***Update on the Cherry Blossoms: The National Park Service changed peak prediction to April 6-8
Washingtonians start to get really hyper around the same time every year. It’s that time when the jackets come off, the sun sets later in the day, and the Japanese cherry blossoms begin to bloom around the tidal basin. And then the city goes crazy. The two week National Cherry Blossom Festival kicks off in DC on March 20th when there will be a number of special cherry themed events including a parade, Potomac boat tours, yoga classes, and a a really fancy Pink Tie Party.
Time for a bit of history: the original 2,000 cherry trees were a gift from the peeps of Japan to the peeps of the United States in 1910 after a couple years of American lobbying from cherry tree enthusiast, Eliza Ruhamah Scidmore and plant explorer/USDA official Dr. David Farichild. To everyone’s dismay, these trees came across fully infested with insects and disease and were ordered to be burned by President William Howard Taft. Major cherry tree sad face. So, in 1912, Japan tried again, this time successfully sending over 3,020 healthy trees to be planted around the tidal basin. Another 3,800 were given to DC in 1965—so if you’re counting we are up to 6,820 trees. Now, that’s a lot of cherry trees. Since then, we have been trading hundreds cherry trees back and forth with Japan to ensure their genetic lineage is protected and that Japan and the U.S. continue their cycle of friendship for life. Whew! That was my expedited version of 103 year history. For the full timeline, go ahead and click here.
I’ve learned that Washington really knows how to host a party. For the Cherry Blossom Festival, area restaurants will be serving cherry inspired dishes, and most of the local cupcakes shops (because really, you can’t have too many cupcakes) offer cherry flavors. And seriously, while the large crowds may be a tad annoying, the trees are something special to see. They also smell so good that you will end up wanting to face plant one. Of course we’ll be spending a lot of time on the Tidal Basin and taking lots of photos…but here’s what we saw last year, enjoy!