From the Bay to the Blue Ridge, National Harbor

Springtime Is Around the Corner….

National Harbor

By Lani Gering

Springtime Is Around the Corner….

Springtime is just around the corner and you know what this means. Tourists – as well as we locals – will be clamouring and crowding into the area to witness the annual blooming of the cherry blossoms. The verdict is out on when the blooms will actually appear since the weather has been so mild this winter that the cherry trees didn’t have a chance to go into their normal dormant stage to store up for the spring blooms. However, who knows what could happen with the weather between the time I’m penning this column (February 24th) and the time you read it. Let’s hope for the best since they really are beautiful.


Two years ago, the Harbor added more than 100 Okame cherry trees to its existing collection bringing the number of trees it has to more than 200, many of which line the Potomac River. The trees were planted in mass along the Harbor waterfront so that you are able to see them when arriving by car, bus or boat. According to a member of the Harbor marketing team, the Okame’s are early bloomers and should be ready for prime time before their famous counterparts that line the Tidal Basin. The forecast for the time of bloom had not been made at the time of this writing but is scheduled to be announced early this month.

… the Gaylord

Beginning on March 20th and running through April 12th, the Gaylord Resort is bringing back Bloom. This is a four-week celebration full of spring-focused activities. With endless offerings inside the resort, visitors and guests alike can enjoy the beautiful sight of over 100 cherry blossom trees adorning the waterfront in front of the Resort.

During Bloom, the Resort transforms into a spring oasis with endless experiences for guests to enjoy. In conjunction with special room rates, they are offering complimentary family activities for overnight guests on Saturdays including a new Bloom n’ Petting Zoo attraction. From 3:30 to 6:30 p.m., kids can spend time and take pictures with furry friends on the Resort’s outdoor rolling lawn overlooking the Potomac. Other family friendly experiences include Cupcake Decorating and a Plant-Your-Own-Flower activity that take place in the Atrium from 2:00 to 4 p.m. If you choose to stick around, you will be serenaded by a pianist performing in the lobby from 3:00 to 7:00 p.m. For a special treat on Sundays, the Easter Bunny will be hopping around the lobby. Doesn’t get much better than that or….does it?

Well, if you are looking for an “adult” activity, it does. In conjunction with the variety of kiddie friendly happenings, those of us that enjoy an adult beverage or two may have an interest in sipping on refreshing drinks at one of the Resort’s four bars and enjoy a special Cherry Blossom Cocktail. For more imbibing enjoyment, adults can also head over to the Belvedere Lobby Bar for a Springtime Spirits Mixology Class. The Resort’s Beverage Director will lead participants in an interactive class teaching us how to craft three spring inspired cocktails using fresh garden ingredients. Complementary food pairings prepared by the Resort’s Executive Chef will be offered and participants will also receive a take home gift. The class will be held every Saturday beginning on March 21st  from 1:00 to  3:00 p.m. Tickets must be purchased in advance by visiting On Fridays from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m., guests can enjoy a sunset jazz performance also taking place in Belvedere Lobby Bar.

In keeping with the theme, the Resort’s spa, Relâche, will be offering a selection of cherry blossom-infused treatments. Spa-goers can choose from a massage, facial or pedicure that incorporate custom blended cherry blossom body butter, oil or scrub. There are special spa packages available and if you pick the Cherry Blossom Ritual, you will be gifted with a Rose Quarts Tree of Life pendant symbolizing love and beauty in honor of the cherry blossoms. Each Cherry Blossom service includes a complimentary cherry blossom tea or cherry blossom cocktail.

… the Harbor

Things have pretty much been in slow motion for the last couple of months but they are starting to gear up as we get closer tourist season. In keeping with the spirit of the cherry blossom, the Harbor will, once again participate in the National Cherry Blossom Festival activities. We all know that the Festival celebrates spring, the gift of the cherry blossom trees, and the enduring friendship between the people of the United States and Japan. Throughout the months of March and April, the Harbor will turn its lights pink – including The Capital Wheel – and hold an array of activities and celebrations including its popular annual Sakura Sunday event on April 5 from 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. It is considered an official event of the 2020 National Cherry Blossom Festival. The event includes authentic Japanese cherry blossom traditions—all in the Waterfront District at National Harbor.

Sakura Sunday features a wide array of free activities including traditional Japanese picnicking with food available for sale; a sake, rosé and beer garden; a Japanese Market and Japanese-inspired music and entertainment. The Harbor will bring in world-class Japanese entertainment and Japanese artisans. This year, they are excited to introduce a water lantern experience to close the evening.

Restaurants, retailers and hotels in the Waterfront District and throughout the Harbor will being extending special offers throughout the month of April. Some of the retailers in the Waterfront District will also participate in a cherry blossom store window display competition.

For those who want to see the cherry blossoms at the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C. as well as National Harbor, the water taxis run from the Waterfront District at the Harbor to the Tidal Basin and other destinations. It’s an easy way to avoid traffic congestion and parking challenges in D.C.

It is my understanding that there are additional activities taking place in the Harbor but that information was unavailable at the time of this writing. For more information on National Harbor and cherry blossom festivities, go to

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