Although the weather outside may not feel like it, spring is around the corner, and that means the National Cherry Blossom Festival will soon be in full bloom in Washington, D.C. For clients looking to experience the festivities (March 20-April 14, 2019) along with a relaxing stay, Alexandria, Virginia is a convenient home base just outside of D.C. The area provides plenty of opportunities for visitors to enjoy the flowering trees, the historic streets and the cherry blossom-inspired tours, events and food/drink offerings, plus seasonal hotel specials.
Visit the Blossoms by Boat
With the Potomac River nearby, travelers can easily access the Cheery Blossom Festival with a quick boat ride from Alexandria to D.C. For example, the Wharf Water Taxi offers a 25-minute direct cruise from Old Town to D.C.’s Wharf development. From the dock at The Wharf, it’s a 10-minute walk to the cherry blossoms at the Tidal Basin. The water taxi service is now offered daily, with departures from Old Town beginning at 9:40 a.m. on weekdays and 11:45 a.m. on weekends.
For those who would like to experience more than just the cherry blossoms as they make their way down the river, the Potomac Riverboat Company offers a Washington’s Monument Cruise that will sail through D.C., giving guests a different view of some of the city’s most important landmarks, including the Thomas Jefferson Memorial, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Washington Monument, Arlington Memorial Bridge, and more. The cruise is 45 minutes one-way and approximately 90 minutes round-trip and is offered on weekends beginning March 23, 2019, through peak bloom season. Cruises depart from Alexandria at 11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m., 3:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.
Bike and Walk to the Blossoms
Alexandria sits so close to D.C. that more active travelers can easily walk or bike to all the flower power action. Cherry Blossom Rides, which takes participants on a 2- to-3-hour ride from Old Town to the Yoshino cherries, including a spin through Hains Point, will be offered on Alexandria’s new Pedego electric bikes. With the electric bikes to help ease the ride, these tours are accessible to riders of wide-ranging ages and abilities. The Cherry Blossom Rides will be offered from March 20 to April 12, 2019, or for as long as the cherry blossoms are in bloom, departing at 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.
If travelers are lucky, they can also catch the Discover Alexandria Cherry Blossom Pop-Up History Tour in April, which bring guests on a 70-90 minute walking tour allowing them to admire the floral scenery while also learning the local history. The two pop-up tours will occur during peak bloom weekend, but Discover Alexandria won’t announce the dates and times until one week in advance, so keep an eye on the company’s website and social media accounts to tell your clients.
Get a Taste of the Season
For the foodies in town for the Cherry Blossom Festival, there are ways to combine flower-filled sightseeing with some delicious dishes. Carpe DC Food Tours is premiering a self-guided Alexandria Tastes of Spring Cherry Blossom Food Crawl with 10 participating local restaurants mapped out in a convenient passport. Tickets are offered in packages of six or eight tastings so diners can mix-and-match their meals. Meanwhile, on April 14, the Old Town Boutique District and its restaurant partners have designed a Cherry Blossom Shop & Sip Event. Shoppers can ease into the 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. day with brunch and pink cocktails, then spend the day shopping the spring collections of Old Town Boutique District shops.
Where to Stay
Available March 20 through April 15, 2019, the Kimpton Lorien Hotel & Spa is offering an Awesome Blossom package that includes two pre-loaded Metrorail cards, a $25 daily dining credit for cocktails, dining or room service at Brabo Brasserie or Brabo Tasting Room, an area map and a cherry blossom keepsake puzzle. Nightly rates for this package start at $189. lorienhotelandspa.com
The Alexandrian, Autograph Collection is also offerings its own special package to welcome cherry blossom seekers between March 18 and April 28, 2019. The Cherry on Top package includes cherry blossom-themed cocktails for two upon arrival, a gourmet picnic basket provided by Jackson 20 restaurant, and complimentary tickets to the Potomac Riverboat Company’s water taxi to The Wharf for a roundtrip excursion to see the cherry blossoms up-close. Rates for this package start at $219 per night. autograph-hotels.marriott.com
For more information, visit visitalexandriava.com.