Washington’s Beloved Cherry Blossoms

IMG_5729If you’ve ever been to Washington, D.C. in early spring, you probably know that a visit to the Tidal Basin to see the famous cherry blossoms is not to be missed. Gifted to the United States from Japan in 1912, the cherry blossoms have been celebrated to welcome spring for nearly 100 years. In total, more than 3,000 trees of more than twelve varieties  decorate Washington’s Tidal Basin and East and West Potomac Parks in a sea of pink and white each spring. Their existence in our nation’s capital has a colorful history dating back to one woman’s unique idea in 1885.

The annual National Cherry Blossom Festival hosts numerous events for a two-week period around the blooming of the trees. One of these is the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run, which has in the past been one of my favorite races. Due to an increase in popularity, entry to the race has, in recent years, been possible only by lottery. Although I entered the lottery last December, my name wasn’t chosen for this year’s race.

Each year, millions of people descend upon Washington to catch the blossoms in peak bloom. Historically, the cherry blossoms have usually reached peak bloom at the end of March or beginning of April, depending upon the weather. The National Park Service issues the cherry blossoms’ bloom schedule each year, with peak bloom dates projected about ten days in advance.

This year, the cherry blossoms reached their peak on Friday, April 10, and are expected to remain in peak bloom until Tuesday, April 14. With beautiful sunny skies over the weekend, the cherry blossoms likely saw record numbers of visitors. In an effort to avoid the crowds, M. and I decided to get up before dawn this morning and take Frieda for a run around the Tidal Basin. We were surprised at how many others had the same idea, especially those ready with camera and tripod to capture the sunrise. Although running wasn’t quite possible, we managed to have a very pleasant walk and took a few photos of our own.

We started our walk about twenty minutes before sunrise and slowly meandered around the west side of the Tidal Basin, taking in views of the Thomas Jefferson Memorial, the Washington Monument, the Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial, and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial.

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The Washington Monument at dawn.

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The Thomas Jefferson Memorial at dawn.

The sky was a bit overcast, making the sunrise shorter than usual. The skyline was highlighted in pink for about five minutes, and that was it!

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Sunrise at the Jefferson Memorial.

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Beautiful sunrise!

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White blossoms against the pink sunrise.

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The Thomas Jefferson Memorial framed by cherry blossoms.

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The sun rises behind the Jefferson Memorial.

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The Washington Monument stands tall among the cherry blossoms.

Although many of the cherry blossoms are pink, they appear white in our photos due to the overcast sky and the lighting. As the wind blew, some of the blossoms fell to the ground like snowflakes.

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Family photo with the cherry blossoms in the background. Frieda was very interested in and distracted by a golden retriever who was standing nearby.

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The light pink blossoms hang low from the trees. Here, a tiny spider has made a web.

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The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial is surrounded by cherry blossoms.

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Some of the cherry blossoms are also white.

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Close-up of the beautiful white flowers.

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A sky of cherry blossoms.

One of the less crowded areas among the cherry blossoms is the Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial. Cherry trees are in full bloom throughout the entire memorial, making a gorgeous canopy of blossoms overhead.

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Walking under a canopy of cherry blossoms at dawn.

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Light pink cherry blossoms frame the entrance of the FDR Memorial.

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Park benches under the canopy of cherry blossoms at the FDR Memorial.

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My two favorites.

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You can almost smell the cherry blossoms in this picture!

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I couldn’t resist one more shot of the light pink blossoms over the Jefferson Memorial after the sun came up.

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Light pink cherry blossoms dangle across the Tidal Basin from the Thomas Jefferson Memorial just after sunrise.

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Cherry blossoms on the south edge of the Tidal Basin.

If you are in Washington this week, make sure to carve some time out of your day to take in the beautiful cherry blossoms while they are still in bloom!

Thank you for visiting my blog!

6 thoughts on “Washington’s Beloved Cherry Blossoms

    • Thank you! It’s amazing how many people can fit on that tiny path, isn’t it? I stopped by your blog- beautiful photos as well! The blossoms look more pink than white when the sky is blue. Thanks for visiting my blog!

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  1. Such glory and artistry in your photos! Thank you for showing us the beauty and taking us along on your narrative walk. I’ve been fortunate to be in Washington for the blossoms a few times over the years, but not at such a right moment as you shared with us.

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    • Thanks so much, Bruce! I only wish the sky had been a little clearer. Sunday was really the perfect day to see them, but we weren’t able to get down there then. Some other year, hopefully! Today it is raining, so I think that might be it for the blossoms this year.

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