Hundreds of cherry trees in full bloom lined the whole arch of tidal basin. As I walked along the water, with the cherry trees on my side , I was truly enchanted by the exuberance of their blossoms.

Walking along the Tidal Basin

Walking along the Tidal Basin

The golden evening sunlight illuminated this whole setting: the water, the grass, the incredibly beautiful cherry blossoms, the people, and the distant buildings. I could see the Jefferson Memorial across from me rising above the waters, while the Washington Monument dominated the faint skyline of downtown DC on my far left.

Jefferson Memorial framed by the blossoms

Jefferson Memorial framed by the blossoms

A light wind continually blew the soft petals bathing us in petal showers, which made me feel like I was in a royal procession of some kind. Heaven, I thought, must be like this.

Obvious glee at being showered by the petals

Obvious glee at being showered by the petals

The basin was filled with people like me who had come flocking to the capital to be part of this magnificent celebration of cherry blossom. I came alone, but never felt lonely in this like minded crowd.

Heaven, I thought, as I gazed above me.

Heaven, I thought, as I gazed above me.

As I was walking, I suddenly noticed a man getting down on his knees in front of a lovely woman. I knew instantly what was coming, and I stopped to watch. So did the many people around me.

We looked at each others, complete strangers, then smiled. We clapped and nodded at the beaming couple. It was like the famous Japanese poet Issa so poignantly said,

“in the shadow of the cherry blossom
complete strangers
there are none…”

One of the lady standing besides me said in a hushed note, “Is there any place more romantic than here to be proposed?”

DC4

The most romantic time and place.

And we all murmured in agreement. I personally have never seen a place and time more romantic for a proposal than this one. It is like all the animated fairy tale landscape come alive.Every spring, when thousands of cherry trees (a gift of Japanese Government) around the Tidal Basin, the Potomac River and downtown DC bloom in earnest, it transforms the city into an ethereal dreamy heaven. Since DC has all its major attractions located in the same area as the concentration of these trees, it is easy to both enjoy the blossoms and attractions at the same trip.

A night time view of the tidal basin with the Jefferson memorial and downtown DC lights

A night time view of the tidal basin with the Jefferson memorial and downtown DC lights

DC being an expensive city and I being a grad student, I had to plan my trip carefully without breaking my budget. In my search for affordability is when I stumbled onto StudentUniverse. Combining zimride with the hostel deals provided by student universe, I completed my three day trip from upstate NY to DC in less that $150!!! Its not until next year that the cherries will come out again, but its never too late to plan anything, specially if you do not want to miss the magnificence. Review the hostels in student universe, get choosing the right one (preferably the ones located within walking distance to the basin), research the spots that you will go to enjoy the blossoms, and keep a look-out for the NPS forecast for next year’s peak bloom.

The Washington Memorial and the Cherry trees

The Washington Memorial and the Cherry trees


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