Although the history behind what these cherry blossoms represent is too long to add in one post, a few of my favorite snippets:
- First Lady Helen Herron Taft and Viscountess Chinda (the wife of Japanese ambassador) planted the first two trees on the north bank of the Tidal Basin. These two original trees still stand near the John Paul Jones Memorial at the terminus of 17th St, SW!
- The lantern that is lit annually to open the National Cherry Blossom Festival was gifted in 1954 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the first Treaty of Peace.
- Through a cycle of exchanges and gifts over the years, "the cherry trees fulfilled their role as a symbol and an agent of friendship."
Il Mee is spectacular at only $13.95 a person after 10pm. We had a generous helping of various proteins and unlimited side dishes, until we finally went back home after midnight.
We all planned on arriving in DC at 9am to beat the thick of the crowd, and thank goodness we hadn't come later. There was a good amount of traffic going into the city, but not nearly as much as it grew through the afternoon hours!
A snippet of our day...
District Taco, a well known spot (over 500 reviews on Yelp!). However the line seemed too long for our starving appetites and we moved on. Definitely must eat there soon! Unfortunately, none of us were even remotely aware of how crowded every other restaurant was.
After trying Old Ebbit Grill and a few other places with great reviews online, we came along a restaurant that could seat our party of nine right away - seemed like a winner!
600 14th St NWSadly, our experience was absolutely horrible and none of us plan to return. We ended up letting the waiter know we'd just pay for our drinks and leave. Our still-famished group ended up at the closest food court and enjoyed an assortment of Halaal food and Moe's Southwest Grill. Although disappointed in our experience at MXDC, we saved a ton of money and enjoyed our lunches regardless!
Overall the festival was fun with the absolutely beautiful weather (balmy 65 degrees with some strong breezes throughout the day) but we may hold off next year for the packed crowds. Driving alone took over 2-3 hours (people were walking into the streets without a care) and with all the packed restaurants, it may be best to avoid the weekends to enjoy the buds. Hopefully those planning on going this weekend don't have to face as big a crowd as we did!
Stay Hungry, Jimin