The very first thing that Spring brings to my mind is Cherry Blossoms!!
As winters gradually transition to warmer weather, mother nature adorns herself with these delicate pink and white flowers. It’s rightly said that “Spring is a lovely reminder of how beautiful change can truly be!”
In spring, these pretty flowers blanket the gardens and parks across many different places in the world.
The heritage of Cherry Blossom trees is closely tied to Japan. Cherry Blossom known as ‘Sakura’ are Japan’s national flower. According to legend one of the oldest trees in Japan were planted by the Emperors Keitai in the sixth century and were designated national treasure of Japan in 1922.
The Cherry Blossom flowers bloom for only around two weeks and thus impress upon the transient nature of life. In fact they are also tied to the Buddhist symbology. You can find a lot of folklore tied to the Japanese Cherry Blossom trees on the internet.
Japanese culture celebrates ‘Hanami’, which refers to the tradition of viewing of the gorgeous Cherry Blossoms flowers and picnicking under the Cherry trees.
Featuring today, some of my favorite places in North East United States to experience this remarkable arrival of spring.
In DC, the Cherry Blossom trees are planted all along the tidal basin of the East Potomac river. The trees were a gift from Japan to US with an intent to enhance the growing friendship between the two countries.
Every year, Cherry Blossom festival is held in Washington DC in the month of March/April. The three week long festival is also known as the National Cherry Blossom Festival and is one of DC’s largest events. The festival features a myriad of activities and events, the popular ones being the kite festival at the Washington memorial , the fireworks at the Wharf and the Cherry Blossom parade.
The 2019 National Cherry Blossom Festival is scheduled from March 20, 2019 to April 14, 2019 , Click here to learn more about the events and timings.
The National Park Service publishes information about peak bloom date of these flowers. The peak bloom date is defined as the day went 70% of the trees surrounding the tidal basin are in bloom. Be sure to check the NPS site before planning your visit.
We love going to DC, but Cherry Blossom season, makes the visit even more memorable.
Here’s, why I like Cherry Blossom viewing here-
- The Cherry trees planted all around the national monuments create a unique experience that radiates positive vibes. The reflection of the trees in the Potomac river leaves you in total awe
- The tidal basin provide a wonderful setting to appreciate the astounding beauty of Cherry Blossoms as well as to capture some beautiful family portraits (Don’t forget to carry your camera!)
- It’s a free event with no admission charges and is easily approachable by road and DC metro
Cherry Blossom viewing in DC is a very popular annual event and the place gets really crowded, highly recommend to plan your visit here early in the day.
Brooklyn Botanical Gardens (BBG)
This peaceful haven is nestled in the Brooklyn borough of New York. BBG has 200 cherry trees in 26 different species and is a quite popular Cherry tree viewing places in the New York metro area.
The park features a Cherry Esplanade which is a big grass field bordered by a series of Cherry trees on both sides.
A month long Cherry Blossom season or ‘Hanami’ is celebrated at the park and is culminated with their popular Cherry Blossom weekend festival popularly known as ‘Sakura Matsuri’. This prettiest festival of NY features multiple events showcasing Japanese culture, music, dance, food and art.
The 2019 Sakura Matsuri festival will be held from April 27, 2019 to April 28, 2019, click here to learn more about the events and timings.
The BBG website hosts a Cherry watch during the season highlighting where to find the Cherry trees in the park and their current bloom state. Do check it out before your visit.
Why do I like Cherry Blossom viewing here-
- The Cherry Esplanade is a gorgeous setting, and the Cherry trees are quite concentrated in this location
- There is a lot more to do here, since BBG features several other gardens such as Herb Garden, Rose garden, children garden, Water Garden, Japanese Hill and Pond Garden and many more. ( Did you know that the Japanese Hill and Pond Garden was the first Japanese garden to be created in an American public garden?)
- BBG has good amenities- food court, restrooms, gift shops and is easily reachable by NY metro
The admission to BBG is paid ($15 for adults) but the park offers free Admission on Fridays from 8 am to noon, March thru November
Branch Brook Park
We found one of our favorite places to experience Cherry Blossoms so close to home! The Branch Brook park in the Essex county happens to be nation’s first county park and is located close to Newark , New Jersey.
The park is known for one of the largest collection of Cherry Blossom trees in the United States. Featuring over 4000 trees in 18 different varieties has earned the park the title of Cherry Blossom Land.
The park is such a delight for all nature lovers and enthusiasts and offers a beautiful setting for all kinds of photographs! The Branch Brook Park also hosts its annual Cherry Blossom festival in April.
The 2019 Cherry Blossom festival is from April 6, 2019 to April 14, 2019, click here to find out more.
A noted attraction right next to the park is the Cathedral Basilica of Sacred Heart and is one of the largest Gothic style churches in the country.
Why do I like Cherry Blossom viewing here-
- The park is definitely less crowded and has more Cherry trees (both in number and variety) than DC
- It is open 365 days a year and the admission to the park as well as parking in the park designated parking lots is free (although a word of advice to get here early to find the best parking spots)
- And personally for us, the park is in close proximity, making it one of the easiest and closest places to experience Cherry Blossoms 🙂
The park is gaining popularity, and is getting busier year over year. If you can try to get here on weekdays, or plan early on weekends. Also the food options are limited, I would advice packing some snacks or food for picnic.
I cant wait to check out the places again this year!
Hope you enjoyed the blog. Do leave a comment and let me know what’s your favorite place to visit for Cherry Blossoms 🙂 or if you would like me to cover more details about each of our visits!