Monday, April 4, 2011

Cherry Blossoms at Tidal Basin

A popular early spring destination in the east is Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C. -- a partially human-made reservoir between the Potomac River and the Washington Channel. The reason for all of the fuss is that Tidal Basin is home to ~3,000 Yoshino cherry trees and the National Cherry Blossom Festival. The festival commemorates the March 27, 1912, gift of Japanese cherry trees from the Mayor of Tokyo to the city of Washington. They are a symbol of friendship between the U.S. and Japan.

The first Cherry Blossom Festival was held in 1935 under joint sponsorship by numerous civic groups, and it became an annual event. By this point, the cherry trees had become an established part of the nation's capitol. In fact, in 1938, plans to cut down trees to clear ground for the Jefferson Memorial prompted a group of women to chain themselves together at the site in protest. A compromise was made -- more trees would be planted along the south side of the Basin to frame the Memorial.

Today, close to one million people visit Washington, D.C. each year to admire the blooming cherry trees that signal the beginning of spring.

 I visited the trees at Tidal Basin today—probably a little past peak, but still quite impressive.  There are actually beautiful blooming trees all over the city right now and Tidal Basin certainly isn't the only place with a display of cherry trees.  So there are other places you can go and avoid some of the crowds.

I also visited the Washington Monument -- the most prominent structure in Washington, D.C. Its shaped like an Egyptian obelisk, stands 555’ 5 1/8” tall, and offers views in excess of thirty miles. It was finished on December 6, 1884.

It was a very windy day but it gave me a good opportunity to get the photo below of the flags that encircle the monument--and at times it seemed like it was snowing flower petals. 

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