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A visit to the DC Cherry Blossom Festival Day 1

Day one of our DC trip to the national cherry blossom festival.

This past weekend we took a trip to the National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington DC. The national Cherry Blossom Festival runs this year from March 20th to April 14th. A little quick history, the trees were given to the nations capital back in 1912 by the Mayor of Tokyo.

Now, when the trees start blooming, you know it’s now time for spring in the Northeast. Spring is a great time for photographers or anyone else. You can relax in the fresh warm air. Take in all the smells from the blooming flowers and trees. Go for a nice run and not freeze or sweat to death. Or just soak in the warm sun while enjoy the views of nature on a bench.

We started this trip with an early wake up (5am). Got gas and a small snack and coffee and started our drive down to DC. From Philly it is about 3 hours to drive there on 95. Heads up it is a pretty boring ride down the highway and don’t stop in Maryland unless it’s one of the two rest areas.

We arrived around 8:30 and parked the car. Parking can be tricky down here. The parking garages are not marked out very well and the spaces seem pretty tight. They’re plenty of on street parking spots but only for a 3 hour limit. Once the National Mall Museums open those spaces all but disappear.

It was a little cloudy when we first starting walking the mall. However, the clouds broke pretty quickly and we had clear blue skies for the remainder of the day. Personal I would rather have some partly cloudy skies. They just help make more interesting photos and help control the bright light.

Since the museums were not open yet we headed towards the tidal basin. This is where a lot of the Cherry blossoms were located, and boy was it CROWDED! At some locations it was extremely hard to get around.

While it may have been busy (didn’t help it was on a weekend), you still were able to get some nice shots. You just had to create your own image. You can always tell popular spots by all the tourist waiting for their turn to snap a photo.

There were so many trees and so many different angles to get, that there was no need to wait for that one Instagram spot. Besides don’t you want to be just a little different?

While it is a good bet to know that every angle has been taken before. One thing to take away from that, is while every angle and location has been shot before it wasn’t shot from where you were standing at that minute. Kinda confusing I know, but someone has shot that photo before you and someone will shot it after you. But no one will shot it like you. We all see things differently.

Crisp cherry blossoms with a blurred Washington Memorial

One thing to note: It is a lot of walking. So consider renting a bike or scooter. Or try one of the hop on, hop off buses. Me and the little one just walked. In the two days we walked about 15 miles. Next time I will be looking into one of the Hop-on, Hop-off buses.

Her little legs were tired but she’s a trooper. Of course we stopped at a bunch of the different sights for a little rest. We visited the Jefferson Memorial, WWII Memorial, Martin Luther King JR Memorial and a few smaller ones.

It is simply amazing how many new things we discover, when we come back every time. One of these nights when she gets a little older we will finally enjoy this city at night. Till than it will just be day time visits.

Once we walked the tidal basin (about 2 miles long) we headed off to the Lincoln Memorial reflecting pool and the WWII Memorial. At this point her feet were tired. So she kicked off her shoes and relaxed with her bare feet in the water at the WWII Memorial. All the while I looked for a decent photo or two.

This one was her idea since we live in Pennsylvania.

On a windless day you can catch a nice reflection of the Lincoln Memorial on the water. Today was not a windless day but it wasn’t overly windy either. I wasn’t able to get a nice reflection in the green reflecting pool water today. But I was able to get a nice photo with my daughter.

At this point it was noon and she was hungry. So we did what anyone would do and went off to find food. Around the national mall the only thing you really will find are those food trucks. Some are good. Some are not. We ended up getting some chicken fingers and fries. Chicken fingers were okay, the fries sucked. I think it was just the seasoning. Apparently they must of never heard of just putting salt on fries.

After the so-so lunch we went to some of the museums along the National Mall. On this day we only hit up the National Museum of American History and the Smithsonian Castle. I didn’t really take any pictures inside.

To be honest I was being a little lazy and didn’t feel like swapping out lenses, and the few I took with my phone were crap. But here’s a few anyway.

We ended the day with a little running around on the lawn near the Washington Memorial. Even though her little legs were tired, she was still running around. She was even doing some cartwheels and bridges. I think I got a pretty nice shot of her doing a bridge with the Jefferson Memorial in the background.

We even had a little time to stop and smell the flowers.

After we spent most of the day in DC, we drove to nearby Tyson Corner were I booked the hotel. We stayed at the DoubleTree by Hilton. I would highly recommend this hotel if you are looking for an affordable hotel close to DC.

We received an upgrade (just a larger bed) and some free cookies. The cookies were amazing. Didn’t take a picture of them because they were gone before our bags hit the floor.

If any of you have kids you know what the next thing we did. Nope we didn’t jump on the bed or have a pillow fight. We had to visit the pool for a little dip.

As the sun was set and we were worn out from the long day we decided to hit the rack for a little shut eye. We knew we would be back at it again tomorrow but a little surprise was in store for us. Guess I should have looked up what was happening a little better before we left. Anyway you can check out Day two post here.


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