Where to Spot Stunning Cherry Blossoms in Virginia

by Patricia Keppel | Posted: Mar 8, 2017

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cherry blossoms

Image Credit: Visit Fairfax

If you have traveled to Washington, D.C. in the early spring, you’re aware of the famously beautiful cherry blossom trees. Donated by Japan in 1912, the trees symbolize the friendship between the United States and Japan. Visitors travel from all over the world to take pictures of the short-lived blooms during the National Cherry Blossom Festival, causing the Capitol to swell with tourists. But, just over the Potomac River, several sites in Northern Virginia contain the stunning trees without the hassle of the milling crowds. Plan a trip to these garden destinations and featured events to get a closer look at the Cherry Blossoms this spring.

 

—GARDEN TOURS—

Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden

Several gardens in Northern Virginia offer self-guided tours of the cherry trees, letting you take pictures of these Japanese beauties at your own pace. Contact the gardens before you visit to get the Cherry Blossom status at each location.

 

Green Spring Gardens—Alexandria

Green Spring Gardens has a handful of cherry trees along with a variety of other spring flowers, a children’s garden, and an indoor gift shop and library for visitors to peruse.

 

Meadowlark Botanical Gardens—Vienna

cherry blossom close up

Image Credit: Visit Fairfax

Stroll through 95 acres of display gardens and unique native plant collections at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens, including about 100 cherry trees made up of over 20 unique varieties. The park’s walking trails wind past serene lakes and showcase the carefully cultivated landscape of the gardens.

 

River Farm—Alexandria

Sitting on the banks of the Potomac, the 25-acre River Farm was once a part of George Washington’s vast property. The estate features a charming grove of cherry trees near the front gates, four acres of meadows with colorful flowers on display during the spring, and a fun children’s garden and play area.

 

—CHERRY BLOSSOM EVENTS—

Cherry Blossom Monuments Cruise—Alexandria

Masonic Memorial Spring Flowers

Image Credit: Matt Chenet for Visit Alexandria

Dates: March 17-19, 2017
Price: $30 round-trip for adults on weekends; $17 roundtrip for adults on weekdays; $16 round-trip for children under 12 on weekends; $10 round-trip for children under 12 on weekdays

This Potomac River cruise sets sail from Old Town Alexandria and lasts about two hours round trip as you view the iconic Cherry Blossoms from your waterfront seats while also learning about the monuments, memorial statues, and bridges you’ll pass along the way.

 

Private Cherry Blossom Boat Tours—Alexandria

Dates: March 15 to April 16, 2017 (or until cherry blossoms stop blooming); by appointment only
Price: $375 per hour plus tax

Book a private tour with Embark DC while the cherry blossoms are blooming for a unique, customized experience. These boat tours range from two to four hours, with the captain providing detailed narration as you explore along the Potomac. Trips can be arranged to include a variety of stops at well-known cherry tree spots and historic sites in the region, and you can even make land at George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate. Bring along a picnic lunch complete with Virginia wines, have the boating excursion catered, or notify your tour guide in advance to grill your own meal on the boat.

 

Water Taxi to National Mall: Cherry Blossom Festival Service—Alexandria

Dates: March 24-April 16, 2017
Price: $28 round-trip for adults; $16 one-way for adults; $16 round-trip for children under 12; $8 one-way for children under 12

If you’re just looking to avoid the traffic of Washington, D.C., consider parking in Old Town Alexandria and taking a water taxi to the National Mall. The Potomac Riverboat Company provides 30 minute rides across the river, getting you to the Cherry Blossoms quickly and without the annoyance of the weekend traffic jams often found in Washington, D.C.

 

Cherry Blossom Photo Tour—Alexandria

old town alexandria row houses with cherry blossoms

Image Credit: Matt Chenet for Visit Alexandria

Dates: Saturdays, March 11-April 8, 2017
Price: $20; $30 for two

Courtesy of Fetching Photos, this photography tour begins at Alexandria Visitor Center and teaches you some outdoor photography tips as you take in the spring colors that adorn the streets of Old Town. In addition to photography, the tour emphasizes the historic elements seen along the roughly one-mile route. Whether you have a smartphone or more advanced camera, the guides will work with your skill level to produce incredible photos. Bring your four-legged friend along, as pets are welcome on this tour!

 

Japanese Plum Wine Tasting at Green Spring Gardens—Alexandria

Dates: April 1, 2017
Price: $38/person

This spring, Green Spring Gardens hosts tastings of umeshu, commonly called Japanese Plum Wine. Sample these liqueurs while instructors teach you about their history, health benefits, and cocktail capabilities during the class. Because of the emphasis on the alcoholic beverage, the program is for participants 21 and older.

 

A Touch of Japan at Sully Historic Site—Chantilly

Dates: April 2, 2017
Price: $27/person

If you are interested in learning the history of Japanese beverages sans alcohol, the Touch of Japan class at Sully Historic Site lets you taste the difference between three distinct types of green tea commonly brewed in Japan. The event pairs the teas with sweet Japanese treats like mochi as the instructors tell you about the history of tea and how Japan has influenced the U.S. since the 1912 gift of the cherry trees. After the tea class, tour the site’s special exhibit to see artifacts from Japan, including sculptures, colorful Japanese fans, and traditional kimonos.

 

Ikebana Flower Design Workshop at Green Spring Gardens—Alexandria

Dates: April 8, 2017
Price: $38/person plus a $25 supply fee

Learn about Ikebana, the Japanese art of flower arrangements, at this Green Spring Gardens workshop in Alexandria. The class explores the fundamentals of the elegant art, full of rich symbolism, and at the end, you’ll take home the final arrangement you created. The Ikebana Flower Design workshop is for participants aged 16 and older.

 

Cherry Blossom Festival—Virginia Beach

Dates: April 1, 2017
Price:

Held at Red Wing Park and honoring Virginia Beach’s international sisterhood with Miyazaki, Japan, the Cherry Blossom Festival recognizes Japanese traditions, music, dance, martial arts, history, and much more. Both admission and parking are free for the event.

 

—CHERRY BLOSSOM THEMED PACKAGES—

Kimpton Lorien Hotel & Spa—Alexandria

During your cherry blossom-themed visit, stay nearby at the Kimpton Lorien for their signature “Blossoms by Day, Bliss by Night” package, which features deluxe room accommodations, a bottle of sake upon your arrival, two in-room massages with Japanese Camellia oil, and a $100 dining credit to either Brabo or Brabo Tasting Room.

 

More Locations to View the Cherry Blossoms in Virginia:

Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden cherry blossoms

 

The dates of the National Cherry Blossom Festival vary each year depending on the weather, but with the warm temperatures already making an appearance, the trees have begun showing signs that the blooms are quickly approaching. Visit around March 15-April 16 to see these stunning trees as they display their spring blossoms.

 

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