People by the thousands flooded onto the sidewalks around the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C., Saturday, to see the cherry blossoms in full bloom. Unfortunately, the visitors mostly saw buds, not blossoms.
"We came here and assumed that -- according to the prediction, it was supposed to have more flowers today," sighed Annabelle Aispuro of Frederick, Maryland.
There was an occasional cherry tree in full bloom, but, on the vast majority of cherry trees at the Tidal Basin, only about 10% of the buds had blossomed.
Erlinda Gonzales, of Staten Island, New York, walked around the Tidal Basin with her husband, Robert Goldstein. "I'm disappointed," said Ms. Gonzales, "because the blossoms are not yet out..."
With warmer temperatures expected, the blossoms look like they will be in full bloom on Monday or Tuesday. Crowds will likely be even thicker then.
Here are some tips for seeing the cherry blossoms from a journalist who has covered this story -- off and on -- for about 30 years.
TIP #1: Because of jammed roadways and little available parking, Metro-rail is the best way to get to the cherry trees.
TIP #2: The Smithsonian stop (Orange/Blue Lines) is the closest.
TIP #3: When you're leaving the Smithsonian station, don't come out the National Mall exit. Come out on the U.S. Department of Agriculture side of the station because it's a block closer to the Tidal Basin.
TIP #4: When you cross 14th Street, notice -- just downhill -- the Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP). It's where Treasury prints the money, and it's the home of a fun, zippy, half-hour tour -- it's free, but available on weekdays only.
When the tours get crowded, tickets are handed out for tour-times later in the day. No problem! Grab your tickets, and head for the Tidal Basin -- it's right in back of the Bureau. You can go enjoy the blossoms, then come back and see the money printing.
TIP #5: There's a pedestrian alley between 14th Street and the Tidal Basin. It's unmarked, but quite open to walkers. Find the alley just downhill from the BEP entrance where the tours begin.
Enjoy the blossoms!
WTTG FOX 5 & myfoxdc
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