Jefferson Memorial
Courtnie outside The Jefferson Mem…
Courtnie outside The Jefferson Me…
The band playing outside The Jeffe…
The band playing outside The Jeff…
Inside The Jefferson Memorial
Inside The Jefferson Memorial
The Jefferson Memorial
The Jefferson Memorial
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Cherry Blossoms
Cherry Blossoms
Cherry Blossoms
Me & Lena during our walk around t…
Me & Lena during our walk around …
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Lena kissing me during our walk a…
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The Washington Monument as seen f…
Lena during our walk around the Ti…
Lena during our walk around the T…
Lena during our walk around the Ti…
Lena during our walk around the T…
FDR Memorial
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Inside the Franklin Delano Roosev…
Inside the Franklin Delano Rooseve…
Inside the Franklin Delano Roosev…
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Inside the Franklin Delano Roosev…
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Courtnie with Elenor Roosevelt in…
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Inside the Franklin Delano Roosev…
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Courtnie with FDR's dog Fala insi…
Lena with FDRs dog Fala inside th…
Lena with FDR's dog Fala inside t…
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Inside the Franklin Delano Roosev…
Small waterfall inside the Frankli…
Small waterfall inside the Frankl…
Large nwaterfall inside the Frankl…
Large nwaterfall inside the Frank…
Me inside the FDR Memorial
Me inside the FDR Memorial
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The Jefferson Memorial as seen fr…
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People enjoying the day on the Ti…
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Ducks in the Tidal Basin
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