From Dito Sevilla. Email him at dito[AT]borderstan.com, follow him on Twitter @DitoDC.
Washingtonians, by now you’re sure to have noted that we are deep into the collective spirit of spring. Having been confined by the last endless winter to a life inside, the out-of-doors is our new way of life, that is, until we are safely ensconced beneath the cool breezes of an air conditioner the moment Washington’s quintessentially south pacific humidity returns.
But for now, and for the foreseeable future the weather is beautiful, the city is buzzing, and the tourists have begun blocking the left side of escalators everywhere.
Nothing quite says “spring has sprung” in DC like the explosion of interest in Cherry Blossoms. Tourists and locals alike flock to Washington to experience the monumental beauty of more than 3,000 century-old trees in full bloom — a majestic, all-out full bloom with their dramatic dream-like effect on our city.
A Virtual Tour
Not having taken the walk around the Tidal Basin myself this year, I took a quick scroll through my Facebook news feed. The past two days leaving me dizzy from the spectacular white pink- and rose-colored blossoms taking my friends’ pages by storm. It’s rather impossible not to love them.
Even an allergy sufferer like myself can appreciate the absolutely breathtaking splendor they evoke. A temporary luxury, a perfect moment afforded an otherwise imperfect city. The gift of a people we would come to both war and peace with, in ideal circumstances the explosive blooms last no more than two weeks. Like all of nature’s gifts, they are unpredictable.
If you’ve had opportunity to see them more than once, chances are that you’ve developed a favorite spot from where to experience them… a vista which you think captures them as they can best be seen… the spot where you show everybody how amazing they are… and aren’t you lucky to live in such a beautiful city… and blah blah blah.
One more clichéd transcendent experience from beneath a branch across the basin towards the Jefferson Memorial and I’ll gag. One more photo taken at dusk as the weeping blossoms cascading toward the water are reflected back, creating a horizontal Rorschach of pink and blue beauty and I’ll vomit. They are beautiful, they are majestic, but they are not the best.
Kenwood: The Best Blossoms
For the best you’ll have to take a little drive, an adventure for most of you pavement pounding, bike-sharing Metro riders — but an adventure well worth the effort. You’ll need a friend, a car, a free afternoon and the desire to have a life changing experience. Less than six miles northwest of downtown tucked away off River Road in the generally banal suburb of Bethesda is a neighborhood of 300 or so perfect homes set in the most spectacular surroundings.
Kenwood, built in the 1920s, straddles a country club with which it shares it’s name. Grassy hills, lush valleys, impeccably maintained multi-million dollar homes set among quiet one-way streets and following a natural creek might be beautiful on their own. However, Kenwood offers something a little more. Taking inspiration from the late Dr. David Fairchild. He was the original importer of 75 weeping variety of Japanese cherry trees. Kenwood developers Don Chamberlin and Edgar Kennedy planted more than 1,200 Yoshino cherry trees in their new development.
The trees, at least 1,200 of which survive to this day, are magnificent. On some streets, the mature trees and their blossoms create a canopy, a street wide overhead explosion of pink and white clouds set in motion by the lightest breeze. The setting is magical.
The mall and the tidal basin are quintessentially Washington. They are the best our city has to offer and they are beautiful. But you’re denying yourself the best our area has to offer if you miss Kenwood.
Take my advice. Get in your car and take the drive. One right turn off River Road just past the Whole Foods and you will have long left the ordinary. One turn and Kenwood will envelop you in a car wash tunnel of blossoms. Park. You’ll have to get out; you’ll have to walk it with your own two feet just to prove it’s real. It is and it’s the best.
From Katie Andriulli. Email her at katie[AT]borderstan.com and follow her on Twitter @kandriulli.
Oof… you guys, this has been a rough week. We found out that Punxsutawney Phil is a damned dirty LIAR, the Cherry Blossom peak blooming dates have been pushed back, and to add insult to injury, a new dating site launched that exploits two of the only good things we have left in our lives: carbs and caffeine. Anyway, point is, I need a drink. And I’m guessing you do, too, so let’s get to the listings.
John Corbett is best known for playing Carrie’s err…rustic? boyfriend Aidan on Sex and the City, but apparently he also sings country music because he will be performing live in concert tonight at Hill Country. I have literally no basis to recommend this other than that if it sucks, you can always pound a few PBR tallboys and an order of chili mac and high-tail it out of there.
