The cherry blossoms are coming! Very soon now. I happen to be highly aware of the impending pinkness (pinker as buds, then very pale pink as blossoms) because I was immersed last month in writing a cherry blossom guide for a hotel magazine.
Recently, the National Park Service announced its prediction of the peak cherry blossom bloom times: March 20 to April 3.
While a lot of the cherry blossom events are for kids and families, several would be perfect for solo travelers looking for company while in D.C. I'm thinking about doing one or two of these myself, even though I've been to the Tidal Basin's beautiful cherry trees many, many times. And even though I might visit at other times with friends.
Washington Walks offers a "Blossoms Secrets Stroll" that teaches you all the cherry tree lore you could possibly want. I just learned that the 17th-century Japanese stone lantern near the Tidal Basin, where a veritable forest of cherry trees resides, is the oldest manmade object in the country that's not housed in a museum.
Did you know that some of the trees on the Mall (many of them pink tulip trees, not Yoshino cherry trees as at the Mall) serve as a rooftop garden for several Smithsonian museums? Yeah, me neither.
How about a group bike ride? Bike and Roll allows you to join others and cover much more ground than on foot. There's an option to bike in from Old Town Alexandria, Virginia, for a three-hour tour. The biking route goes along the Potomac River into D.C. Pretty! You can get to the starting point in Old Town by public transportation.
Several companies offer boat trips to the blossoms. I don't think those are as conducive to meeting and chatting with people. But those of you used to traveling alone won't have a problem quietly enjoying the views on your own.
You'll definitely have company if you sign up for a photo tour of the blossoms at the Tidal Basin. And you'll learn how to improve your picture taking at the same time.
There are many more activities to explore. I'm planning to head to the 51st annual Sakura Matsuri on Saturday, April 9th. It's a Japanese street festival with Asian food, two beer gardens and entertainment on four stages, including demonstrations of the martial arts.
For the first time, the street festival will cost $5 for entry. But friends who have been there in previous years say this isn't necessarily a bad thing. It may cut down on the huge crowds that show up.
I'm embarrassed to say I never knew about the Sakura Matsuri until I was assigned to write about the festival, despite having lived in this town for a long time. Oops. But now you know. And I know.
Sayonara. Until later this month...
Photos: Courtesy of the National Cherry Blossom Festival.