Sunday, April 27: In response to Marianne’s challenge to take One Trip EVERY Month, today we drive nearly an hour west to the State Arboretum of Virginia. I’m tickled to find such a marvelous escape so close to my house. And I’m even more surprised that in the 26 years I’ve lived in northern Virginia, I’ve never even heard of this place.
In the tradition of Jo’s Monday Walk, we walk all around the beautiful grounds, where we find spring bursting forth in all its exuberant glory.
The State Arboretum of Virginia (also known as the Orland E. White Arboretum) occupies the central 172 acres of Blandy Experimental Farm. Started in the 1930s, it now contains over 5,000 woody trees and shrubs from around the world.
Blandy Experimental Farm covers more than 700 gently rolling acres of meadows, woodlands, shrub thickets, and plantings. Blandy is owned by the University of Virginia and is open free to the public from dawn to dusk every day. It’s a great place for walking, with miles of trails through a beautiful landscape.
pretty flowering tree
ponds and wetlands
Weeping willow and the pond
have a seat!
After leaving, we take a one minute drive through Paris, Virginia, a speck of a town where some old friends of mine spent their honeymoon so they could tell people they had their honeymoon in Paris.
Saturday, April 26: I’ve been taking 3-mile walks all winter, through the drab, icy, and freezing landscape of northern Virginia, but now my walks are filled with blossoms. Here are a few views of my springtime visions, as seen on my daily walks, either in my Oakton neighborhood, around Lake Audubon or Lake Thoreau in Reston, around Burke Lake, or in Vienna. All photos were taken with my iPhone as I don’t carry my camera while doing walks for exercise.
“It is spring again. The earth is like a child that knows poems by heart.” — Rainer Maria Rilke
“It is a very beautiful day. The woman looks around and thinks: ‘there cannot ever have been a spring more beautiful than this. I did not know until now that clouds could be like this. I did not know that the sky is the sea and that clouds are the souls of happy ships, sunk long ago. I did not know that the wind could be tender, like hands as they caress – what did I know – until now?” ― Unica Zürn
As you can see, I’ve been having a little fun with some apps on my iPhone, including Instagram and Snapseed. Oh, it’s so lovely to take a walk on a fine Virginia spring day.
Friday, April 18: This morning, we go for a hike at White Oak Canyon in Shenandoah National Park. This four-hour hike follows along a flowing stream and leads to some of the most beautiful waterfalls in the park. This is the best time of year to go on this hike because of the high water levels from the spring melt-off.
The only bad thing is that I’m exhausted from an overnight stay Thursday night at American Sleep Clinic. I’ve been having sleep problems lately, and last night at the clinic was not at all restful as I was hooked up to a bunch of wires. I am wiped out before we even start out, and the fact that the first half of the hike is uphill doesn’t help one bit.
Luckily, it’s a beautiful day, weather-wise, with a nice cool breeze. Sadly, the green hasn’t really come out on the trees yet, so it’s a little browner than I would have liked. But we do find a few glimpses of color here and there.
Needless to say, when I return home, I take a long hot bath and then drop off to sleep for an early night. 🙂
Sunday, April 13: Today, I join an iPhoneography group to mingle in the ranks of pirates ~ Ahoy, matey! ~ at the Privateer Festival in Fells Point, Baltimore. The festival is to kick off the War of 1812 Battle for Baltimore bicentennial year with “sails flying, bombs bursting in air, and a full-scale land invasion of living history, music, dance, kids’ activities, arts, crafts, foods and libations.” The celebration is in honor of Baltimore’s maritime prowess and Fell’s Point’s pivotal role in American history. The festival includes performances by The Pyrates Royale, House of Cadarn, Valhallas Pirates and more.
Every time I join this photography group, I feel like I’m utterly clueless about all the latest iPhone apps used to take pictures. I’m always fumbling about, trying to master the fancy adjustments that the others in the group seem to have mastered so easily. So, with a caveat to my iPhone photography ability, come along, matey, to mingle with the pirates of Fells Point.
After wandering about for quite some time through all the festivities, we all enjoy delicious pizza, after which time I drive back home to northern Virginia. Fun times. 🙂
Saturday, April 12: This morning, I leave home in the dark, at 6 a.m., to try to beat the crowds converging on the cherry blossoms, which are at peak bloom around the Tidal Basin. I know if I don’t get there early, I’ll never find a parking spot because not only are the trees at their peak, but today is the Cherry Blossom Parade on Constitution Avenue. It’s also Sakura Matsuri — the Japanese Street Festival. The major streets through D.C. will be blocked. It turns out I am early enough to get a parking spot on the Waterfront, about a quarter-mile walk from the Tidal Basin. It’s a gorgeous spring day, a welcome relief after the winter we’ve had.
Despite the early hour, it’s still crowded with hordes of people taking pictures of the beautiful blossoms and the Thomas Jefferson Memorial, dedicated to our founding father and third president of the United States.
I wander up to the Washington Monument because I’m supposed to meet my friend Margie at around 7:45. We meet up and continue walking around the Tidal Basin.
Each year, the National Cherry Blossom Festival commemorates the 1912 gift of 3,000 cherry trees from Mayor Yukio Ozaki of Tokyo to the city of Washington, DC. The gift and annual celebration honor the lasting friendship between the United States and Japan and the continued close relationship between the two countries.
In 1915, the United States Government reciprocated with a gift of flowering dogwood trees to the people of Japan. In 1981, Japanese horticulturists were given cuttings from the trees to replace some cherry trees in Japan which had been destroyed in a flood, bringing the gifting full circle.
After our walk, we stop for a leisurely coffee at a cafe and then I head home, where I get dressed to attend my friend Johanna’s wedding in Baltimore this evening. 🙂