<![CDATA[NBC4 Washington - Cherry Blossom Festival]]>Copyright 2017http://www.nbcwashington.com/feature/cherry-blossom-festival http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/WASH+NBC4+BLUE.png NBC4 Washington http://www.nbcwashington.comen-usWed, 29 Mar 2017 11:26:51 -0400Wed, 29 Mar 2017 11:26:51 -0400NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Cherry Blossoms Bloom in DC]]> Mon, 27 Mar 2017 14:40:05 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/cms-1200.jpg Share your pics! Tweet them to @nbcwashington or email them to isee@nbcwashington.com.

Photo Credit: @KMAndersonDC]]>
<![CDATA[Crowds Pack Tidal Basin for Cherry Blossoms' Peak Bloom]]> Sat, 25 Mar 2017 18:51:37 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Couple_at_Tidal_Basin.jpg

The Tidal Basin was crowded Saturday with people coming to see Washington's famous cherry blossoms at peak bloom. The National Park Service said the best flowers will be around for another four to seven days. News4's Derrick Ward reports.

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<![CDATA[It's Really Happening! Cherry Blossoms Reach Phase 5 of 6]]> Wed, 22 Mar 2017 16:52:13 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/160*120/Pagoda+and+blossoms.jpg

The cherry blossom survivors of last week's snowy cold snap are preparing to bloom just as impressively as ever -- and they've reached the 5th of 6 blooming stages, the National Park Service (NPS) announced Wednesday.

Seventy percent of D.C.'s surviving Yoshino cherry blossoms reached the puffy white phase Wednesday, the NPS said. Although there is still one more phase to go before peak bloom, the puffy white stage is gorgeous on its own, as evidenced by photos the NPS released Wednesday.

It's a moment we weren't sure we'd get to see -- about half of the Yoshino blossoms were killed by last week's freezing temperatures. But the NPS announced Friday that blossoms that were still in earlier stages at the time of the freeze had survived.

The Yoshino trees also reached the start of their blooming period Wednesday, the NPS said, which is defined as when 20 percent of the blossoms are at full bloom. This period starts a few days before the peak bloom date and can last as long as 14 days -- although be warned that deep frost or extreme heat combined with wind or rain can shorten it, the NPS said.

The NPS is predicting the blossoms to reach peak bloom this weekend, with temps expected to be in the 60s Friday and the 70s Saturday.

The National Cherry Blossom Festival started last weekend and continues for four weeks.

'There Will Be a Peak Bloom'

Unseasonable warm weather had experts a few weeks ago predicting an early bloom. Then a late-season snowstorm and a cold front changed everything. Temps in the low 20s killed most of the blossoms that had already reached the puffy white stage.

"There was almost complete loss of those emerging blossoms," said Mike Litterst of the NPS.

But about half of the trees were in the fourth stage or earlier. Horticulturists examined some earlier stage blossoms, putting them in warmer conditions to coax them to bloom and found that they did survive the cold.

"There will be a peak bloom of the Yoshino cherry trees this year at the Tidal Basin, and we are delighted to be able to say that we know it's going to be beautiful, spectacular as ever," said Gay Vietzke, the NPS superintendent of the National Mall.

However, Vietzke said they anticipate there will be fewer blossoms than usual, so the color may not be as dense as we've seen in past years. Yearly visitors may notice a difference, she said.

"For those who are coming for the first time ... there will be a brilliant display of the white and pink blooms," Vietzke said.



Photo Credit: National Park Service
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<![CDATA[Cherry Blossoms Bring Specials to DC Bars, Restaurants]]> Mon, 20 Mar 2017 16:16:13 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/cherry-blossom-specials-2017.jpg Many bars and restaurants around D.C. will be celebrating the National Cherry Blossom Festival with these cherry-inspired cocktails and menu items. Here's your go-to list.]]> <![CDATA[Get a Cherry Blossom Doughnut While You Can]]> Mon, 20 Mar 2017 13:37:16 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000018151130_1200x675_902164035656.jpg

Astro Doughtnuts and Fired Chicken Head Chef Chris Kujala is in the studio to show off a variety of doughnuts including the restaurant's seasonal cherry blossom doughnut. Get one before they're gone at the end of the festival.

