It’s almost that time of year again — the cherry blossoms are about to bloom in Washington, DC! They were forecast earlier to be at peak by March 22nd or 23rd, but the cold spell we’ve been having for the past week has slowed things down a bit, so they are expected to peak sometime next week — closer to March 27th or later.
For anyone whom has never been to the cherry blossoms in DC, or hasn’t been since they were kids long ago… brace yourself. The cherry blossom paparazzi is now a thing of legend — photographers are two and three deep in the thin areas, and 20-to-30 deep at the really popular sites at certain locations around the Tidal Basin. There are engagement and wedding photos being taken; people proposing to one another; there are people with strollers; dog walkers; seniors with walkers and wheelchairs; tiny children, children in baby carriages; joggers and runners; people savoring a cup of coffee as the sun comes up; etc. In short… it’s bedlam now.
Parking? There is none — at least not close to the Tidal Basin anymore. All of that is now reserved for media trucks with satellite dishes and security vehicles. Instead, figure on parking far away and walking to the Tidal Basin… or — even better — park at one of the Metro station parking lots in the suburbs and taking the subway to a station somewhat nearby and walking from there. Either way, wear solid walking shoes, because the footing can be slippery (mud) and treacherous (many exposed roots in some places around the cherry trees).
However, before everyone thinks I’m being completely pessimistic about the experience, I’ll add this…
The cherry blossoms are glorious! The delicate white and pink colors of the blooms are showcased by whatever weather is happening in the background — whether it’s dark and stormy, or bright and sunny. And everyone — and I mean everyone — is happy, with big sunny smiles and not a frown to be seen anywhere. It’s like the gathered crowd has assembled to see confirmation that spring is finally (FINALLY!!!) arriving, and Mother Nature has delivered in spades.
And for that reason alone, I go back every year.