Having grown up in DC, I've been fortunate enough to enjoy the annual cherry blossom blooms along the Tidal Basin. By car, metro, and even bicycle, I've been able to take in the beauty and peacefulness of the lovely blooms, walking around, having lunch, and just hanging out. During the past ten years I've altered the routine to what friends and neighbors know as the erc blossom run (think Cannonball Run, although it's more like It's A Mad, Mad, Mad World). Here's how it goes from thirty miles out in the Va. suburbs in rush hour traffic in a market voted as America's most congested city;
The kids are adults and gone, so they pass (they wouldn't be able to handle it anyway); the Mrs. is a saint, so she's all in; and the neighbors sometimes join and once, actually sent their house guests (by themselves) to partake in the festivities, here's the schedule:
5:15 am - local Starbucks for some pre-sunrise caffeine boost
5:30 am - circle back for passengers, greet the paperboy, and we're on our way
5:30- 6:00 am - using the HOV lanes (dummies and inflatables are no longer acceptable) we travel down our nemesis I-66,
arriving at the Lincoln Memorial around 5:50am. We take Independence Ave. - this is where many go astray.
Car passengers are given a preview as we whisk (and I do mean whisk) by the Jefferson Memorial. Here's the
next major challenge - choose wrong and you head to Hains Point, a pretty drive by itself (w/blossoms), but
you'll never make it back thru growing traffic. Hugging the Jefferson Memorial we circle around to Ohio St., you
must stay to the right at all times or you'll find yourself on I-395 heading back into Va. and you might as well
kiss your day goodbye, you ain't gettin' back! On Ohio, parking opens at 6:00 am (it's closed from 1-6) although
5:55 on, it's fair game. Parallel park (one way traffic - you must park on the left, bypass inexperienced parkers and
move on to the next open spot - they'll won't land it in one try, trust me).
6:00 am - walk the quarter mile back to the Tidal Basin, advising guests to "Take it all in" ha-ha . Hit the Tidal Basin around 6:15,
the sun rises at 6:30. Walk the basin, see the sights, take photos to prove it, and be back in the car (walking along the
Potomac watching the rowing crews workout) by 7:15 am. Folks will be stalking you from the monuments until you get into
your car - you could easily sell your spot, paying for your next weekend breakfast at Marriott.
7:15 ish - Hop in the car, the challenge isn't over yet, DC is now a cross commute market with workers going into the burbs for tech
and beltway bandit jobs. Encourage passengers to exchange photos to maximize experience. Avoid the inevitable roadblocks
that are put up for the festival (or you'll end up on Rock Creek Parkway) and cross into Va, calling out monuments for the
out of towners.
7:45 am - Arrive home in time for Squawk Box - whew, that was fun, no really . Guests have lifetime memories ! (like an appendectomy)
Get there early, Washington Monument undergoing earthquake repairs
Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines
Martin Luther King Memorial
This is around 6:35 am, all around the Tidal Basin. You snooze, you lose
The Potomac River, very peaceful, pleasant and also pretty blossoms
Architect (standing) of the blossom run. Passengers including filmmaker from
California and neighbor's friend from India opted out of photo, wanting to max time
Photo taken by saint (had to say or she wouldn't come next time)