The Washington Post is reporting that National Park Service has updated their guidance for the upcoming cherry blossom event (sometime between March 30th and April 9th)… basically, “Behave, or lose your privileges.” What does this mean, exactly? It means that they (the National Park Service) reserve the right to seal all vehicular and foot-traffic access to the cherry blossoms in-and-around the Tidal Basin should the crowds get too out of hand. Based upon everything else that we’ve seen elsewhere, it’s a pretty good bet that they’ll have to shut the party down, simply because people are tired of the pandemic restrictions and are done with being cooped up.
If you truly feel compelled to see the cherry blossoms this year — that you’ll simply DIE if you don’t get out the house to see one of the earliest and best harbingers of spring — then go early.
And I don’t mean 10:00 am instead of 11:00 am.
No, I mean get up early enough to drive down to DC, park your car, and walk to where you want to see the cherry blossoms around the Tidal Basin — all before the sun rises. Which means that you need to be standing by the edge of the Tidal Basin around 5:30 am.
Why so early? Because it gets nuts down there right around sunrise, and only gets worse as more and more people pour into that small area to be a part of the scene. From years of prior experience, I can tell you that it turns into a standing-room-only event — a tight-as-packed-sardines event — by about 8:00 am. And by 9:00 am the sidewalks and roads around the Tidal Basin are so clogged that everything is pretty much gridlocked trying to move through that area.
For me, as much as I would dearly LOVE to see the cherry blossoms this year (I too am done with being cooped up!), there’s no way in hell that I’m going down there to mix with extremely tight crowds until I’m fully vaccinated against COVID-19. It’s just not happening. And I’m not going into DC to see any of the other blooming sites this year either.
Instead, I’ll continue to post cherry blossom images from years past, and enjoy the virtual viewing sites that the National Park Service is offering up as an alternative.
UPDATE: The National Park Service has posted the list of roads, trails, and attractions around the Tidal Basin that’ll be closed between March 26th (today) and April 12th, which are as follows:
- Ohio Drive SW, from Buckeye Drive SW (Washington Channel side) to Independence Avenue SW
- East Basin Drive SW east of the Thomas Jefferson Memorial to Ohio Drive SW
- West Basin Drive SW from Ohio Drive SW to Independence Avenue SW
- Tidal Basin walking trail
- Northbound I-395 ramp to Potomac Park (Exit 2)
- Southbound I-395 ramp to Potomac Park (Exit 2)
- Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial
- Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial
- Thomas Jefferson Memorial
- Tidal Basin paddle boats
- All curbside parking and parking lots within the closure
Yoshino Cherry (Prunus x yedoensis) blossoms
Tidal Basin on the National Mall
Leica Summilux 50/1.4 ASPH lens
Leica M240 digital camera