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<![CDATA[Cherry Blossom Festival Gets Busy Start]]> Mon, 20 Mar 2017 07:00:24 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000018146853_1200x675_901914179571.jpg

It was a busy start to the very popular Cherry Blossom festival this weekend. News 4's Aimee Cho is live with a look at just how many folks showed up to take in the cherry blossoms. 

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<![CDATA[Cherry Blossom Fest: 7 Key Event Dates]]> Tue, 14 Mar 2017 12:51:54 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/shutterstock_128578355.jpg

Despite the snow, the show will go on!

The National Cherry Blossom Festival started Saturday after organizers pushed back the opening date of the Tidal Basin Welcome Area from Wednesday because of the snowstorm.

The storm left many of the famous blooms strikingly coated in ice and about half of the blossoms survived the cold snap, according to the National Park Service. But NPS expects there will still be "a brilliant display of the white and pink blooms."

Here are the dates for the 90th annual festival's key events:

Saturday, March 18-Sunday, April 2: Tidal Basin Welcome Area and ANA Performance Stage: Welcome Area open daily 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; performances are scheduled daily from noon to 6 p.m. Admission is free. (Note: This is the only event on this list for which the dates were changed.)

Thursday, March 16: Pink Tie Party at the Ronald Reagan Building -- This bash raises money to benefit the National Cherry Blossom Festival. Enjoy bites from top local restaurants, an open bar, and activities such as a 360-degree video booth. Tickets are $90-$300.

Saturday, March 25: Opening Ceremony at the Warner Theatre -- Performers such as the EL Squad (featuring a "light dance") and May J (a multilingual J-pop artist) will welcome spring. Attendees must request tickets in advance. ticketing required. Tickets are free, but there is a $5 registration fee when they are claimed. 

Saturday, April 1: Blossom Kite Festival on the Washington Monument grounds. Hope for a suitably breezy day for this fest of demos and competitions, as well as the Hot Tricks Showdown. You can bring your own kite, and kids can make theirs at an activity station (while supplies last). Admission is free; April 2 is set as a rain date if needed.

Saturday, April 8: National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade and Sakura Matsuri Japanese Street Festival. The parade and street fair are some of the Cherry Blossom Festival's most popular events. Watch as colorful floats and notable performers make their way down Constitution Avenue; then enjoy Japanese cuisine and live music at the street fair. Tickets for grandstand seating at the parade are $20, but general viewing areas are free, as is admission to the street fair.

Saturday, April 15: Southwest Waterfront Fireworks Festival at the District Wharf. Enjoy a day on the waterfront with a beer garden, food trucks, live music -- and fireworks after dark! Admission is free.



Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Cherry Blossoms Will Be 'Spectacular as Ever': NPS]]> Sat, 18 Mar 2017 07:23:16 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/20170317+Cherry+Blossoms.jpg

While some of the cherry blossoms on the verge of bloom before the cold snap were damaged, earlier stage blossoms survived and will emerge next week, the National Park Service said Friday afternoon.

"There will be a peak bloom of the Yoshino cherry trees this year at the Tidal Basin, and we are delighted to be able to say that we know it's going to be beautiful, spectacular as ever," said Gay Vietzke, the National Parks Service superintendent of the National Mall.

Unseasonable warm weather had experts a few weeks ago predicting an early bloom. Then winter storm Stella and a cold front changed everything.

This week's temperatures in the low 20s killed most of the blossoms that reached the puffy white stage, the fifth of six stages of the bloom cycle.

"There was almost complete loss of those emerging blossoms," said Mike Litterst of the National Park Service.

But about half of the trees were in the fourth stage or earlier.

Horticulturists examined some earlier stage blossoms, putting them in warmer conditions to coax them to bloom and found that they did survive the cold.

