This is one of the peaks of the past nine months I’ve spent in Washington, DC. I was eager to see the famous cherry blossoms around the tidal basin, near the Jefferson Memorial. They have reached peak bloom this past weekend, and that was absolutely lovely.
So yes, my promise to write my first post in 2016 from Texas is now gone. The back and forth between Austin and DC has stopped until I go back to Austin for good, in a few weeks. More on this in a later post.
For now, let’s go back to spring in Washington, DC.
The Cherry Blossom Festival originates from a gift of 2,000 cherry trees that the city of Tokyo made to Washington, DC in 1912. On March 27, 1912, First Lady Helen Herron Taft and Japanese Viscountess Iwa Chinda, the wife of Sutemi Chinda, Japan’s newly appointed ambassador to the United States, planted the first two trees. In 1965, First Lady Lady Bird Johnson accepted an additional 3,800 trees. The first festival took place in 1927, was expanded to three days in 1934, and to two weeks in 1994.
The U.S. reciprocated the gifts, sending Japan flowering dogwood trees in 1915. In 1981, DC arborists sent cuttings from the newly American cherry trees following the destruction of Japanese trees by a flood in Japan.
The cherry blossoms are of course especially impressive around the Tidal Basin, but you can find many in the entire region. According to some figures, more than 1,000 cherry trees were planted in recent years in the region.
Horticulturists from the National Park Service monitor different stages of bud development to be able to give an estimate of when the cherry blossoms will reach peak bloom. But of course, this is not an easy job. This year, the initial forecast was for early April, but was adjusted a few weeks ago and moved forward after warmer than usual weather.
In conclusion, the region is incredibly beautiful when spring comes, and well worth a visit.
As you can see from the pictures, there were a lot of people (I read that 1.5 million people come to see the cherry blossoms each year), and the weather was not sunny, which was challenging to come up with good photographs. Hopefully though, they will still give you an idea of the beauty of the event.
Source of information & additional links:
– National Cherry Blossom Festival
– This Day in History: March 27, 1912 – Japanese cherry trees planted along the Potomac
– Cherry Blossom Watch
– Cherry Blossoms in 360°
I’ll spend Christmas in Washington, DC this year, away from home. I have seen plenty of gorgeously – or outrageously – decorated houses in north Virginia, but of course the big attraction is the National Christmas Tree near the White House.
Although nice, I must say that the tree paled in comparison to the Rockefeller Center tree and its decorations in NYC, or even the decorations I could see in Texas (I’m pretty sure Austin’s Capitol’s Christmas tree last year was at least the same size).
Here are some pictures and a little bit of history behind the tradition.
Ninety-two years ago, the Ellipse, south of the White House, received its first Christmas tree.
In 1923, President Calvin Coolidge, the 30th President of the United States, lighted the National Christmas Tree on Christmas Eve in front of 6,000 visitors. The 48-foot fir tree was decorated with 2,500 red, white, and green electric bulbs.
Every year after that, in times of peace and war, Washington, DC would repeat this tradition.
This year, the National Christmas Tree is decorated in honor of the National Park Service Centennial, in sparkling gold and silvery white, the colors used for milestone celebrations.
For the 7th year in a row, it is illuminated by LED lights. There are about 600 LED net lights and icicle lights for a combined 6,000 watts. The lighting has been provided by General Electric for 53 years.
The lighting ceremony took place on December 3rd this year, and is available online if you are interested.
There were also model electric trains all around the tree.
The National Christmas Tree is surrounded by smaller Christmas trees decorated with ornaments made by “ordinary Americans, representing every U.S. state, territory and the District of Columbia.”
Here is the Christmas tree for New York, and an ornament.
And here is the Christmas tree, along with ornaments, for Texas.
Not too far, there was also a Nativity scene, and of course, the White House.
I can’t believe I let more than 5 months pass (again) without posting anything!
Seasons have come and gone from summer,
Okay, I don’t really have a winter picture because, 1) except for some cold days, it has not look much like winter in DC so far, 2) maybe because this is not winter yet officially!
The celebrations are indicative of the changing seasons though. It seems like only yesterday that I was taking pictures of Halloween and pumpkin decorations,
but Christmas is here already!
