Washington, DC: Walk Among the Cherry Blossoms
When you think of spring, what comes to mind? Cherry blossoms maybe? The start of a new year, a new season or maybe, new beginnings? I’ve always tended to wonder why we don’t celebrate the new year on the 1st day of spring, it seems so much more fitting. A new year with the onset of spring daffodils sounds so much more serene than a new year in the dead of winter.
We’ve been trying to see the cherry blossoms in Washington DC for 14 years. Yep. It’s taken us that long. With all of our travels to DC over the years we’ve never timed it right. I thought last year would be the year, since we are now living in Maryland, but as it turned out we were in Europe. Everything happens in its own time and our time to finally see the cherry blossoms was now – actually, 4 days ago. They weren’t quite in full bloom, but they did not disappoint.
“What a strange thing! to be alive beneath cherry blossoms.” Kobayashi Issa
The History of the Cherry Blossoms
I suspect pretty much everyone knows a tiny bit of the history of the cherry blossoms, that the trees were a gift from Japan, but what I didn’t know could fill pages. Yes, the trees were a gift from Japan but the initial idea bloomed in the mind of Eliza Scidmore in 1885 after her first visit to Japan.
For twenty-four years Mrs. Scidmore approached each incoming Superintendent of Office of Public Buildings and Grounds to plant trees along the edge of the reclaimed Potomac River. And for twenty-four years her pleas were dismissed. In 1909 she decided she would raise the money herself to purchase the trees and then donate them to the city. So passionate was her cause she penned a letter to the new first lady, Helen Taft, with her proposal. Mrs. Taft responded and the rest, as they say, is history.
April 7, 1909
Thank you very much for your suggestion about the cherry trees. I have taken the matter up and am promised the trees, but I thought perhaps it would be best to make an avenue of them, extending down to the turn in the road, as the other part is still too rough to do any planting. Of course, they could not reflect in the water, but the effect would be very lovely of the long avenue. Let me know what you think about this.
Helen H. Taft
Today, visitors to Washington DC can see the beautiful delicate cherry blossoms as they stroll along the path of the tidal basin. Photographers, professional and amateur alike, set up their tripods along the shore to capture that perfect shot of the perfect cluster of blossoms. With their historical significance and their beautiful pink and white hues of color, the trees really are something special. Taking a stroll under the cherry blossoms is a fabulous way to welcome spring and the start of a new season and maybe, new beginnings.
To read more:
National Park Service – History
National Cherry Blossom Festival
Indeed, cherry blossom is one of a kind. My favorite spot has to be Chureito Pagoda. Seeing Mount Fuji, red pagoda and cherry blossoms all in one view is simply too iconic and unmistakably Japan.
Andrew Darwitan recently posted…The Ultimate Guide to Japanese Cherry Blossom: When & Where
Hey Andrew, thanks for stopping by and posting a comment. Always great to hear from our readers. We have not been to Japan, but I’m sure the blossoms are spectacular!
Patti we get beautiful Cherry blossoms here in the Uk and every year they make me smile and I get a sense of relief that winter has finished. I would love to visit Washington DC and perhaps I will time it to see the displays of Cherry Blossoms but also I think that to see them in Japan would be a very special treat.
Gilda Baxter recently posted…Pen-Y-Fan The Highest Peak in South Wales
I think you’re right, Gilda. I think anywhere you can take in the beauty of cherry blossoms is a good thing.
Beautiful! Cherry blossoms remind me of the TET New Year holiday in Vietnam, in the weeks leading up to the holiday you’ll see people strapping them on to motorbikes to put up in their homes and decorate with envelopes of ‘lucky money’.
Amy recently posted…Three Years of Freedom
Thanks, Amy! I know how much you enjoy the celebrations in Vietnam. I’ll be watching to see if you find your way back there!
Great story. Thank you.
Thank you, Sandy! 🙂
We loved Washington DC. I am not a big city fan but it has a nice feel and the whole Smithsonian are blew my mind.
Washington DC is a wonderful city to explore and it’s fairly easy to navigate. The Smithsonian Museums are amazing, aren’t they?
Totally agree about starting New Year in spring. And what a way to do it seeing the cherry blossoms. It’s gorgeous and I could almost smell them. Thanks for sharing this long time dream come true for you as I doubt I’ll ever see it live. Cities scare me you know.
Gaelyn recently posted…Sharing White Pocket with friends
I do know, Gaelyn, and I can understand the fear of cities as some of them are overwhelming. The thing about Washington DC is – as I describe it – an open air city. There are no skyscrapers as nothing is built taller than the Washington Memorial, and the city is built on a grid so it is actually quite easy to navigate. Maybe 1 day? 🙂
They’re lovely. Thanks for posting.
Thanks so much for stopping by, Donna.
Patience is rewarded. That and a move to the east coast. I have seen the cherry blossoms in Japan and actually they grow near the Great Wall of China. Amazing.
Does Washington serve Cherry Blossom Ice Cream?
Ah yes, patience. My least favorite word, but the move to the east coast definitely was an indicator we’d make it! I don’t know about the Cherry Blossom ice cream, but it sounds yummy!
Lovely. I’ve never been to Washington and I would never have expected Cherry Blossoms. Great story about the origins behind it.
Frank recently posted…WÃ¼rzburg, the city of churches. And why Germany is the âmost civilized place on earthâ
Washington DC is an amazing city, Frank, it really is the heartbeat of America. There is so much to do and see and did you know all of the Smithsonian Museums are free?! Just don’t come in April/May as that is the height of 8th grade mania. All 8th graders in the US have to study US government so they make the trek to DC from all over the country. It’s pretty great, but not a time to see the sites unless you have infinite patience.