“We anticipate there will be fewer blossoms than normal and the color therefore may not be quite as dense as we've seen in past years,” Vietzke said.

Yearly visitors may notice a difference, she said.

"For those who are coming for the first time ... there will be a brilliant display of the white and pink blooms," Vietzke said.

The cherry blossoms are a major boost to D.C.’s tourism business.

“We’re pretty discouraged by that news, but we know that people planning to be in Washington will still be able to enjoy a festival related that’s not just focused on the trees but focuses on many of the offerings around the city,” Mayor Muriel Bowser said. “They will continue to be able to go to all of free museums and monuments and enjoy Washington, D.C.”

The National Cherry Blossom Festival starts this weekend and continues for four weeks.



Photo Credit: Sarah Dean/NBCWashington]]>
<![CDATA[13 Spots to View Cherry Blossoms (Minus the Crowds)]]> Sat, 25 Mar 2017 07:08:42 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/163*120/cms736.jpg When the cherry blossoms bloom, you can expect to face crowds of thousands who gather at the Tidal Basin each year to check them out. Maneuvering through traffic and trying to get a good view can be quite the challenge -- so we're sharing this list of 15 spots where the flowers are just as beautiful to look at... without quite as much of a crowd.

Photo Credit: Legendary Homes]]>
<![CDATA[Designated Survivors: Get to Know DC's Other Cherry Blossoms]]> Sun, 19 Mar 2017 07:29:32 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/other-cherry-blossoms.jpg Some of the Yoshino cherry blossoms have been damaged by the deep freeze -- but with 11 more varieties of cherry trees in the District, there may still be hope to see some blossoms. Here's where to find them, how to spot them and what we know about their blooming schedules.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[At Least 3 Cherry Blossom Varieties Could Survive the Freeze]]> Thu, 16 Mar 2017 16:40:19 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-653286560.jpg

The cold weather may be holding our Yoshino cherry blossoms hostage, but with 11 more varieties of cherry trees in the District, there may still be hope to see some blossoms. 

The popular Yoshino cherry trees make up about 70 percent of D.C.'s approximately 3,800 cherry trees, according to the National Park Service (NPS), and by now you may have heard cold temperatures could have frozen many of our little blossom friends.

However, all hope is not lost -- it's possible that not all Yoshino blossoms were damaged, and some other trees have different blooming cycles. Here are D.C.'s 10 other cherry tree types, where to find them, and what we know about their blooming schedules:

LATER THAN YOSHINOS:

Kwanzan cherry trees -- the second-most abundant species in D.C. after the Yoshinos -- bloom 10-14 days after the Yoshinos. Because the Kwanzan cherry trees bloom later, their buds are protected from the bitter cold we're experiencing right now, the NPS said Wednesday. 

The Kwanzan trees are projected to bloom April 10-13 this year.

They produce large, dense flowers with clear pink double blossoms. Find them in East Potomac Park on the Lower Potomac River side, near Buckeye Drive SW. 

The Shirofugen cherry tree blooms later than most cherry trees. You can recognize these blooms by their fluffy pink petals. To find these trees, try the area along Ohio Drive SW just south of Independence Avenue, south of the Korean War Veterans Memorial.

The Usuzumi-zakura cherry tree variety also blooms after the Yoshinos, and the blossoms change from pink to white. In Japan, some Usuzumis are more than 1,500 years old. Find D.C.'s along Ohio Drive SW, northwest of the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial.

RANDOM BLOOMING SCHEDULE:

The autumn flowering cherry trees can bloom at any time of year, including fall and during warm spells in the winter. Look for smaller, less showy blossoms. You can find these trees near Bathing Beach, just slightly northeast of the Thomas Jefferson Memorial.

BLOOMING SCHEDULE UNCLEAR:

(We're waiting to hear back from the NPS on when these varieties bloom.)

