I have a pretty firm stance against going to the Tidal Basin while the cherry blossoms are blooming. I’ve been swayed in this for photo shoots a couple times (like here and here), and of course I do love a good 10 mile run, blossoms or not, but I think the last time we just went to wander the basin as tourists was before I moved out here. It’s not that they aren’t lovely – they are. But DC turns into a total madness when those darn flowers bloom. The waves of tourists are insufferable, turning a pleasant stroll into an elbow shoving shuffle. And the parking? NOT POSSIBLE.
But this year the blossoms surprised everyone and bloomed weeks early. Thus, while there were still some tourists who redirected towards the trees, the masses that show up for the festival are not yet in sight. Maybe it is my crazy pregnancy hormones, but I actually wanted to go do the most cliché DC wander, so I convinced James to do an early morning date with me one day before work.
We pregamed the blossoms with some breakfast at Pineapple and Pearls, as I am a sucker for new places and just had to try those various sticky buns. In a true moment of miraculous intervention, we then managed to find a parking spot without driving around long at all, and joined the smallish throngs to marvel at the flowers. James tried to direct attention to the engineering marvel of Tidal Basin pipe work instead of the trees, and I briefly cried over the memory of a children’s book I once read. We became one more of the many people taking bump/engagement/wedding/family/insert occasion here photos and reveled in the perfect spring morning while I rocked all my best awkward poses.
[Sidenote: there were some old dudes fishing in the basin who cared not at all that the festival was happening. They were planted under some of the prettiest trees with the best light and overhanging branches — prime photoshoot spots. And indeed, numerous trios of classy couples and zealous photographers started approaching them…. only to be driven back by the stench of dead fish that the guys had scattered about them. Genius. If you want to be left in peace during peak bloom, bring your rotting fish.]
Sometimes I want to avoid cliché DC experiences almost out of principle. But then I get up early, trek around the Tidal Basin, marvel at the flowering trees and think, maybe cliché isn’t always a bad thing.
Here’s to morning dates, pretty blooms, and spring weekends.