The arrival of spring is only rivalled by glorious days of summer owing to its balmy, sometimes sultry temperatures. Besides thawing out from the frigidity of winter, spring offers spectacular viewing of its bloom, be it the tulips, daffodils or the stars of the season – Cherry Blossom. The epitome of tender hues, these delicate flowers peak their bloom around first week of April to the end of April depending how higher the location on the northern hemisphere. Once in bloom these fleur form a rosy cloud over the park and a decadent canopy covering some of the most pleasurable paths to walk any time of the day. I am going to enlist some of the parks and gardens in the United States that are famous for Cherry Blossoms that you can have the pleasure of visiting. If you are planning to visit during the month of April this post can be helpful in offering the exact locations to enjoy a walk under the rosy clouds. Some of the parks and gardens mentioned are a great spot to pack a picnic and have a relaxing spring afternoon with the family.
A gift from the people of Japan to the people of United States of America offered by the Mayor of Tokyo in 1912 as a symbol of friendship between the countries has made the Cherry variety of Kwanzan and Yoshino famous in North America. For over hundred years now no sooner its April than the fragile pale white blossoms shiver in the cold breeze over the Tidal Basin in the nation’s capital.
The Tidal Basin is a reservoir encompassing the Thomas Jefferson Memorial, Dr Martin Luther King Jr Memorial and hundreds of Cherry Trees planted along its entire perimeter. The cherry blossom festival in the United States kicks off in the first week of April (sometimes end of March) with the capital city blooming in creamy blush floral not just along the Tidal Basin but almost every street and park in the city and in its suburbs boasts of these affable blossoms. During my maiden visit to the festival, I was spellbound by the sheer elegance these blossomed trees add to the city. I began my tour of the festival at the receiving area of the Tidal Basin and walked my way towards the Thomas Jefferson Memorial. My visit to the Jefferson Memorial was short but enlightening about the history and his legacy. Standing on memorial terrace gives a panoramic view of the cherry blossom trees lined up by the reservoir. The memorial is a great spot to capture photographs and videos. Stand for a moment on the steps of the memorial and take in the view of the blush hue crescent before your eyes. In my opinion this is the best time to visit DC as its at its most beautiful.
Continue walking under the canopy of blossoms that form an exquisite awning just above your head and you will come across the Martin Luther King Jr Memorial – a powerful white stone sculpture of yet another monumental figure in the American history. At the MLK Jr memorial is where you will capture the perfect shot of the Jefferson memorial floating on the reservoir seen through the cherry blossom branches. The omnipresent Washington Monument with the frill of the cherry trees in bloom renders a stunning visual for photography enthusiasts or gramslayers. The walk on the Tidal Basin is indeed breathtakingly beautiful but beware its also when the crowds from all over the country descend to enjoy the festival so you may have to be smart about your timing to arrive at the reservoir. The earlier you arrive the better the time spent walking on the already narrow path at the edge of the reservoir.
Brooklyn, New York
The Brooklyn Botanical Garden celebrates Cherry Blossom Festival during the last week of April each year along with the Sakura Matsuri festival. The Japanese Hill and Pond Garden and Cherry Esplanade are in full bloom towards the end of April as the season of spring progresses North. The Cherry Esplanade is a large area with four rows of trees Prunus Kanzan type of cherry trees while the Japanese Hill and Pond has a variety of cherry tree types in a scattered and chain series. The admission to the cherry blossom season and Sakura Matsuri is free for members of the Brooklyn Botanical Garden or can be purchase through individual ticket as well.
Manhattan, New York
In the lungs of Manhattan, the cherry blossom season only amplifies the beauty of the verdant landscape of Central Park late April to early May. Let me begin from the north end of the park for the most scenic views of the spotted pink cloud above the park. The Conservatory Garden through the ornate and decadent Vanderbilt Gate on 104th and 105th street hosts a Cherry Blossom Tour starting in mid April. The cherry trees are lined up on either sides of the Jackie Onassis Reservoir but if you are a cherry blossom savant of sorts and would like to capture or visually enjoy a particular type of the cherry blossoms, walk along the east side of the reservoir for Yoshino trees while on the west side are Kwazan trees. Further south by the 79th street Transverse is another gorgeous walk under a lush umbrella of trees and a scenic view of cherry blossoms at The Ramble.
A short walk south to the Bethesda Terrace and towards the west is Cherry Hill which is a picturesque spot to pack a picnic or leisurely sunbathe in summer. Aptly named after the cherry trees on the gentle slope the turnaround is known for its overlooking view of The Lake, Bethesda Fountain and Terrace. Bethesda Terrace and the East Drive from The Loeb’s Boathouse too boasts of the Kwanzan type of cherry trees and the bloom in peak turns the Lake view magical. Central Park is 365 day respite from all the hustle of the city and no season goes without marvelling at its beauty and serenity.
My city is no stranger to the flourish of spring season and our dedicated Friends of Public Garden ensures the cherry blossom season is enjoyed by the locals as much as the visitors across the country and world. Boston Public Garden and Boston Commons has a string of 27 cherry trees – most of them being Kwanzan type and there are 3 Yoshino cherry trees in the Public Garden. Two of the three Yoshino trees in Boston Public Garden are from the famous DC Yoshino cherry trees planted in Boston to commemorate the 100th anniversary of this beautiful gift from Japan to America. My favorite spring or summer time activity every day after work is to take a long walk in the Public Garden and walk my way into the Commons for another leg of the walk. Spring is the most delightful time of the year to enjoy the park and garden. The Public Garden is famous for its swan couple and ducklings gliding on the pond with the weeping cherry tree making for a great silhouette and painting. Its the perfect place in Boston to go picnic and sunbathe while the flowers peep out of the beds and add a smile to your face.
Opposite the Public Garden is the Boston Commonwealth Avenue Mall which is lined with cherry trees and pink magnolia trees on its sides. The Commonwealth Avenue is one of the best walks in Boston I have ever had during cherry blossom season. Away from the city center on the banks of the Charles River is The Esplanade – a stretch of lush park on the waterfront with sailing and kayaking and rowing facilities. The Esplanade is most picturesque during the spring season thanks to the bloom of Kwanzan trees. If a good fat burning walk is what you are looking for while visiting Boston, this would be the most motivating mile to get it done.