The Akebono is a variant of the more common cherry tree and is located along Ohio Drive SW near Independence Avenue, just south of the Korean War Veterans Memorial. These small blossoms look very similar to the classic Yoshino cherry blossoms but have a slightly pink look. The NPS says they are also "less showy."

The Fugenzo trees are a great example of how cherry trees are grafted and are easily distinguished by their thick, straight trunks, according to the NPS. These are located along Ohio Drive SW on the Lower Potomac River side, west of the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial.

Sargent cherry trees are planted individually and scattered throughout Potomac Park. You can find some southwest of the Jefferson Memorial, just south of the Washington Channel bridge in Potomac Park. To spot these small pink blooms, look for the leaves that unfurl with a purplish or bronze hue.

The Takesimensis cherry trees have shorter, stubbier twigs compared to other cherry varieties. They were planted at Hains Point, the tip of land between the Washington Channel and the lower Potomac River, because they were expected to better tolerate the flood-prone area.

Weeping cherry trees are easily identified by their long, drooping branches. They are found throughout the park, but you can find some along the Washington Channel by the Ohio Drive SW and Buckeye Drive SW intersection.

EARLIER THAN YOSHINOS:

It may be a bit too late to see some of these this year.

Afterglow cherry trees bloom early and tend to peak ahead of the Yoshino blossoms. These are situated just south of the U.S. Interior Department and U.S. Park Police buildings, along the Lower Potomac River side of Ohio Drive SW in Potomac Park.

Okame cherry trees have an earlier bloom and peak before the Yoshinos. Their bright pink blooms with longer, thinner pedals make them easy to spot. Find these near the cherry blossom shuttle stop on the Washington Channel side of Ohio Drive SW, just north of the Francis Case Memorial Bridge.



Photo Credit: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[DC Cherry Blossoms Suffer 'Widespread Damage' Due to Cold]]> Wed, 15 Mar 2017 18:07:09 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/221*120/nps_frozen_cherry_blossoms.png

Some of the famous cherry blossoms around Washington, D.C.'s Tidal Basin suffered "widespread damage" because of bitterly cold weather this week and they are still at risk, the National Park Service says.

Low overnight temperatures damaged many blossoms that had reached the "puffy white" stage of blooming, which is the fifth of six stages in the bloom cycle. About half of the trees around the Tidal Basin were in the puffy white stage when temperatures dropped.

"The number of cherry trees that reach the blossom stage may be reduced as a result of the recent cold temperatures," the park service said in an announcement Wednesday morning. 

This is the first time in the trees' 105-year history that they will not reach peak bloom.

Temperatures below 27 degrees kill about 10 percent of the blossoms, as News4 previously reported. At 24 degrees or lower, about 90 percent of the pink petals die.

The temperature early Wednesday dropped below the critical 24 degree mark, and temperatures are expected to be in the low 20s for the next two nights. 

The cherry blossoms were strikingly encased in ice after snowfall late Monday and early Tuesday.

The National Cherry Blossom Festival is still on, but the opening date of the welcome area and ANA Performance Stage has been pushed back from Wednesday to Saturday, organizers announced Tuesday morning. Organizers cited "setup delays caused by the storm."

Peak bloom of the Yoshino variety of the trees still is expected to occur between Sunday and Wednesday. Other types of cherry blossom trees, including the Kwanzans, are expected to be protected from the cold. They are projected to be in peak bloom from April 10 to 13. 

The closer the trees are to being in bloom, the more at risk of damage the blossoms are, said Park Service spokesman Mike Litterst. If the blossoms are still tight in buds, they're "hopefully" still protected. The cold may damage the flowers, but the trees themselves are expected to be fine. 

If you see a cherry blossom tree covered in ice, leave it alone. Shaking the branches to try to clear the snow and ice can cause damage, the National Park Service says.

Officials will leave the trees alone, too. 

"Our policy is just to let nature take it's course," Litterst said. 

No matter what, the Tidal Basin should have some beautiful blossoms, Park Service horticulturist Michael Stachowicz said Wednesday.

