Spring has Sprung


While winter lingered longer than expected, spring has promptly ushered in a seasonal favorite to Washington D.C. Slowly peeking out from the inches of snow and opening up from the chills and the rain, the cherry blossoms, as we speak, are bloomed. In fact, they hit peak bloom last weekend. Now the festivals and frenzy have ended, we can give you the rundown on what else to do.

The Cherry Blossom Festival officially began on March 20. The blossoms have only begun to open recently, however. Like other things in life, the cherry blossoms just look prettier in pink. For you picture people out there or the savvy selfie-takers, get your camera or iPhones in focus and snap a few shots for the various social media sites (because making your friends jealous and getting lots of likes are paramount).

As always, the cherry blossoms are free to see. Maintained by the National Park Service, the trees are unguarded and easily accessible, so do not be shy to go up close to one. You may choose to walk along the Potomac by yourself, or if you like tours, tickets can be bought through the private companies that sell them. Paddle boat tours are also available on the water for the adventurous sightseer. Park Service rangers have free tours throughout the day, so take the time to tag along or get information.

While there are no regulations against food or drink, you will not find food stands or trucks nor picnic areas or grills. Pack a lunch or buy a lunch elsewhere and eat during your walk or on the steps of a nearby memorial.

Parking is free but space is limited. Street parking can be available at Hains Point but, of course, is not guaranteed. Metro via the Orange and Blue lines will take you to the Smithsonian stop, which is within walking distance of the blossoms. Be aware of morning and afternoon rush hour, however (and their fares). If all else fails, you can bike there.

The least crowded time is the evening. Even in the early hours of the morning people are everywhere. If you are just looking to picnic or walk through the park, you should have no problem. Photos my be a challenge to get considering you are not the only who wants them, but there are enough trees to go around.

Do not linger around too long, however. April showers bring May flowers, but the blossoms will be gone by then.