Beautiful blooms, flowering trees, and sparkling sunshine are just the beginning of what you can expect from a spring in Virginia. The state is known for its historic homes with gorgeous gardens, and spring is when they go on display. Not as well known, is that Virginia is an ideal spot to view the region’s colorful annual cherry blossoms in their full glory.
Where to Spot Stunning Cherry Blossoms in Virginia
The National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington D.C.is, not the only place in the United States to view spectacular cherry blossoms in the early spring. Just across the Potomac River in Virginia, several sites offer stunning blooms with fewer milling crowds. Garden tours at such locations as River Farm in Alexandria, the 25-acre plot that once was part of George Washington’s vast property, or Meadowlark Botanical Gardens in Vienna, with its roughly 100 cherry trees made up of over 20 unique varieties, offer a convenient way to witness the capital region’s floral grandeur.
Colonial Williamsburg’s Historic Area explores dozens of original buildings, homes, and shops reconstructed on 301 acres – most on their original foundations. Rare animal breeds, historic trades, reenactors, and lovingly restored gardens add layers of authenticity to the Colonial Williamsburg experience. Virginia Tourism Corporation, www.Virginia.org.
Visitors can also take to the water to view the show. The Cherry Blossom Monuments Cruise sets sail from Alexandria, Virginia, offering spectacular views of the blooms on both sides of the river, or you can take a water taxi from Alexandria to the National Mall and avoid the traffic congestion. For an up-close-and-personal view of the blossoms take a Cherry Blossom Ride with Pedego Electric Bikes of Alexandria. Check out our blog for a wealth of ways to experience the Cherry Blossom Festival in Virginia.
History Comes Alive with Color
Since 1929, The Garden Club of Virginia has hosted Historic Garden Week. The inspiration dates to 1927 when a flower show organized by Garden Club volunteers raised $7,000 to save trees at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello. Now, for one week in April every year, visitors are invited to tour-inspired private landscapes, public gardens, and historic sites across Virginia and enjoy the Commonwealth at the peak of springtime blooming. Proceeds from the tours fund the restoration and preservation of Virginia’s significant historic public gardens, so the beauty can be appreciated throughout the year.
The Garden Club members also create more than 2,000 floral arrangements every year to enhance the tour sites, which span from the foothills of the Shenandoah Valley all the way to the beaches of the Bay, allowing visitors to take in the spectacular spring blooms no matter what part of Virginia they visit.
Embrace Spring with More than Your Eyes
Every year, in celebration of cherry blossom season, attractions throughout Virginia offer up ways to embrace the joy of spring with more than just your eyes. From cherry blossom cocktails and cider to cherry blossom gelato and cherry, jalapeño, and prosciutto flatbread, Alexandria restaurants truly capture the celebration by offering a variety of tasty cherry-themed treats.
In normal years, when COVID is not a safety concern, traditional afternoon teas are also part of the offerings of Historic Garden Week. The teas are special attraction as they take place at historic locations and are only available during garden week.
Other locations offer learning options with spring themes. Programs include offerings likeThe Science Behind the Flowers at the Children’s Science Center, which this year will be streamed online from March 20-April 11, or Plants & Design: A Japanese Garden Virtual Program with Green Spring Gardens, teaching the essentials for creating a Japanese-style garden, also available online this year on April 10. Discover a variety of special programming from Visit Fairfax on their website.
There’s No Time Like Springtime for a Hike
The past year made us all appreciate time spent in the great outdoors. Many have taken to hiking as an easy, no-frills way to explore nature without having to learn a new sport. Virginia offers a wide array of hiking options, varying from short and simple to multi-day challenges, and spring is a lovely time to hit the trails. We put together a little guide to help inspire you when planning your next visit to Virginia. These 10 great hikes are perfect for visitors who don’t have a ton of time or just need to learn the lay of the land before taking on a greater Virginia challenge – like the world-famous Appalachian Trail! Our guide also provides general beginner hiking tips and some environmentally friendly advice that you can apply to any hike, anywhere, to help protect our natural resources for generations to come.
As spring makes way for summer, head up any Appalachian mountain trail in May and June and you will be rewarded with gorgeous Mountain Laurel blooms. This native evergreen shrub can put on a spectacular display of fragrant showy flowers in either white or pale pink. Even the balloon-like buds are a sight to behold! You’ll also find Azaleas and Rhododendrons May into July at varying elevations throughout Virginia. Their spectacular flowers come in a wide range of shapes and colors but all have one thing in common – the beauty they bring to the beholder!