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Morning Notes

Rhys St. Piere, 4, tosses pieces of bread to gulls and ducks at the Old Town waterfront (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Alexandria Man Claims Trucker Convoy Assaulted Him — “D.C. police are looking into claims that participants in the trucker convoy assaulted a motorcyclist in the District last week. The encounter reportedly happened as an Alexandria, Virginia, man was traveling on Interstate 395 on the Francis Case Memorial Bridge back on Wednesday, March 16 after 3 p.m.” [WTOP]

Local Women Business Owners Celebrated — “The pioneering spirit that helped give women the right to vote just over 100 years ago is alive and well today as women-owned businesses grow across the city.” [Connection Newspaper]

Alexandria Wedding Showcase Returns — “To help couples prepare, the Alexandria Wedding Showcase, presented by Alexandria Living Magazine, is set for Sunday, April 10 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at The Alexandrian, 480 King St., in the heart of Old Town Alexandria.” [Alexandria Living Magazine]

Things to Do in the Area This Weekend — A listing of things to do this weekend in the area, including Cherry blossom guided tours with Pedego electric bikes Alexandria from March 19 to April 17 or through cherry blossom peak bloom [Patch]

It’s Friday — Mostly cloudy throughout the day. High of 59 and low of 47. Sunrise at 7:05 a.m. and sunset at 7:26 p.m. [Weather.gov]

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The cherry blossoms are an annual regional highlight, and Visit Alexandria has announced a suite of new and returning events around the city to experience the season.

Guidance on exploring during cherry blossom season was a little more tepid last year owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, but such concerns were notably absent from the this year’s announcement and downward-trending case counts.

Visit Alexandria recommends biking or boating for seeing the cherry blossoms.

Unlimited Biking at 421 King Street has cherry blossom packages running from March 20 to April 12, with options for $15 rentals or to join a $44 guided tour.

“Pedal from Unlimited Biking: Old Town Alexandria along the Potomac River to the famous cherry blossoms of Washington DC with Unlimited Biking’s bike rental package that provides you with all that you need for your journey — maps, helmets, bike bags and locks. Hybrid bikes, road bikes, eBikes, kids bikes and kids attachments are available,” Visit Alexandria said.

The guided tours start and end at 998 Maine Avenue SW. Visit Alexandria said the tours are two hours long and run multiple times during the day.

Alternatively, Pedego Electric Bikes (210 North Lee Street) has tours from Old Town up into D.C.

The tour season runs from March 19-April 17, with tours leaving at 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. on weekends and tours only availably by appointment on weekdays. Tickets are $69 per bike.

“Join a three-hour guided tour from Old Town Alexandria to the cherry blossoms, including a ride through the blossoms around East Potomac Park,” Visit Alexandria said. The views of the blossoms from a Pedego are fantastic, and you don’t have to fight traffic or find a place to park downtown. Tours will run as long as there are blooms on the cherry blossom trees.”

The release said tours can be booked by calling 571-312-5168 or emailing [email protected]

By boat, Visit Alexandria said the best options are the Water Taxi or a monuments cruise.

The Water Taxi runs from the Wharf to Old Town — with other stops at National Harbor and Georgetown — with departures starting at noon and running about 25 minutes. Trips are $23 one-way or $39 round-trip. Trips depart from the Alexandria Marina at 1 Cameron Street.

“From the dock at The Wharf, it is a 10-minute walk to the cherry blossoms at the Tidal Basin,” the release said. “The water taxi docks at the Transit Pier, 950 Wharf Street SW, near the Tidal Basin, the National Mall, Hains Point and a Capital Bikeshare station.”

There is also the Washington Monuments Cruise to the Cherry Blossoms, which starts March 19. It also departs from the Alexandria Marina, with $26 one-way tickets and $42 round-trip tickets. The cruise is 45 minutes and ends in Georgetown.

The release also included information on some local food and drink offerings themed around cherry blossoms:

  • Common Plate Hospitality’s Cherry Blossom Cocktails and Murals at Augie’s Beer Garden (1106 King Street) and Mason Social (728 N. Henry Street) — Both restaurants have custom cherry blossom-themed items on the menu: a black cherry Bellini with gold glitter and a cherry pie old fashioned. Items are available through March 31.
  • Special cherry blossom blend at Turkish Coffee Lady (1001 King Street) — local coffee shop Turkish Coffee Lady has a special cherry blossom-themed coffee presentation available through April 30.
  • Winter in Tokyo menu at Captain Gregory’s (804 N. Henry Street) — The speakeasy will have Japanese gin, whiskey and vodka along with sake cocktails and menu items featuring Japanese-inspired dishes. The Winter in Tokyo menu is available through March 31.
  • “The Blossom” cocktail at Lena’s Wood-fired Pizza & Tap (401 E. Braddock Road) — The pizza restaurant will have a new cherry blossom themed cocktail that’s a mix of Rhum Barbancourt, plum-rose syrup, Luxardo, lemon juice and a floating edible blossom. The cocktail will be available from March 1 through April 17.
  • Cherry blossom cider from Lost Boy Cider (317 Hooffs Run Drive) — Starting March 2, Lost Boy Cider will be producing a cherry blossom cider available in-house or from a few local grocery chains like Whole Foods.
  • Cherry blossom sangria from Alexandria Restaurant Partners — From March 15-April 15, various Alexandria Restaurant Partners’ locations will have a seasonal sangria with brut rosé, Blanc Vermouth, cherry juice and orange flower water.
  • Cherry blossom gelato at Dolci Gelati (107 N. Fairfax Street) — Dolci Gelati is bringing back a cherry blossom gelato in limited supply from March 20-April 20. The gelato is available in-person, for pickup and delivery.

A full list of local cherry blossom experiences is available at the Visit Alexandria website.

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Morning Notes

Alexandria to Get Johnson & Johnson Vaccines Next Week — On Saturday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use. Adding a third vaccine to Alexandria’s pandemic response is significant and will ultimately mean that more vaccines are available to protect more people… Johnson & Johnson vaccines will become available in Alexandra starting later this week.” [City of Alexandria]

Beyer, Kaine Introduce ‘The Cost of Police Misconduct Act’ — “Most Americans have no idea how much cities and counties they live in spend on police misconduct because cases are often settled in secret. The Cost of Police Misconduct Act would make these costs public, which we hope and believe would help save lives.” [Twitter]

Council to Vote on 2-Hour Heavy Vehicle Parking Limit — “In response to community concerns re long-term heavy vehicle parking in commercial areas, staff is proposing a 2-hour heavy vehicle parking limit ordinance (except for loading/unloading)” [Twitter]

St. Patrick’s Day Parade Canceled — “This year would have been the 40th annual parade. In 2020, the March 7 parade was the last major event in Alexandria before COVID-19 restrictions began to be implemented.” [Patch.com]

National Park Service Predicts Peak Cherry Blossom Bloom — “The National Park Service (NPS) just released its 2021 cherry blossom peak bloom prediction for 2021: April 2 – April 5. The prediction varies year to year based on weather conditions, but it is typically between the last week in March and the first week of April, according to the NPS Bloom Watch webpage.” [Alexandria Living]

Today’s Weather — “Mainly sunny (during the day). High 59F. Winds W at 5 to 10 mph… A mostly clear sky (in the evening). Low 37F. Winds WNW at 5 to 10 mph.” [Weather.com]

New Job: Dog Walker/Pet Sitter — “Pay ranges from $350 to $650 per week, depending on the number of dogs scheduled for that week. Must have a valid driver’s license and must be able to safely transport numerous dogs in your vehicle.” [Indeed]

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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:

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

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