From the Bay to the Blue Ridge, National Harbor

Cherry Blossoms, Day Trips & Marriage Proposals

National Harbor

By Lani Gering

Cherry Blossoms, Day Trips & Marriage Proposals

photo by Elia Clerici

Springtime is just around the corner and you know what this means? Cherry Blossom Time! With tourism being at a virtual standstill due to the pandemic, not nearly as many warm bodies will be clamoring and crowding into the area to witness the annual blooming of these coveted blossoms and to attend the annual festival. The sad part is that the major celebrations are going to be “virtual” and there are millions of tourist dollars that aren’t going to be generated into the economy but the happy part is that we won’t be fighting to find a place to sit on the metro and won’t have to walk shoulder to shoulder on the bike paths and sidewalks in order to take in the beauty of the trees. The traffic in the city will be less congested than in past years as well.


The Tidal Basin isn’t the only place to “blossom watch”. Three 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 en mass along the Harbor waterfront so that you are able to see them from the bridge as you drive over the Woody Bridge from Old Town. The Okame species of cherry trees are early bloomers and should be ready for prime time before their famous counterparts that line the Tidal Basin. This means that you can schedule a day trip to the Harbor to see them and then take a day trip into the city to see those along the Basin. No peak bloom forecasts had been made at the time of this writing (2-24) but are scheduled to be announced early this month. The weather gurus on all of the major television stations will be putting in their two cents the closer it gets but a good place to keep tabs on the best time to check them out is at


My suggestion is to pick a nice spring day and head to the Harbor for the afternoon and maybe even the evening. Park the car and map out your day. Take a walk along American Way starting at Fleet Street and look in on the statuary and check out some of the retail stores along the way. Be sure to take in the artwork along the walls of the stairs leading down to the Plaza. Don’t forget to incorporate a stroll along Fleet and Waterfront Streets and snoop the shops as well as take note of the many eateries along the way. After your stroll up top, you should end up down at the waterfront where additional food venues await. You are going to have to eat something while you are here and there is fare for every taste bud. Two of my favorite places are Fiorella’s for fantastic pizza and Bond 45 for the perfect martini!


For you Washington Nationals fans out there, there is a team store in the heart of the Plaza. It took over the space where the Peeps (I’m still sad that it is gone) store used to be. This is a good place to pick up some team paraphernalia and get some scoop about your favorite players. Not quite like shopping at the ball park stores but you can get your fix here.


If you want a closer look at the blossoms, you can follow the bike path along the water or if you want to see them from up high, grab a beverage from the Flight Deck and treat yourself to a ride on the Capital Wheel. They run all sorts of specials during the season so be sure to check them out.

Speaking of the Capital Wheel….are you thinking about proposing to that special someone this month? You do know that March 20th is National Proposal Day? No? Uh, neither did I until my friend Debbie clued me in. I just thought it was the first day of spring. Anyway, if this is on your radar you might be interested in entering the contest they currently have running. They are giving away a $1500 VIP Love in Lights package on the 20th. All you have to do is visit and enter to win. The package is pretty extensive:


-1 Hour of custom lights on The Capital Wheel (heart, favorite color, rainbow, etc.)

-2 Tickets for the VIP Gondola (enjoy breathtaking views 180-feet above the Potomac River)

-Champagne Toast including souvenir cups (adult sippy cups that can be taken on The Capital Wheel)

-1 6 x 8” Souvenir Photo with custom background

-Private 1-hour celebration in the waterfront, outdoor, Flight Deck lounge for up to 10 people including beer, wine and tickets to enjoy The Capital Wheel

-Professional Photographer to capture the magic

-Congratulatory social media post via The Capital Wheel social media channels

Photo Credit Chris Fukuda


The Washington DC area has plenty of amazing places to propose including the waterfront at National Harbor. So, it’s time to get planning! The last day to enter is March 14. The winner will be notified, confidentially, on March 20 – they don’t want to give away anyone’s secret but you can bet they will share pictures on the big day.


While we are still muddling through the pandemic it does look like there is a bit of a light at the end of the tunnel. Vaccinations are being given, the numbers are going down and the sunny weather is on its way. In the meantime, let’s just keep our masks on in public and keep washing our hands. Don’t forget to “Spring Forward” your clocks on the 14th and have a happy St. Patrick’s Day on the 17th!


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