WASHINGTON -- In an unusual meteorological turn of events, this year's calendar spring has coincided with the peak bloom of D.C.'s iconic cherry blossoms. Whether you call it climate change, coincidence or magic, the centennial celebration of the District of Columbia's cherry blossom trees is naturally delivering some photogenic flora.
And this year's National Cherry Blossom Festival has started this week, too. Familiar functions like the fireworks on April 7 and the Festival Parade on April 14 are sure bets for the traditionalist attendees. The festival is slated to last for five weeks.
With two newly-minted Capital Bikeshare stations, cycling is perhaps the best way to experience the cherry blossoms.
This weekend, check out the Cherry Blossom Bike Ride and Cycle Expo starting on Sunday at 10 a.m. on the Georgetown waterfront. The event will provide opportunities for bike maintenance, training programs and "the first celebrity-led ride" along the Capital Crescent Trail. (You must pre-register to ride and the celebrity is thus far unnamed.)
But there are those who just can't stomach the masses of people sure to be at the Tidal Basin. For the crowd-averse, the technical services department of the Casey Trees foundation has created a map of pinpointing the different types of cherry blossom trees all over the city -- Yoshino, snow goose, Kwanzan and others. The map is thorough and worth perusing; each tree has its common name, Latin name, who planted it and in most cases, a Google street view. If you're willing to travel even farther from the Tidal Basin, the Kenwood subdivision in Bethesda, Md., has beautiful Yoshino trees which The Huffington Post visited this past weekend.
As our way of celebrating, we've created a slideshow perfect for cherry blossom gawkers.