Monday, April 4, 2011

Blossom Time and the weather is Breezy.

Good Morning Campers.  Yes it's early April otherwise known as Cherry Blossom Time here in the Wash, DC area.  The weather still toys with us but the annual National Cherry Blossom Festival marks the beginning of what will become the typical hot and sticky DC summer.  This past Sunday we hopped on the Metro rail and rode into town for our annual pilgrimage to the tidal basin.

We live in the Maryland suburbs and so catch the DC Metro (aka subway) at the Orange Line's New Carrollton station.  In early April even the scrubby brush and untended volunteer trees along the rails are in bloom.

RFK Stadium, the former home of the Washington Redskins, is the last above-ground sight before the train takes the plunge underground.

We emerged back into the sunlight at the Smithsonian Station.  The Smithsonian "castle" is the brick building in the background.
Precisely why the Scientology Church had a couple of large tents on the Mall by the station exit is a mystery that I didn't bother to inquire about.
 The National Mall is a rectangular area between Independence and Constitution Avenues and is the location of many of the Museums which feature prominently in most of our visits to DC.  The Monuments and Tidal Basin are an ease walk from this starting point.

Facing east, one see the US Capital.
Facing west one sees the Washington Monument, which is about mid way between the Capital and the Lincoln Memorial. 

The annual kite festival was scheduled for the previous weekend but was blown out by bad weather.  A number of folks were making up for lost time on this day. 
Curse You, Red Baron!

But we wanted to see the blossoms so we left the kites and headed down  towards the Tidal Basin.

The majority of the trees, some of which are survivors of the original plantings made in 1912, are the Yoshino variety which has single white blossoms.
The path around the Tidal Basin was heaving with people.
Most of whom were like me and this chap, taking photos of blossoms and family members.  Cameras were everywhere and getting shots without pieces of  people in them was something of a challenge.

Not all the trees are white.  Here is an example of the Akebono variety which has pink petaled blossoms.  There are also Usuzumi and Kwinzan varieties but those bloom a few weeks after the festival is over.
The paddle boat Armada was out in force.  Some of the paddlers were having a heavy go working against the morning's brisk winds.  Fortunately the winds died down in the afternoon as the clouds filled in and blocked the sun.
Across the Basin one sees the Jefferson Memorial.  Don't ask how long I had to wait to get this clean shot!
Zooming in on the Memorial.
Walking around gawking at blossoms makes one hungry.  We walked back in the direction of the Mall and discussed various lunch options.
The carrousel across from the Smithsonian Castle was busy.  Our kids always fought over who'd get to ride on the black horse.  Rides now cost $2.50--I'm glad that during our riding days tickets were only a buck!
Washington is, if nothing else, a town with lots of tour options.  If you're a tourist with sore feet there's a mode of touring designed to separate you from your money.  You can take an open air double-decker bus...
Or you can join the Segway Nation...
Or if neither of those appeal you can take a ride on a WWII era DUKW.  These combine touring on the street with a dunk in the nearby Potomac River.

Being local (and cheap) we did none of those and continued walking.  We walked up Louisiana Ave. past the Carillon,
Up to Union Station and,
Finally arrived at our destination--Capitol City Brewing, where...
I finished the day with one of these.  (Highly recommended).


  1. Breezy. Gusts to 40 mph today. That'll turn your kite around.

  2. Yeah, there's a line of squalls that's supposed to push past us late tonight with gusts in that range. Hopefully the electric will stay on!