"There might be enough of these green buds that are still waiting to come out and enough other backups coming up that it's still going to be a pretty spectacular show," he said.



Photo Credit: NPS
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<![CDATA[Cold May Kill DC's Cherry Blossoms]]> Wed, 15 Mar 2017 07:44:28 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/221*120/nps_frozen_cherry_blossoms.png

Washington's famous cherry blossoms were encased in ice after snowfall late Monday and early Tuesday -- but low temperatures expected over the next few days will be more dangerous for the blooms.

The storm that covered Washington with more than 2 inches of snow left many of the famous cherry blossoms on the Tidal Basin strikingly coated in ice. Some brown spots are visible on the flowers.

More troublesome, though, is that temperatures are expected to drop below "the critical 27 degree mark" at which the blossoms die, National Park Service spokesman Mike Litterst said.

"Our big concern is the overnight temperatures for the next three nights, which are expected to drop below 27 degrees," he said.

Storm Team4 is forecasting lows of as cold as 23 degrees.

Temperatures below 27 degrees kill about 10 percent of the blossoms, as News4 previously reported. At 24 degrees or colder, about 90 percent of the pink petals die.

The National Cherry Blossom Festival is still on, but the opening date of the welcome area and ANA Performance Stage has been pushed back from Wednesday to Saturday, organizers announced Tuesday morning. Organizers cited "setup delays caused by the storm."

The closer the trees are to being in bloom, the more at risk of damage the blossoms are, Litterst said. If the blossoms are still tight in buds, they're "hopefully" still protected. The cold may damage the flowers, but the trees themselves are expected to be fine. 

If you see a cherry blossom tree covered in ice, leave it alone. Shaking the branches to try to clear the snow and ice can cause damage, the National Park Service says.

Officials will leave the trees alone, too. 

"Our policy is just to let nature take it's course," Litterst said. 

Cherry blossom watch is on.

"We'll know more over the next couple days," the park service spokesman said.

Stay with News4 for more details on this developing story.



Photo Credit: NPS
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<![CDATA[Cherry Blossoms Endangered If Temp Drops to 24 Degrees]]> Tue, 14 Mar 2017 13:04:50 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/cherry+blossoms+NBC+header.jpg

Go here for the latest on how the snowstorm and icy temperatures endanger Washington's cherry blossoms

A major nor'easter is expected to sweep up the East Coast, bringing with it snow, cold temperatures and high winds. That could be dangerous for Washington's beloved cherry blossoms. 

Low temperatures of 27 degrees would result in about a 10 percent loss of blossoms, National Park Service officials said. If the temperature drops to 24 degrees or colder, it could kill as much as 90 percent of the pink-petaled wonders.

"If we were to have a situation where a majority or a significant number never reach peak bloom, that would be a first," National Park Service spokesman Mike Litterst said.

The Park Service previously estimated that peak bloom would occur March 19-22.

The cherry blossoms reach peak bloom when 70 percent of the trees along the Tidal Basin are in bloom. Many of the blossoms are now in stage 4 of 6, with stage 6 being their peak.

The D.C. area is expected to get 4 to 8 inches of snow Monday night, and it will be even colder Thursday. Storm Team4's Tom Kierein said temperatures on Thursday may get dangerously close to the 24-degree threshold.

Other outdoor plants also could be in danger. Susan Burke of Johnson's Florist & Garden Centers advised placing burlap or a thin bed sheet on flowers to protect them from the cold.

The National Park Service said the cherry blossoms were holding their own Sunday thanks to higher than forecasted temperatures. We'll have to wait and see what this week has in store for them. The park service said we'll know more as the storm approaches.



Photo Credit: NBCWashington]]>
<![CDATA[Cherry Blossom Pop-Up Bar Opens in Shaw]]> Thu, 02 Mar 2017 12:51:50 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/flower+power1.jpg

If you're so impatient for the cherry blossoms that you're ready to celebrate now, two new pop-up bars from the people behind Miracle on Seventh Street may offer a solution.

