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Catching the Late Bloom in Washington DC

Posted on Apr 18, 2012 by in Domestic, Travel | 0 comments

Luscious Late Blooming Cherry Blossoms, Washington DC 2012

Itinerary:  Las Vegas, NV to Baltimore, MD
Length:  3 Days
Cost: $320 per person, all inclusive*
Redeemed: 1 Free Night voucher at Hilton’s Embassy Suites
Pts Earned: 11,500 miles (valued at $175) per person


This past Easter weekend, Mr. Travelbypoints and I packed up our trusty camelbaks and donned our new travel shoes – Vibram FiveFingers – for a weekend excursion to our nation’s capital.   Tempted by the lure of yet another cheap fare and the opportunity to see cherry blossoms in full bloom, we were excited to see that our scheduled dates coincided with the 100th year anniversary of the cherry blossoms in DC.  As is often the case, however, the best laid plans, particularly travel related ones, can be waylaid by the quirks of nature.

Two weeks before our trip, news of an early bloom started trickling in.  Headlines heralding an “early spring” gave way to more concrete prognostications of an “early bloom’ with a peak date set at March 20, a good two weeks before our trip.  Mr. Travelbypoints, who raved about the beauty of the tidal basin blanketed by cherry trees in full bloom (while he was trying to sell me on the trip), suddenly turned quiet and made no more mention of cherry trees or blossoms unless prompted.  Before long he began talking about booking a trip in 2013 to see next year’s bloom – which is when I yanked on the parking brake from the passenger’s seat. There would be no talk of a future trip until this one had even commenced!  Bloom or no bloom, our trip to DC was booked and we would find something fun to do to make it memorable.

A quick google search yielded some interesting possibilities – a free guided walking tour of the National Mall, interesting restaurants to try out near Georgetown and a visit to the National Cathedral were among those that made the short list.  Some further digging revealed that the hotel we were staying at, the Park Hyatt Washington DC, provided complimentary bike rentals as part of their concierge services.  Slowly, a vision of biking leisurely around the tree lined tidal basin and up to the Lincoln Memorial began to take shape in my mind.  I brushed aside my fear of biking in traffic and took comfort in the fact that we were embarking on a new adventure (thankfully, with helmets provided).

On the eve of Good Friday, we caught the red-eye flight to Baltimore and commenced on what would be a weekend full of walking and biking.  Peak bloom had indeed come and gone, but we were grateful to encounter a few late bloomers along the basin and dotted sporadically among a few of the tree lined backstreets of DC.   So, was our trip, originally booked to see the cherry blossoms in full bloom, a bust on account of the early bloom?  Pictures can do a better job of describing the amazing sights we encountered in our three days of wandering through the national’s capital on foot and two wheels.   Take a look at a few of our highlights and you be the judge!

Park Hyatt Washington DC

Tree Lined Streets near National Mall, Washington DC

Gorgeous Flower Lined Paths at Book Hill Park, Washington DC

Tulip Garden at the National Cathedral, Washington DC

Stop Along the Potomac River to Rest Beneath Late Blooming Cherry Tree, Washington DC

View from the National Cathedral, Washington DC

Dreamy Picnic Spot at the Bishop's Garden (The National Cathedral)

Biking Along the Tidal Basin, Washington DC

DC Tours By Foot - Stop at the World War II Memorial

Small Community Garden - Urban Oasis in the Middle of Georgetown

Last but not least, we discovered a hidden gem along our walk from the hotel to the National Cathedral.  Stay tuned to see what unexpected find made him nearly tear up and agree to an extended non-scheduled stop en route to the grand church.  More to come…

Cherry Blossoms Along Tidal Basin, Washington DC 2012

* Total Cost Breakdown for Two People      $640
Air: $300
Ground Transportation: $35
Gas: $-
Hotel (with $100 food credit): $225
Additional Food: $50
Activities/Incidentals: $30

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