Visiting Washington DC at Cherry Blossom Time

White House South Lawn, Downtown
White House South Lawn, Downtown
The Ellipse
The Ellipse
National Christmas Tree, Washington Monument
National Christmas Tree, Washington Monument
Dupont CIrcle, Metro stop in the middle
Dupont CIrcle, Metro stop in the middle
Outside Cafe, Downtown
Outside Cafe, Downtown
Downtown
Downtown
National Archives, Downtown
National Archives, Downtown
Capital, Downtown
Capital, Downtown
Capital Dome
Capital Dome
Library of Congress, Downtown
Library of Congress, Downtown
Heritage Trail Ford's Theater, Downtown
Heritage Trail Ford's Theater, Downtown
Lincoln was sitting to the right in a rocking chair when he was assassinated
Lincoln was sitting to the right in a rocking chair when he was assassinated
Washington Monument, Refecting Pool
Washington Monument, Refecting Pool
Lincoln Memorial, WW II Memorial
Lincoln Memorial, WW II Memorial
Jefferson Memorial
Jefferson Memorial
Cherry Blossoms ring the Tidal Basin
Cherry Blossoms ring the Tidal Basin
West Potomac Park
West Potomac Park
George Washinton's Mount Vernon, Virginia
George Washinton's Mount Vernon, Virginia
Thomas Jefferson's Monticello, Virginia
Thomas Jefferson's Monticello, Virginia
Michie Tavern, Ca. 1784 Virginia
Michie Tavern, Ca. 1784 Virginia

History of the Cherry Blossoms.

In 1912 twelve varieties of cherry trees were shipped from Yokohama, Japan to Seattle, Washington as a gift of friendship to the People of the United States from the People of Japan. The beautiful Cherry Blossoms are the Japanese symbol of human life and Japanese culture.

On March 26, 1912, 3,020 cherry trees arrived in Washington DC. On March 27 Helen Herron Taft and Viscountess Chinda, wife of the Japanese Ambassador, planted two of the trees on the northern bank of the Tidal Basin. Workmen continued planting the remaining trees around the Tidal Basin, at East Potomac Park, and on the White House grounds.

The first Cherry Blossom Festival was held in 1935. Today you can catch people having family picnics underneath the spectacular trees.The trees blossom in spring. *Dates of full bloom differ each year depending on the weather so check the government site for the dates you plan to visit.

Places to visit, Downtown:

A good place to start is the Washington DC Chamber of Commerce Tourist Information Center located at 506 9th Street, NW. Open M-F from 8:30am to 5:30pm. Closed on Sat. and Sun. Knowledgeable staff can answer questions and help you navigate around the city.

The White House, The Ellipse, The National Christmas Tree. Write or email your Congressman. Your Congressman will email you back. Attached to this email is a packet of tour information and the security information sheet needed to request a White House tour. Fill it out and email it back. The tours that required booking through our Congressman's office were the White House and the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. All other tours are available to book on your own, although the Capitol is usually booked through his/her office as well. Also, just as an FYI the White House was not available for tours on April 2nd, 3rd, or 4th 2013 as it was blocked out solely for pre-reserved school groups on Spring Break. *The tour was eventually completely cancelled because of sequestration cuts. You can also be asked to clear the area at any time. We were asked twice. Check with the Forestry Guide for tours of the White House gardens.

The Capital, Inside Tour. Arrange an inside tour through your Congressman. *Ask for tickets to the Congressional Gallery also so you can watch speeches being made.

Library of Congress, Supreme Court. back side of the Capital.

Numerous Federal Buildings. Including The Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP). Watch The U.S. Treasury print currency. Line up for first come first serve tickets as soon as possible in the morning or ask your Congressman.

The National Mall. Smithsonian Museums line the sides.

National Archives. View the Declaration of Independence, The Bill of Rights, The Emancipation Proclamation, and the Magna Carta. You can do genealogy research also. Buy tickets online, $1.50 fee per person for the guided tour.

The Pentagon. Headquarters of U.S. Department of Defense.

Arlington National Cemetery. Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, (changing of the guard occurs each hour) graves of John F. Kennedy and William Howard Taft.

Heritage Trail. Ford's Theater, (the house where Lincoln died is across the street), Spy Museum, FBI Museum, etc. There are street signs along this route that explain what you are seeing.

Monuments/Memorials. Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, FDR, and MLK. The best place to take pictures of the Cherry Blossoms is from the Jefferson Memorial. The Washington Monument was closed for earth quake retrofitting when we visited.

War Memorials. WW I & II, Vietnam, Korean. The WW II Memorial is probably the biggest and best lit up at night.

DuPont Circle. Metro stop, The Hilton where Reagan was shot, foreign Embassies, places to shop and eat.


