My husband took me to see the cherry blossoms for the first time in 2016. In addition to the beautiful scenery, I remember the crowds, as well as his utter dismay. I took some photos of the blooms, snagged myself a funnel cake, and then I was done- It was too difficult to navigate through the sea of selfie sticks and extended arms; I was consistently snapped out of my reverie due to the sound of roaring traffic and blaring horns. My husband looked miserable, his pain only visibly subsiding, the closer we got to our car.
We did not venture into D.C. for the following year’s festival.
After writing a post about gratitude last week, I felt that it was only appropriate to engage in a little “me time” this weekend, indulge while my husband was away and take a moment to appreciate Life’s simple pleasures. I needed to pick up my other half at the airport around noon, so I packed a bag the night before (Think: computer, book, Samsung camera, and journal) and set my alarm for the next morning.
I was determined to pursue something that brought me joy.
The cherry blossoms were in peak bloom this past weekend, and I learned a lot by doing things a little unconventionally. If you are choosing to visit the incredible display in the weeks ahead, below are some golden nuggets of information:
- Get There Early– I arrived at 8AM on Saturday and was so pleased to see the Tidal Basin was moderately vacant. Several running groups and festival volunteer committees huddled in little clusters throughout the lawn, but I was able to stroll freely and stop for photos at will. I even was able to snag a few shots of myself under a canopy of trees without any other subjects in view: I brought my new Camkix wireless bluetooth camera remote with me, propped up phone up in a tree node and snapped away, controller in pocket. The photos actually came out pretty good!
- Park & Walk- With such an early start, I was able to avoid pricey parking garage fees and parked in front of the L’Enfant Plaza Station. If you GPS your way there and pay for 2 hour street parking, the max you’ll spend is $4.50 and you’ll be able to effortlessly walk the .8 miles to the Tidal Basin. (Took me about 15 minutes to reach my destination.) Even better? The spot is close to I 395 which means less traffic congestion when the crowds roll in.
- Dress In Layers & Welcome The Weather- I did NOT research the temperatures outside and it was flurrying while I was walking to my destination. I didn’t have any gloves or hat to combat the chill but once I had completed my first mile, I was warm. En route, I thought I had made a mistake as I worried that my photos would be sub-par with overcast features. I was extremely happy with how they turned out, however- moody and incredibly magical.
I loved taking my time, lingering down the deserted festival pathway while stopping at each cascading bouquet of flowers. I got to examine the subtle color differences of neighboring trees, take snapshots of pedals in focus against a blurred Jefferson Memorial backdrop. I was in my element, and am so grateful that I pushed myself out the door on Saturday morning.
I could’ve stayed home and cleaned, I could’ve gone grocery shopping. I could’ve used the time to get organized, scroll through social media, work out in my basement, watch an episode of “Shark Tank,” and do all of the other things I referenced in my gratitude journal as “priorities.” But I chose to invest in myself, spark the mind and fuel the body by taking a lovely tour of life in my backyard.
I didn’t want my outing to end. I walked back to my car an hour later and drove to a place that I have been lusting over on Instagram lately, Kramerbooks. By that time it was peak brunch hour and I was not able to easily get a table (It’s a Bookstore/ Cafe/ Bar) but I got acquainted with my surroundings and definitely took mental notes, as I will be back soon.
I bopped in and out of stellar shops in Dupont Circle such as Jenni Bick’s Custom Journals and Proper Topper, could have purchased several items such as this “She Persisted” Limited Edition leather journal and this dainty gold-dipped DC necklace. (With Italy right around the corner, however, I took a raincheck on all purchases.) Finally, I slipped into a cozy diner for a cup of coffee, bagel with cream cheese and lox, and some light reading.
When I pulled into the airport “Arrivals” terminal three hours later, I felt myself glowing. I kissed my husband, missing him deeply and happy for his return but so thrilled about the self-care experience that I made time for.
Every now and then, it’s good to take advantage of the lesser hours of the morning. Do you have any scenic spots in your backyard that you can run to? When is the last time that you chased after the sunlight?