the state arboretum of virginia

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.

Going into the Arboretum
Going into the Arboretum

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.

window eyes
window eyes

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.

Native Plant Trail
Native Plant Trail
hollow tree trunk
hollow tree trunk
Eastern redbuds along the Native Plant Trail
Eastern redbuds along the Native Plant Trail
Eastern redbuds
Eastern redbuds
meadows
meadows
trees, trees and more trees!
trees, trees and more trees!
meadow and flowering trees
meadow and flowering trees
pond at Virginia Arboretum
pond at Virginia Arboretum
strange alien beings
strange alien beings
trees
trees
flowering tree
flowering tree
conifers
conifers
in the shade
in the shade
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
a peaceful spot by the pond
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
conifers
cypress trees
cypress trees
wildflowers
wildflowers
Dogwood Lane
Dogwood Lane
Dogwood Lane
Dogwood Lane
The Tuleyries
The Tuleyries

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.

Church in Paris, Virginia
Church in Paris, Virginia


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walking through days of blossoms

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

2014-04-16 10.07.04
Blossoms at Lake Audubon
2014-04-14 10.05.13
Blossom in my Oakton neighborhood
Cherry blossoms at Lake Audubon
Cherry blossoms at Lake Audubon
Redbud
Redbud

“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

tulips in Vienna
tulips in Vienna
Tulips at Vienna Town Green
Tulips at Vienna Town Green
tulips in Vienna
tulips in Vienna
opening tulip from Vienna
opening tulip from Vienna
Vienna Presbyterian Church
Vienna Presbyterian Church
a blossom in front of the Vienna train
a blossom in front of the Vienna train
blossoms around Lake Audubon
blossoms around Lake Audubon
blossoms along Lake Audbon
blossoms along Lake Audubon
Along Burke Lake
Along Burke Lake
Along the 5 mile Burke Lake trail
Along the 5 mile Burke Lake trail
Our house in Oakton
Our house in Oakton
bleeding hearts around Lake Thoreau in Reston
bleeding hearts around Lake Thoreau in Reston
Reston golf course
Reston golf course
A view over Lake Audubon in Reston
A view over Lake Audubon in Reston
little buds at Lake Audubon
little buds at Lake Audubon
Trees and clouds in Oakton
Trees and clouds in Oakton
Oakton trees
Oakton trees
trees in Oakton
trees in Oakton
a tunnel of blossoms around Lake Audubon
a tunnel of blossoms around Lake Audubon

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.

“What a strange thing!
to be alive
beneath cherry blossoms.”
Kobayashi Issa, Poems

 

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a hike at white oak canyon

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.

Adam prepares for hiking
Adam prepares for hiking
White Oak Canyon stream
White Oak Canyon run
streams
White Oak Canyon Run
water flowing down the mountain
water flowing down the mountain
boulder crossing
boulder crossing
Adam
Adam

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.

ferns and rocks
ferns and rocks
waterfalls
waterfalls
Upper and Lower White Oak Falls
Upper and Lower White Oak Falls
Lower White Oak Falls
Lower White Oak Falls
Upper White Oak Falls
Upper White Oak Falls
ferns in black & white
ferns in black & white

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.

little white flowers
little white flowers
Adam crosses a log bridge
Adam crosses a log bridge
stream bed
stream bed
boulder crossing
boulder crossing
standing water
standing water
flowers
flowers
Adam
Adam
White Oak Canyon stream
White Oak Canyon stream
Old Rag Cottage
Old Rag Cottage
Redbud at Graves Mountain Lodge
Eastern Redbud at Graves Mountain Lodge

Needless to say, when I return home, I take a long hot bath and then drop off to sleep for an early night. 🙂

 

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baltimore’s privateer festival

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.

Argh, matey!
Argh, matey!
Raggedy Arsed Misfits of the Seven Seas
Raggedy Arsed Misfits of the Seven Seas
Raggedy Arsed Misfits of the Seven Seas
Raggedy Arsed Misfits of the Seven Seas
Random pirate gals
Random pirate gals
Interesting looking fellow
Interesting looking fellow
masts of the pirate ship
masts of the pirate ship
girl with umbrella
girl with umbrella
Pirate lady
Pirate lady
ships ahoy!
ships ahoy!
Colorful parrot
Colorful parrot
Hyacinth Macaw
Hyacinth Macaw
Healthy libations
Healthy libations
purple-feathered pirate
purple-feathered pirate
Performing pirates
Performing pirates
pirate shennanigans
pirate shennanigans
Baltimore Police Station
Baltimore Police Station
Fells Point
Fells Point
Arggh
Arggh
Pirate pistol
Pirate pistol
Snack time
Snack time
Pirate ship
Urban Pirates
Whatever
Whatever
Fells Point, Baltimore
Fells Point, Baltimore
Pretty houses all in a row, Fells Point
Pretty houses all in a row, Fells Point
Quirky shop
Quirky shop

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. 🙂

 

the national cherry blossom festival

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.

Cherry blossoms
Cherry blossoms
Washington Monument and Cherry Blossoms
Washington Monument and Cherry Blossoms
Cherry blossoms & Jefferson Memorial
Cherry blossoms & Jefferson Memorial
Cherry blossoms & Jefferson Memorial
Cherry blossoms & Jefferson Memorial

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.

Cherry blossoms
Cherry blossoms
The Thomas Jefferson Memorial
The Thomas Jefferson Memorial
Cherry blossoms & Washington Monument
Cherry blossoms & Washington Monument
Jefferson Memorial
Jefferson Memorial
Cherry blossoms & Jefferson Memorial
Cherry blossoms & Jefferson Memorial

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.

Washington Monument & cherry blossoms
Washington Monument & cherry blossoms
sun-bathed Cherry Blossoms
sun-bathed Cherry Blossoms
a peek through the blossoms at the Washington Monument
a peek through the blossoms at the Washington Monument
blossoms
blossoms
Washington Monument & blossoms
Washington Monument & blossoms

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.

Cherry blossoms
Cherry blossoms
Cherry blossoms
Cherry blossoms
Cherry blossoms - quite cheery, don't you think?
Cherry blossoms – quite cheery, don’t you think?
Me with the blossoms
Me with the blossoms

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.

Cherry blossoms around the Tidal Basin
Cherry blossoms around the Tidal Basin
hanging blossoms
hanging blossoms
the Tidal Basin
the Tidal Basin
ring around the Tidal Basin
ring around the Tidal Basin
blossoms
blossoms
The Jefferson Memorial, straight on
The Jefferson Memorial, straight on
Jefferson Memorial
Jefferson Memorial

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. 🙂

 

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