Starting Wednesday, the Cherry Blossom PUB (pop-up bar) will be taking over Southern Efficiency and Mockingbird Hill on 7th Street NW in Shaw.

Southern Efficiency will feature Japanese-themed décor, food and cocktails, while Mockingbird Hill will be decked out in a Super Mario Bros. theme with food and drinks to match. Bartenders will wear red hats and overalls, and a Mario Kart contest is planned.

The pop-ups are the latest creation of Drink Company, the same group responsible for the popular holiday-themed pop-up Miracle on Seventh Street.

"This pop-up brings together some of my favorite things under one roof, including both classic cocktails and Mario nostalgia," said Drink Company owner Derek Brown in a press release. "Just imagine our Miracle on 7th Street pop-up with a moustache and horde of hand-waving, lucky cats."

The menu for Cherry Blossom PUB celebrates Japanese specialties such as edamame, pork gyoza and seaweed salad along with Japanese sake and whiskey. Themed cocktails such as 1000 Paper Cranes, Eat, Drink and Be Cherry and I Call Yoshi are all priced at $13.  

The Cherry Blossom PUB will be open at 1841-1843 7th Street NW from Wednesday through April 15. 


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<![CDATA[LIVECAM: See Cherry Blossoms From Your Desk]]> Wed, 08 Mar 2017 18:26:40 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-468912040.jpg

Stuck at work as the cherry blossoms' peak bloom dates edge ever closer? We sympathize. Fortunately, EarthCam and the National Park Service (NPS) are livestreaming from the Tidal Basin as the blooms come into view.

You can view the live cam here.

Peak bloom is expected to happen in the range of March 19-22, according to an updated prediction from the NPS Wednesday. Peak bloom is considered to occur when 70 percent of the Yoshino cherry trees along the Tidal Basin are in bloom. Of course, that means the trees are plenty beautiful ahead of that.

This year's National Cherry Blossom Festival kicks off March 15 and runs through April 16. Check out 7 can't-miss events here.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[13 Things You May Not Know About the Blossoms]]> Thu, 02 Mar 2017 11:53:41 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/166043094%282%29.jpg

It's early March, but don't tell the trees -- Cherry Blossom season is already underway in D.C., with peak bloom right around the corner.

The blossoms are expected to peak March 14 through 17 -- which is early. Usually, peak bloom comes in April, though last year it was around March 25.

That's caused the National Cherry Blossom Festival to stretch, with the festival now starting on March 15. It will last until April 16.

Even if you've lived here for years, we bet there are some things you've just never known about the trees.

Don't want to break the law? Tired of tourists? Wondering what FLOTUSes have to do with any of this? Read on:

Peak dates aren't everything:

Peak bloom occurs when 70 percent of the Yoshino cherry trees along the Tidal Basin are in bloom. But don't think you have to wait until then to actually enjoy the sights. First, we promise they're still pretty at 50 percent or less. They're the cherry blossoms, after all.

Besides, there are several phases during what the NPS calls "Bloomwatch." The trees start to get pretty during the extremely scientific-sounding phase of Peduncle Elongation, and the not-even-a-little scientific-sounding phase of Puffy White. Those usually happens 6-10 days and 4-6 days before peak bloom, respectively.

Finally, some varieties of cherry trees bloom sooner than the Yoshino trees (more on that further below).

Weather sets the rules (unfortunately):

We know the warm weather has sped up the bloom this year. And that's not uncommon. Extremely warm or cold temps have led to peak bloom as early as March 15 (1990) and as late as April 18 (1958), and rain or wind can cut the blooming period short. 

Something you shouldn't think about:

Directly from the NPS: "A late frost can prevent the trees from blooming at all." (But you didn't just read that.)

How to hide from tourists:

Teeming masses may be the first thing that pops into your mind when it comes to seeing the blossoms. But cherry trees are located all over the D.C. area -- you don't have to pack into the crowds at the Tidal Basin.

