Spring in Washington D.C for me is all about cherry blossoms! If you remember the sad situation of Cherry Blossoms in Washington D. C. last year, you would be like me, anxious about the bloom this year. But we got extremely lucky! We actually hit the peak bloom!
The peak was originally anticipated in late March, but kept being postponed because of consecutive winter storms in March and April this year, until last weekend! And we got sunny day on Sunday! Despite the well below zero temperature, we got up at 5:30 and arrived at the north shore of Tidal Basin well before sunrise. There were a lot of people already there, with tripod setup, waiting.
The sunrise was beautiful, not exactly ‘spectacular’, but it was a great experience. Chatting with fellow photographers and enthusiasts alike, figuring out optimal setting on the camera and sharing gadgets were the best part of the waiting.
It was a delightful day! The Sun was out, it got warmer. We strolled along the Tidal Basin with crowded people, snatching shots after shots. Every direction your eyes could see filled with clusters and clusters of blossoms, from white to various shades of pink!
I am a cherry blossom fanatic, even you are not particular into bloom, walking among thousands of cherry trees, sprinkled by tiny flower petals is a happy feeling no one can deny. The Japanese Pagoda (up right) locates outside of Roosevelt Memorial, an gift from the mayor of Yokohama, Japan in 1957.
No cherry blossoms pictures are complete without the signature shots of the Washington Monument framed by the delicate blossoms.
Everything was coming up roses that day. We run into Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run on Independence Ave. While we were by the roadside cheering for the runners, we learned that it was rather hard to gain entry to the race, only 2500 random applicants got picked by lottery this year!
It is events like the Cherry Blossom Festival and the Ten Mile Run attracted me to this wonderful city. I love the vibrant energy of the city life. The sounds of the running steps and the fun costumes people put on when they run never cease to amaze me and put smile on my face.
We usually take metro to D.C. because parking near the National Mall can be hectic and hard to find. However since we were there so early in the morning, there were plenty parking around the Tidal Basin area. We parked behind Jefferson Memorial on the East Potomac Park, along Ohio Dr. For sunrise shots you want to stay on the Northern shore of the Tidal Basin, that way you can include Washington Monument or Jefferson Memorial in the photos with the cherry blossoms.
In my previous blog I cited the best locations for Cherry Blossoms besides the Tidal Basin, I like to add one more to the list: the Basilica of National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. This basilica is the largest church in America and North America, one of the ten largest churches in the world. It is located in the Brookland area of D.C. at the Catholic University campus, there are 150 cherry trees around the church, another great locale for cherry blossoms.
Romanesque style on the outside and Byzantine style inside, the amazing architecture alone is worth the visit. And this magnificent church has over 70 chapels and oratories! The mosaic image of Christ in Majesty contains more than 4000 shades and colors, unfortunately I couldn’t take picture of the mosaic because of the ongoing mass. They offer six masses daily and many informative free tours.
Since its first mass on Easter Sunday in 1924, Pope Francis, Pope Benedict XVI and Pope John Paul II had visited the basilica, you can check out their chairs and other items they used during their short visit displaying proudly inside the church. Also Mother Teresa and many other famous spiritual leaders have also left their footprints there too.
Only two artwork in this massive church are from outside of America, the one on the top right “Our Lady of China” is one of the two.
While you are in the Brookland area, I highly recommend you to visit Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land in America, only a mile away from the Basilica. They have beautiful garden and the church inside is very impressive as well.
Tours are offered daily at various hours, no reservation is needed unless for group larger than five people. Garden tour is only on Saturday during summer time. You may have a taste of the Monastery through their visual tours online before you go.
So enjoy the wonderful weather and beautiful Washington D.C.; there is so much to see! And the spring is finally here, to stay!