Out of Town, Virginia

Mount Vernon. The web site states: Guests to Mount Vernon can visit George Washington's Plantation, Washington's tomb, and nearly 50 acres of his extensive gardens. The estate also includes a working blacksmith shop and the George Washington Pioneer Farmer site, a 4-acre demonstration farm with a reconstructed slave cabin and 16-sided treading barn. $15.00 fee

Monticello. The web site states: A guided tour of Monticello provides an intimate look at the extraordinary house Thomas Jefferson built and furnished for himself and his family. See the furnishings, art, books, gadgets and other objects that reveal Jefferson's unique mind. The basic guided tour includes the rooms on Monticello's first floor and lasts about 35 minutes. The upper floors are accessible through one of the extended daytime tours.

In the cellar area underneath the house, visit the dependencies (privy), as well as the restored wine cellar, kitchen, smokehouse, slave quarters, vegetable garden and stables. $25.00 fee.

Michie Tavern, Ca. 1784. The web site states: A Virginia Historic Landmark located ½ mile below Jefferson’s Monticello, accommodated travelers with food, drink and lodging more than 200 years ago. Today, visitors experience the Tavern’s past through a historic journey which recreates 18th-century tavern life. Servers in period attire offer bountiful Colonial Midday Fare. This tavern closed at 3:30 when we visited so stop early.

Civil War Battlefields, Shenandoah National Park. $15.00 entrance fee to the park.

Jamestown. The web site states: The founding of Jamestown, America's first permanent English colony in Virginia in 1607, 13 years before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock in Massachusetts, forged cultural encounters that helped shape our nation and the world and are part of our heritage today. $16.00 fee.


Tips: If you are staying in downtown DC you don't need a car as the Metro goes just about every where you will want to go. *Download a map from the Chamber of Commerce under Visiting to the right. You can catch the Metro from the Reagan Airport. However you will have to walk.

We didn't find it hard to find a parking spot downtown for our rental car but got a $25.00 ticket when we went past the 2 hour limit and ran out of extra paid time.

If you are planning on going to Mount Vernon, The Civil War Battlefields, Monticello, and Jamestown you will need a car as these sites are about 2 hours apart in Virginia.

Instead of buying souvenirs and trying to fit them in your luggage to take home, order them online when you get home. The link is under Visiting to the right.

Are we there yet? What to take on a road trip:

An ice chest with food, snacks and drinks for everyone. Forget sharing.

Don't forget your chargers, headphones, earplugs, meds, and a trash bag.

Take along your Kindle and cell phone to keep yourself and the kids occupied on long road trips. Download any ebooks or apps that can help you.

Remember to take along a great camera. We found the Sony Nex-5 to be light weight and user friendly.

Streets, freeways, and traffic jams are frustrating. Take along a good GPS system and visit off season.





Have you visited the cherry blossoms?

See results without voting

More by this Author


Comments 8 comments

ThelmaC profile image

ThelmaC 3 years ago from Blue Ridge Mountains, USA

Enjoyed your hub very much. Makes me want to visit Washington again. My favorite war memorial is the Korean War. Also visited "The Wall" (Vietnam memorial) both in daytime and at night. The late night visit was on a very cold night in March and it was amazing. I wrote a hub about The Wall and it has been a very popular one.

There is so much to see in Washington and most of it is free. It is certainly a great vacation spot!


Kathy Atwood profile image

Kathy Atwood 3 years ago from California, USA Author

So much you can't do it all! Going back... Thanks Thelma.


pstraubie48 profile image

pstraubie48 3 years ago from sunny Florida

Hi Kathy

thanks for sharing this. It was especially interesting to me as I lived in Japan and viewed the beauty of the cherry blossoms for the four years I was there. It was the loveliest snowfall of blossoms every year.

It was also a lovely read as I attended cherry blossom festivals in DC and enjoyed all that that special city holds. thanks for the memories ps

Anegels are on the way


Kathy Atwood profile image

Kathy Atwood 3 years ago from California, USA Author

So stunningly beautiful I have a hard time explaining it to people! One of those things you have to be there. A picture and words aren't enough...Thanks pstraubie48


mercuryservices profile image

mercuryservices 3 years ago from Honolulu, Hawaii

I recently moved to Hawaii from Washington, DC... The next time you visit you should check out the up and coming North East neighborhood of H ST via Union Station, Eastern Market and Capitol Hill!


Kathy Atwood profile image

Kathy Atwood 3 years ago from California, USA Author

Will do!


Larry Rankin profile image

Larry Rankin 16 months ago from Oklahoma

Looks just beautiful. I must go someday.


Kathy Atwood profile image

Kathy Atwood 16 months ago from California, USA Author

You will not be sorry Larry! If you can go at Cherry Blossom time. Plenty of history in Virginia & Philadelphia also. http://www.nps.gov/cherry/index.htm

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working