Friday, April 18, 2014

Cherry Blossoms Everywhere in Washington DC

My latest local travel took me to see the Cherry Blossoms around the tidal basin in Washington DC and what a glorious day it was!

View of the Jefferson Memorial during Cherry Blossom festival

The weather was perfect and the blossoms on the Cherry trees were at their best. Since I only travel on the weekends, it is tough to catch the blossoms near their peak, either I get there and it is a bit early or a bit late.
This year however was the best since the blossoms had just been declared at their peak, when 70% of the cherry blossoms are open, so by the weekend the trees were really exploding with blooms and what a treat that was! The views were outstanding.

View of the Cherry Blossoms and the Washington Monument in DC

Some known facts about the Cherry Blossoms;
  • Forecasting the peak bloom date is hard because it is subject to the weather. They can only predict the peak about 10 days in advance.
  • The Cherry trees were a present from Japan in 1912. 3,020 of them were given at the time.
  • Planting of the Cherry trees along the tidal basin took place from 1913 - 1920.
  • The First Cherry Blossom festival was in 1935.
  • The cherry trees around the tidal basin are managed by the U.S. National Park Service supported by your tax dollars.
  • The Tidal basin area and the National Mall are part of the National Park system.

View of the Washington Monument in DC during the Cherry Blossom festival

When you come to visit:
  • Dress comfortably and nicely because you are going to take lots of pictures of you with the monuments and the cherry blossoms in the background, you want to look good.
  • Expect crowds but know that everyone is also there for the same reason as you, to see the beautiful scenery.
  • Don't forget your camera.
  • Wear a hat and don't forget your sunglasses.
  • Stop and rest along the way to enjoy the view.
  • Expect long lines at the rest rooms.
  • You can purchase food at the Smithsonian museums or the food trucks by the Washington monument. Lots of variety of food.
  • Walk all around the tidal basin.
  • Check the U.S. National Park Service website to prepare for your visit.

Map of the Tidal basin showing where to see the Cherry Blossoms in Washington DC

As for me, I am so glad I went again this year. The views were amazing, the weather was fabulous and the blossoms were at their best.

Picture of people during the Cherry Blossom festival

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To all of you who are Still Fabulous and Traveling locally I wish you,

Happy Travels

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Cherry Blossoms Parade in Washington DC

I am not sure I understand why I enjoy parades as much as I do, but you can always find me watching them especially if the weather is good. Just recently I went to see the Cherry Blossom parade in Washington DC and it was a perfect day for it. Just like Goldilocks said not too hot, not too cold....just right.

I have gone to see the parade for many years now, maybe crazy for a local but I always enjoy it. It gives me an excuse to be a local tourist with the advantage of knowing how to maneuver the crowd scene.

Cherry Blossom parade - military group marching

Cherry Blossom parade - marching revolutionary soldiers

I don't know if most of the people are tourists from other states or from out of the country but in the end there is no difference among us; we are all smiling, nodding, dancing, laughing, waving and taking lots of pictures.

Cherry Blossom parade - clown parading

Cherry Blossom parade - Padington bear balloon float

The parade is not as large as the Macy's Thanksgiving parade but in our nation's capital, it is a grand sight to see the marching bands, balloons and other participants parading by our nation's colossal government buildings.

Cherry Blossom parade - dinosaur balloon float

Cherry Blossom parade - cheerleaders in parade

Cherry Blossom parade floating balloons

Cherry Blossom parade floating panda bear balloon

Cherry Blossom parade vintage car

Cherry Blossom parade cartoon floating balloon

The Cherry Blossom parade culminates 3 weeks of festivities and events spread out over our capital area. It all starts with the Kite festival which this year was cancelled because of too much rain.

To watch the parade, I go behind the Smithsonian National Museum of American History because it is less crowded; there is plenty of seating, and easy access to clean restrooms (inside the museum) and lockers. Did you know there are lockers inside the museum that makes it real convenient to store your gear until you absolutely need it? This also makes it easier to get into any of the other museums because then you don't have bags for checking. There is no charge for the lockers. I use them all the time.

Because of the nice weather there were plenty of tourists and what this means is that after the parade most of them will join the many tourists already by the tidal basin seeing the Cherry Blossoms. Yes, that is where I also went which I will talk about in my next blog post.

If you have never seen the Cherry Blossom parade, you should. It is a happy time, sure the area is crowded but then remember all of them are just as eager as you to see the parade, the Cherry Blossoms, the historical monuments and the several Smithsonian museums. ALL of it is FREE of charge, basically your tax dollars at work so come and visit.

If you have any questions let me know. Leave me a comment. I look forward to hearing from you. Sign up to my blog so you don't miss my photos, I do enjoy taking pictures. Remember sharing is good.

As for me, I will keep on being the local tourist and spring time is the best time.

To all the Still Fabulous and Traveling, I wish you.......Happy Travels.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Spring: Time for Macy's Flower Show in New York City

After a very cold and long winter, slowly but surely spring is arriving. It is a time that I enjoy very much because as a local traveler, I like to go out in my neighborhood area to attend events as well as discover new places. Spring time is a time for color to return to nature, it is time for flowers and a place to see beautiful displays of flowers is at the Macy's Flower Show in New York City.

A flower bed at Macy's Flower show in NYC

While the event lasts but two weeks, I have read the preparations take pretty much all year. I have seen the show years ago before Macy's renovated the store and again just recently after the renovations and I must say I liked it. This year's theme was The Secret Garden.

Display of flower from the Macy's Flower Show in New York City

The Macy's store is known for their beautiful window displays. This year Macy's treated all visitors to some very nice colorful flower beds in the store windows. While these were nice, I enjoyed the indoor displays better.

As usual the main entrance welcomes you with a fabulous piece that stops everyone in their tracks. It has a wow effect that compels every visitor to take a picture and have a picture taken with it.

Entrance display from the Macy's Flower Show in NYC

Shortly after that, you are treated to a view that is larger than your vision and for sure your camera can grasp, there are flowers everywhere. The Secret Garden theme meant Macy's created mini-gardens full of flowers tucked in between and around the pillars of the first floor with some gardens bedding on the balcony area.

A flower bed hanging from the ceiling at Macy's Flower Show in NYC

Upon my arrival, I ran into a tour group being guided by a very knowledgeable tour guy. I joined them and found it very instructive and useful. The tour guide explained several of the flower bed settings, pointing out several of the flowers in display. He also made everyone aware of the best spots for taking photos and of the special gardens in other floors. I don't know if this is something new but I hope they do it again next year.

Tour guy at the Macy's Flower Show in NYC

One of the best areas for photos was from the balcony surrounding most of the first floor. From this view it appeared as if the flower beds were floating on air.

Flower display from the Macy's Flower Show in NYC

Flower displays at Macy's Flower Show in NYC

Flower displays at Macy's Flower Show in NYC

I must say that I spent about 5 hours in Macy's taking pictures, taking it all in and yes, shopping.

Personally I am very happy Macy's puts on this event as well as the Thanksgiving parade. The Flower Show has become my excuse to visit, to shop at Macy's and to see New York City early in the spring.
So put it on your calendar for next year. As for me, I love spring and all the beauty it brings. I am glad I got to see the Flower Show this year even if it was at the end of its two weeks run.

If you have any questions let me know. Leave me a comment or if you enjoyed the pictures and this post, I ask you to share and like me at +Vilma Anderson

By the way, this blog post is my opinion and I have not been contracted by Macy's for this review.

Have a Wonderful Spring and  Happy Travels.