Instead, try the grounds of the Washington Monument (OK, that may only be slightly better); Anacostia Park, Dumbarton Oaks in Georgetown; the Kenwood neighborhood of Bethesda, Maryland, or several other spots.

Don't fight the law:

It's actually illegal to climb the delicate trees or to pick blossoms or branches. In fact, new blossoms can never grow again from a twig or branch that has been snapped -- so just say no.

You also shouldn't walk directly under the trees; that compacts the soil and makes it harder for the trees to absorb water. And we don't want that.

Don't be fooled by fakes:

Impostors are out there! Blossoms on plenty of other trees can resemble cherry blossoms. Of course, that doesn't make them any less enjoyable, but doppelgangers may include almond trees, damson trees, or apple, peach, pear and plum blossoms, according to the British Natural History Museum. Dogwood trees and magnolias are a couple of other tricky ones.

Colors may vary:

Of course, just to throw some more confusion into the mix, cherry blossoms can be white, ivory, pale pink or bright pink.

So who's who (and when do they bloom)?

Yoshino and Kwanzan are the two most prominent varieties of cherry tree in D.C., according to the NPS, although you'll find several other breeds as well.

Yoshinos are dominant around the Tidal Basin and on the grounds of the Washington Monument, according to the NPS. Yoshinos have single white blossoms, but the trees are mixed in with a small number of Akebono cherry trees, a mutation of the Yoshino tree that has pale pink blossoms.

If you miss their peak bloom, don't fret. The Kwanzan cherry trees bloom about two weeks after the Yoshinos. You'll find them in East Potomac Park with their clear pink double blossoms.

Weeping Japanese cherry trees (also called Higan cherry trees) are interspersed among the others. Their blossoms vary, but can be both single and double, and white to dark pink. They bloom about one week before the Yoshinos, the NPS said.

Long time coming:

First efforts to get cherry blossoms in D.C. began with Eliza Ruhamah Scidmore in 1885, but her proposal was ignored for decades.

Yes, persistence pays off. After trying to raise money to buy the trees, she ultimately wrote to First Lady Helen Taft, who took up the cause and received an offer from Japan to donate the trees.

FLOTUSes (FLOTi?) in charge:

The original batch of trees arrived in 1910 but were infested with nematodes and had to be burned. Two years later, Mrs. Taft and Japanese Viscountess Iwa Chinda ceremonially planted the new batch of trees.

More than half a century later, Lady Bird Johnson and Ryuji Takeuchi, wife of Japan's ambassador, reenacted the planting ceremony of 1912 after Japan gifted another set of trees to Lady Bird. Many of these 1965 trees were planted on the grounds of the Washington Monument.

After Pearl Harbor:

Four days after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, four cherry trees were cut down in suspected retaliation for the attack.

While the exact reason for the vandalism never was determined, the trees were temporarily referred to as "Oriental" flowering cherry trees in hopes of preventing more damage, the NPS said.

Repairing Relations With Japan:

In 1952, Japan asked the U.S. for help restoring a grove of cherry trees that had fallen into disrepair near Tokyo during the war. The NPS shipped budwood from descendants of D.C.'s first cherry trees back to Tokyo to try to restore the original grove.

Reinforcements sometimes necessary:

No, they're not all from 1912. New trees have been regularly planted, including in 1965, the late 1980s, 1999 and from 2002 to 2006, according to the NPS.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Your 2016 Cherry Blossom Pics]]> Fri, 25 Mar 2016 18:17:36 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/cb-88db664e-9e17-484c-8ba5-854787b9ec3a1.jpg We asked you to send your cherry blossom pics, and boy did you deliver! Check out everyone's images right here. (And if you have more, tweet them @nbcwashington or email them to isee@nbcwashington.com.)

Photo Credit: Jiemin Liu]]>
<![CDATA[Blossoms Without Crowds: Alternative Viewing Spots]]> Wed, 16 Mar 2016 12:04:29 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/CherryBlossoms2.jpg

It's getting warmer, Metrorail is standing room only and "escalefters" (those who stand on the walking side) are clogging the escalators. Ah, it must be cherry blossom season.

