Alexandria's Cherry Blossoms
Almost as iconic to the capital city as the Washington Monument, more than 3,000 cherry trees envelop the Tidal Basin each year and are about to bloom into their full glory, peaking on or about March 22, according to the National Park Service.
Although everyone should certainly witness at least once the fluffy pink and white cloud that drops into Washington, D.C., every March and April, the experience certainly doesn’t come easy. Crowds from across the globe descend each year to photograph and pose in front of every inch of blooms, shuffling shoulder to shoulder, from tree to tree, trying to find the perfect picture.
Don’t be discouraged; just a stop or two away on the Metro or a few miles' drive into Virginia, Alexandria is waiting to show off its own impressive blooms.
Cherry blossoms are located just a few miles away in Alexandria, Virginia. There lies all of the beauty minus the headache, plus a few specialty attractions that only happen once a year when the blossoms line the neighborhood streets.
Old Town Alexandria
True, there aren’t dense clusters of cherry blossoms, but the city is dotted with the cherry trees and other flowering cousins. Wander throughout the charming neighborhoods and parks. and there will be plenty of photograph worthy choices.
Plus, the city usually hosts a variety of celebratory events including Cherry Blossom Pop-Up History Tours and a Cherry Blossom Food Crawl. Cherry blossom hospitality also seeps into hotel packages throughout the city. Look for speciality getaways with blossom themes.
As events draw closer, be sure to double check for changes due to many events being canceled due to the Coronavirus closures.
Mount Vernon Trail
For 18 miles, a paved path follows along the Potomac River. With end points at either Mount Vernon or Theodore Roosevelt Island, walkers, bikers, and hikers have the perfect vantage point to see cherry blossoms up close and personal. Although the trail isn’t dedicated to cherry trees, they are readily found up and down the path.
Regional trails including Potomac Heritage, Custis, Rock Creek, Four Mile Run, and Woodrow Wilson Bridge Trail connect with the Mount Vernon Trail andmoffer their own cherry blossom sightings.
George Washington's Mount Vernon
Although the myth of a 6-year-old George Washington, declaring, “I cannot tell a lie,” when accused by his father of chopping down a cherry tree has been proven false, it is true that his estate, Mount Vernon is home to flowering cherry trees. Washington cultivated many fruit trees, including cherry varieties, which will be in bloom during the Cherry Blossom Festival.
Note: Mount Vernon is closed through March 31. Check their site for a virtual tour and future openings.
A quaint, quiet place to view a grove of cherry trees lies at the front gates of River Farm. Once a part of Washington’s plantation property, River Farm is now home to the American Horticultural Society. The farm entertains families throughout the year with events, children’s garden, and picnicking areas.
Green Spring Gardens
Image via NPS.gov.
The Fairfax County Park Authority offers access to dozens of greens spaces for families to enjoy, but Green Spring Gardens in Alexandria captures the beauty of flowering cherry trees tucked against an 18th century plantation home and wooded stream valley with ponds. The gardens are also registered as a historic site and offer year round learning opportunities.
For the up-to-date bloom peak forecast, connect with the National Park Service and their Bloom Watch.
Cherry Blossoms By Boat
A variety of water taxis, Potomac cruises, and paddle boats arrive and depart from Alexandria, and many add in tours of the D.C monuments in addition to a riverside view of the cherry blossoms. Lengths and times vary as do amenities, from catered meals to snack shops. Check out the Potomac Riverboat Company and Embark DC Boat Tours for options.
More Cherry Blossom Sightings Near Alexandria
The region does burst into spring with cherry blossoms, but they aren’t restricted to the Tidal Basin or Alexandria. The following locations have less visitors and more opportunities to explore and spend time admiring the landscape.
In addition, these are popular places for local families to create the ideal backdrops for professional photo shoots, candid shots, and attempt to capture the illusive perfect Christmas card.
- Fort McNair
- Fort Belvoir
- Arlington National Cemetery
- The U.S. National Arboretum
- Meadowlark Botanical Gardens
Need more Alexandria insider information? Each month, MilitaryByOwner publishes a Calendar of Events and a blog post to help readers learn about homes available and real estate topics in Alexandria.
By Dawn M. Smith