As I knit Rebecca’s “Cherry Blossom Neckwarmer” in January, I had no idea that I would see cherry blossoms this spring. This past weekend Jen & I went to Washington DC for a girl’s weekend and enjoyed the National Cherry Blossom Festival. While our feet may be tired from all the walking that we did, our memories are filled with fun and lots of delicate pink blossoms everywhere we looked. An early morning flight on Friday put us in DC during the morning rush hour. By 9:30 we were at our hotel & were pleasantly surprised to find that we could actually check into our room instead of storing our bags for the day. Even with a “last minute” decision to go to DC during a popular tourist time we were able to snag a great hotel/room – I cashed in some of the points I earned from my time in Chattanooga in 2006 & so we had free lodging. The forecasts for the weekend contained many raindrops; however, even though we had our umbrellas with us at all times we never had to use them. Our goals for the weekend were simple: Cherry Blossoms, National Monuments, Many Museums, Panda Sightings & More Fun!

Cherry Blossoms – Cherry blossoms were everywhere. As soon as we left the airport to head into DC we had our first glimpse of pink & were enthralled by their delicate beauty the whole weekend. The subtle shades of pink seemed to glow from within. It was also amazing to see how the aged & gnarly tree trunks could give way to such delicate blossoms.

National Monuments – The walk around the tidal basin yielded many monumental views.  By the time we headed back to the hotel in the afternoon, we had seen the Jefferson Memorial…walked through the enduring legacy of FDR at the FDR Memorial…recalled the service of our grandfathers at the World War II Memorial…walked on patrol at the Korean War Veterans Memorial…stood in awe at the Lincoln Memorial…and took in the somber stillness and starkness of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

Many Museums – Saturday morning we headed towards the National Mall and the museums. The line for the National Archives was well over 90 minutes to get in – that will have to be another trip. We explored the National Gallery of Art…enjoyed the gorgeous exhibit of women’s dress at the National Museum of the American Indian…went to the National Air and Space Museum…where we also saw a few treasures from the National Museum of American History.

Panda Sightings –  Our goal for Sunday before returning home was to see the pandas at the National Zoo. Both Jen & I have memories of school projects involving pandas – she won a speech contest in 8th grade with a speech on pandas; in 4th grade I selected the panda as the mammal I would research for my first research paper and pandas have been a favorite animal ever since. As we walked up to the panda yardTian Tian was just waking from a nap and seemed to be walking right towards us as he came to the watering hole for a drink. He then provided us with a great show of “typical panda behavior” by sitting upright and munching on bamboo for quite a while.

More Fun – Other fun highlights of the weekend…the convenience of using the DC Circulator to move around from the hotel to and from Georgetown and the National Mall…popping into a cute boutique near the hotel to pick up some charming cherry blossom notecards…picking up yarns at Stitch DC to remind us of the weekend…delicious appetizers and meals on Friday and Saturdaysublime gelato at Dolcezza…taking a break from being tourists to return to our Kansas roots and enjoy an evening of knitting while watching the Kansas Jayhawks in the Final Four. Rock Chalk Jayhawk!

Before we knew it, we were en route to the airport preparing to return to Chicago. As a cab carried us back into the city from O’Hare we reflected on how much fun, history and beauty we were able to cram into a few days away from the hustle and bustle of daily life.