Family Outings: National Cherry Blossom Festival

momfamily fun & traditions

When it comes to D.C., how can you not love the city? I actually live within the city limits so I might be a little biased but with so much history, power, and attractions, how can you not become infatuated with it all?

A couple years ago, when my then boyfriend proposed the idea of moving out of Michigan and into the concrete jungle of D.C., I was more than excited and a little apprehensive. The only time I had ever been to Washington, D.C. was when my parents took my brother and me to share with us a lot of this country's history. We walked the National Mall, visited the White House, observed the memorials, strolled through Arlington Cemetery, and enjoyed learning about artifacts in the museums. Based on this visit, I knew that the city had a lot to offer in terms of history, but I had no idea what the city had in store for us in terms of residential life.

When I used to think of Washington, D.C., I thought of government, politics, monuments/memorials, and the White House. After living here for a few years, I still think of the same things; however, my eyes have really opened up as I have come to realize that there's so much more to this place. With so many restaurants, outdoor adventures, farmers markets, and festivals, there's never a dull moment. One of the events that I have really grown to enjoy from the first minute I laid my eyes on these beauties is the National Cherry Blossom Festival.

Each year in Washington, D.C., spring is welcomed by the opening of the cherry blossoms and when that occurs, there's a certain magic in the air. In order to commemorate the 1912 gift of 3,000 cherry trees from Mayor Yukio Ozaki of Tokyo to the city of Washington, D.C., the city holds a National Cherry Blossom Festival. This gift and annual celebration honor the lasting friendship between the United States and Japan and the continued close relationship between the two countries. These trees can be found throughout the city but the best place to view them is along the Tidal Basin near the Jefferson Memorial. Even though the blossoms are only open for a small window of time, the beauty that engulfs this city is beyond words.

Today, more than a million people visit Washington, D.C. each year to admire the blossoming cherry trees and attend events that welcome the beginning of spring in the nation’s capital. A few years ago, my Mom made a trip down to the city during the festival. We took an entire day, just the two of us, and walked the monuments and Tidal Basin. We took in all of the sights and sounds, posed for pictures, learned about the history of this country, and shared stories. This was a day that was so special to me and one that I will never forget.

This year, my aunt, uncle, and cousins are visiting and they've timed their trip perfectly since the trees are just beginning to show their blossoms. I cannot wait to share this experience with them. If you're ever in the D.C. area during the springtime, be sure to stop by the monuments for a few and take in all the beauty that the cherry blossoms have to offer. If you're planning a trip to D.C., make sure you're here when the cherry blossoms are in bloom. To view the cherry blossoms in pictures is one thing, but to view them in person is a completely different experience that will really open your eyes to how beautiful and amazing this city really is.

What annual festivals do you enjoy attending? Why do you think attending events like these are important for your family?

Top Photo Credit, Bottom Photo taken by Jen Tilley

Jen Tilley has an insatiable appetite for all things related to baking and cooking. She is the author, photographer and recipe developer on How To: Simplify, a blog that shares tips, tricks and recipes to simplify life in the kitchen. She enjoys sharing recipes that require very few ingredients and only a small amount of prep and cook time, all of which make time spent in the kitchen simple and enjoyable. Find her online at How To: Simplify and @HowToSimplify.

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Jen Tilley

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