As thousands of people flock to the Tidal Basin to see the blossoms in peak bloom, consider one of these alternative locations for an uninterrupted view.

  • American University in Northwest D.C. also serves as an arboretum and is home to more than 75 different tree species, including the Korean Cherry. The trees were planted in 1943 outside of the old School of International Service, now renamed as the East Quad Building, blooming each year as a plaque testifying to the AU-Korean friendship.

  • Anacostia Park offers a view of the blossoms along the Anacostia River. The National Park Service and the 11th Street Bridge Park are hosting the second annual Anacostia River Festival on Sunday, April 17, the official closing program of the 2016 National Cherry Blossom Festival. The free event will feature activities including kayaking, boating, fishing workshops, art projects, music and a bike parade (although the cherry blossoms themselves will be long gone by then).

  • Historic Dumbarton Oaks in Georgetown is one of the most scenic areas in the city. Formerly home to Robert Woods Bliss and his wife, Mildred, the estate and the garden make for a perfectly lovely, perfectly tucked-away place to view the blooms.

  • Foxhall Village, slightly northwest of Georgetown, is a secret spot where locals like to take in the blossoms. Yoshino cherry trees line most streets, but Surrey Lane features Quanson cherry trees that blossom slightly later than trees around the Tidal Basin.

  • The Kenwood area in Chevy Chase is (quietly) renowned for its beauty during cherry blossom season. Locals say this is one of the best, least congested ways to take in the cherry blossoms.

  • The Meadowlark Botanical Gardens in Northern Virginia has a number of walking paths that circle around beautiful lakes surrounded by cherry trees. The flowering trees at Lake Caroline echo the scene of the blossoms along the Tidal Basin.

  • Montrose Park is a well-kept secret in Georgetown just a few steps from Dumbarton Oaks. The park is publicly owned and chock full of open space and beautiful trees.

  • Stanton Park, a four-acre park located in Capitol Hill, is surrounded by cherry trees. Busy streets run nearby, but the park offers a play area, walkways and a grassy area perfect for a spring picnic.

  • The U.S. National Arboretum is not just a primo locale to check out the cherry blossoms; this botanical research center is also home to several other varieties of shrub and floral life. For the botany buffs, an open-air tour will give you the history and habits of the arboretum's blossoms.

  • Washington National Cathedral is one of D.C.'s most awe-inspiring structures. The beautiful neo-Gothic design makes it a wondrous place to just sit and exist any time of year, but during the spring when the cherry blossom trees are in full bloom, the cathedral's other-worldly beauty becomes even more apparent.

We're collecting the best of the best cherry blossom pictures to post to our site, so tweet your best cherry blossom snaps to @NBCWashington with the tag #cherryblossoms.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Enjoy the Blossoms, But Leave Your Drone at Home: FAA]]> Wed, 08 Mar 2017 11:52:45 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-4689120401.jpg

Take all the pictures and videos you want, but be sure to leave your drone at home!

The Federal Aviation Association (FAA) released a video during last year's blossom season, reminding visitors that the D.C. area is still a "No Drone Zone," despite the great photo ops a drone could provide.

"Violators could face stiff fines and criminal penalties," according to the video.

The unapproved flying of unmanned aircraft, or drones, is prohibited in the District and in cities and towns within a 15-mile radius of Reagan National Airport. Rules put in place following the Sept. 11 attacks make the airspace around D.C. more restricted than in any other part of the country, according to the FAA.

"Enjoy the National Cherry Blossom Festival, but leave your drone at home," the FAA said. 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[2016 Pics: Cherry Blossoms From DC to Japan ]]> Mon, 13 Apr 2015 17:13:13 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/AP530477889564_10Blossom.jpg From D.C. to Japan, check out 2016's cherry blossoms in bloom around the world.

Photo Credit: AP]]>