I’ve lived in the DC area for eight years now and finally went downtown to see the cherry blossoms in bloom. Being locals and knowing the nightmares involved with getting into the city for the actual festival, we decided to bypass it and head to see them the day after the parade. From what I’m told, the parade is about all there is to the “festival” to begin with.
The cherry trees were originally a gift to the United States from Japan and their annual blooms have spurred a cacophony of capitalistic endeavors for The District. Well, the beneficiaries of the influx in local economy are probably the vendors, tour companies, and parking meter maids, but I digress. For more information on the history of the cherry blossoms, visit the National Park Service site here:
The trees blossom once each year, barring extreme weather anomalies, for about two weeks, although the flowers fully bloom, or a majority of them, for only a few days. It was so windy today that I would not have been surprised had all the trees been empty! We walked a good distance along the Tidal Basin and even stopped into a Ranger station to ask what kind of tree grew in front of the station. It was an odd tree that appeared to be a tree grown within a tree which had split open to allow for the growth of the tree within. Almost like a tree molting its skin. Of course, the Rangers had no clue, but we were (meaning I was) curious so I had to ask.
Thanks to my tour guide/driver/partner and friend with photographic OCD, we got some very nice pictures of the blossoms. Well, he got the pictures and I copied them.