I hope you are all doing well, getting ready for the holiday season. I am not ready for the season, but I guess it would be too much to ask Santa to delay it just a little bit ;-)
So let’s go for it!
What are your plans for the holiday season?
After spending a delightful hour at the Georgetown cat cafe Crumbs & Whiskers, I stopped by Georgetown Cupcake, which happened to be on my way to and from the cafe.
Despite the rain, many people were waiting to buy the precious cupcakes, with a line outside in the street.
The store is basically divided into four parts. One has the cupcakes displayed, and this is where you order.
Another one has a station for staff to prepare each order. People wait in front of it for their order.
In the back, cupcakes are being made and prepared too.
There is also two or three tables if you want to sit down to taste your cupcakes immediately.
I must say that these cupcakes were really good. I bought six: velvet cake, chocolate ganache, vegan carrot, salted caramel, cookies & cream, and marble brownie and cheesecake.
The cakes were moist, and tasty; the icing was never too sugary. The size — not to small, yet not too big — was perfect.
If you are in the area, I highly recommend trying them.
3301 M Street NW (corner of 33rd & M)
Washington, DC 20007
As a cat lover, I’ve often wondered what it was like to go to a cat cafe. After all, these places make plenty of sense: purr therapy is incomparable, and if for some reason you cannot have a cat with you, it’s a great way to spend some time with some. It also either gives a permanent home to some kitties, or the opportunity for them to be featured and to interact with humans that could potentially adopt them.
One did open recently in Paris, but I had left Paris before that happened. Austin should have one by the end of the year. Fortunately, I arrived just in time for the opening of the new Washington DC cat cafe, Crumbs & Whiskers.
I spent an hour around cats (and other humans), petting them, playing with them and just enjoying their presence, while I’m away from my cats (them = cats, not humans ;-).
The concept is simple: you book an hour online, and you can come spend the hour with the kitties. You can also order drinks and some food in the cafe.
There are about 20 cats right now, all can be adopted. If you love cats, you should definitely try it. I know I loved it very much.
Below are some more pictures. You can see additional ones on my cat’s blog, here.
Crumbs & Whiskers
3211 O St NW
Washington, DC, 20007
[You can click on any picture to open the diaporama]
That’s it. I just finished the great job experience that I started 6 months ago in Austin. Like the legislative session (yes, the comparison is chosen on purpose) (no, I did not work for the government), it started slowly, increasing in intensity in the last three months, and the last 4 weeks especially, leaving the great team I worked with with nights without sleep but never defeated. What a great time I had!
Of course, as I’m sure you have noticed – or not! – that left little time for this blog. Again.
And then in no time, just like that, I’ll be heading back to Washington, DC, with all the joys and drawbacks that it implies. I’ll miss my husband and my kitties. I’ll miss Texas. But the experience will be interesting and hopefully will lead me back here.
In other news, Texas has been under severe weather lately, although not as harsh in Austin as in other places in Texas. Austin was mostly under flash floods that created great mess, but also brought some much needed water in a drought-stricken Texas. Here is what Lake Travis looked like before and after.
Finally, the sun is back though, granting me some time to enjoy this great state before I leave for a while.
Sometimes following your passion implies making choices, choices that are not always easy, but the ultimate goal is the happiness of everyone involved. Let’s see if we can reach this happiness.
Three months have passed and I haven’t posted anything. It’s not for a lack of anything to post about: I have spent the last three months around Maryland, Washington DC, and North Virginia, and I am now back in Austin, TX. But some things do take priorities in life, such as work. Yes, yes it does, because I love what I am doing. But that is a subject for another post maybe.
I still want to stop by today and wish everyone of you a Merry Christmas and a happy holiday season. Here are just a few pictures of Christmas celebrations from the DC area and Texas!
I hope y’all have a wonderful, wonderful Christmas!
As I mentioned in my previous post, I have moved to the Washington, DC area for three months, and er, well, yes, I am missing Texas a little bit.
But there are many, many things to see and visit here, so I’ll try to take advantage of my time here. Plus I am enjoying a very good and interesting professional experience, so no complaining.
Here are a few pictures of my first day in DC (although this is not my first time in DC, the first time was just a few hours). More to come!