Doors open at 10 pm and tickets are $20… a small price to pay for what will probably be an epic people-watching experience.
Drunk people and art: it’s a pairing as timeless and sloppy as Snooki and JWoww, and the folks behind the ARTINI gala at the Corcoran tonight know that better than anyone. Get your tickets ($125) in advance for the fête, which features creative cocktails from the city’s best mixologists, hors d’ouvres, live music, dancing, and most importantly, the opportunity to get drunk in a pretty cool museum.
For the first time in awhile there’s not one, but TWO movies opening this weekend that have piqued my interest: Admission, which stars Tina Fey and Paul Rudd (and therefore can’t not be delightful in every way) and Olympus Has Fallen, which is essentially a Michael Bay movie directed by Antoine Fuqua (Training Day), meaning that there is an outside chance it won’t suck. Have some popcorn and high fructose corn syrup for dinner and make it a double feature… because you’re worth it.
Like most Borderstanis, it’s a tall order to get me to go to Georgetown at any time, let alone in the morning… on a weekend. But since you didn’t go out last night (right?) you should be able to get out of bed at a reasonable hour, which means you’ll be primed for the Georgetown Cupcake Walk, which starts at 10 am at Dumbarton House (grab your tickets for $20 here).
Eat three cupcakes for breakfast (which you will acquire during stops at Georgetown Cupcake, Baked & Wired and Sprinkles), then swing by Il Canale for an amazing pizza lunch when you’re done. The best part is that by the time you’re back home it’ll only be 2 pm, which leaves plenty of time for second lunch, brunch and/or napping, i.e. the perfect Sunday.
From Mike Kohn. Have an urban etiquette right that needs to be wronged? Find Mike on Twitter at@mike_kohn or send him an email at mike[AT]borderstan.com.
Given that Friday was the only beautiful day of the weekend, I thought I would take advantage and partake in my token annual visit to the Cherry Blossoms.
Unfortunately for me, I was not alone in that thinking. Everyone and their mother decided to drop by, so what should normally have been a casual walk around the Tidal Basin turned into a somewhat maddening journey that involved me weaving in and out of what I can only assume were several groups of tourists and fighting to make it across bridges in a speed that actually exceeded that of molasses.
I considered afterwards all of the things that I probably should have paid closer attention to, all of which apply to the Borderstan hood:
- Everyone takes photos. I did actually think about this and managed to stop myself short, but I had to apologize for being in a couple people’s memories when I was walking too fast to notice.
- There are WAY too many people traveling with pets and babies. I accidentally cut off a stroller. I did feel badly because the mother was clearly in distress mode, but I was distressing about feeling trapped behind her.
- Many of these people have never seen these things (or been to the District for that matter) before. While this was my 7th visit to the festival, it still has that inaugural excitement to it for a lot of tourists, so naturally, they want to stop and admire, rather than powering through. I felt even more aggressive than I usually do in a city where things are generally more fast-paced.
Ah, things to remember for next year…
Photos of the Day are pulled from the Borderstan Reader Photos pool on Flickr.
If you don’t already have a Flickr account, you will need to sign up for one, and then join the Borderstan Reader Photos group. Already a Flickr member? Join the group! You can submit up to five photos per day in the Borderstan reader pool. We are looking for photos from D.C.’s Dupont, Logan and U Street neighborhoods.
Spring Has Sprung!
Yesterday was the first day of spring, and this weekend certainly showed it. Hopefully you were able to catch some water ice for free at Rita’s at 18th Street and Florida Avenue to celebrate (I certainly got my fill of Wild Black Cherry). You’ll also have to start thinking about where you’re going to be happy houring when it gets really nice out in a few weeks, so TBD has some suggestions for rooftop bars and restaurants, several of which are in the Borderstan area.
dcist has it… April 3-9 are the predicted peak bloom dates for Washington’s cherry trees:
It’s undeniably still winter outside, but today we’re provided with a tangible reminder that spring is so close we can almost taste it. The National Cherry Blossom Festival had their annual press conference this morning at the Newseum, where they announced the peak bloom dates for D.C.’s famous pink blossoms: April 3 through 9. That’s the time period when National Park Service horticulturists believe the cherry blossoms will be at their fullest and most beautiful. The festival itself runs March 28 through April 12, with the popular Smithsonian Kite Festival and family day on opening day, and the parade set for Saturday, April 4. For more details on Cherry Blossom Festival events and schedules, click here.