With this week giving Alexandrians their first taste of warmer weather, locals are turning their attention to the upcoming cherry blossom season.
This cherry blossom season, generally running through March and April, is a regional celebration of the Japanese tree marred for the second year by the specter of COVID-19.
Local tourism group Visit Alexandria has compiled a list of activities that help locals celebrate the holiday while respecting COVID precautions — though some activities are higher risk than others.
In terms of viewing the cherry blossoms, Visit Alexandria said one of the best ways is via Potomac Riverboat Water Taxi. Water Taxi admission is $13 for one-way trips or $21 for round-trip tickets. The boats depart the Alexandria Marina (1 Cameron Street) and have limited capacity to allow for social distancing.
“Cruise from Old Town Alexandria to Washington, D.C., to enjoy the famous cherry blossoms from the water,” Visit Alexandria said in the events rundown. “Potomac Riverboat by Hornblower offers a 25-minute direct water taxi from Old Town to The Wharf development in D.C. From the dock at The Wharf, it is a 10-minute walk to the cherry blossoms at the Tidal Basin… Water taxis are operating at half capacity; masks and physical distancing are required.”
Another options is electrical bike tours along the Mount Vernon Trail starting at 210 N. Lee Street.
A few local restaurants are planning on offering specials to celebrate the festival. Captain Gregory’s at 804 N. Henry Street is planning to host a Cherry Blossom Celebration on March 26 from 5-10 p.m.
“Captain Gregory’s will host an outdoor patio celebration of the cherry blossoms in partnership with Beam Suntory,” Visit Alexandria said. “Enjoy a mobile highball cart, themed décor and more. Savor Captain Gregory’s ‘Winter in Tokyo’ menu in-person or celebrate the Japanese blossoms at home with takeout. The menu includes a selection of Japanese spirits such as Suntory whiskey, Roku gin, Haku vodka, sake, yuzu and other Japanese staples like sochu, alongside savory dishes such as edamame and crab hushpuppies. Cocktails to-go are available from sister shop Elizabeth’s Counter’s grocery section.”
Other restaurants offering cherry blossom specials include:
- Bugsy’s Pizza Restaurant and Sports Bar (111 King Street)
- Café 44 (44 Canal Center Plaza)
- Lost Boy Cider (317 Hooffs Run Drive)
- Ada’s on the River (3 Pioneer Mill Way)
- The Majestic (911 King Street)
- Mia’s Italian Kitchen (100 King Street)
- Theismann’s Restaurant and Bar (1800A Diagonal Road)
- Vola’s Dockside Grill (101 N. Union Street)
- Dolci Gelati (107 N. Fairfax Street)
A free cherry blossom exhibition will also be on display at the Torpedo Factory Art Center (105 N. Union Street) from March 31 to May 2. All three floors will feature displays of floral-themed art. Admissions is free and the gallery is open Wednesday through Sunday from 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
Photo courtesy L. Barnes/Visit Alexandria