Mountaineer, Explorer, AdventureMost holidays fall into a routine of summer or yearlong trips preceded by long-term preparation. However, for a brief break to fit into a hectic work schedule or a more restricted budget, short-term trips nearby or as a add-on into a business trip can be a real tonic.
Longing for a”spring break” but unable to get away, I charted my vacation around a weekend at my home city of Washington, DC. No longer still only a government-focused country’s capital, the town has diversified. It’s currently a culturally rich destination with numerous choices beyond simply visiting the national monuments.
My break happened to coincide with one of those terrific spring attractions: the National Cherry Blossom Festival. It first started in 1935 after a gift of 3,000 cherry trees from the city of Tokyo. It has grown to be a three-week long party. Along with an estimated audience of 100,000 of audiences, 5 US Presidents were in the parade or their stand-in’s were in sports jersey bearing their government’s number. Washington, Jefferson and Lincoln were the most recognizable but were joined by Teddy Roosevelt and Taft, the latter famous for developing a permanent White House connection with baseball. In keeping with the spirit of this party, some spectators joined in the fun wearing their own outfits, such as in 1 case tee shirts together with pink tutu’s.
Underscoring the worldwide character of present-day Washington, street vendors provided a selection of cuisine from Korean Kimchi to Punjabi fare.
I made my way walking the complete length of the Mall parade route but without getting into the Tidal Basin, itself, the beginning point for the Festival. However, the Washington Monument grounds offer a competing collection of the bright pink blossoms whereas multiple side roads in the residential and commercial districts have their own cherry blossom line-up. However, the area has been steadily decreasing with the coming of urban development. But still remaining are several top restaurants featuring lunch specials in addition to a few tiny stores with authentic local flavor, like the New Da Hsin Trading Inc.. It carries some of the exact wares I found in Beijing with costs competitive with the street sellers in China. There are tin cans of supermarket items I can only guess as to their contents and brightly colored displays with royal dragons. I’m always intrigued by the special items they take like umbrellas with UV protection (parasols?)
Rounding out the weekend’s contrasting holiday was a really different offering on Sunday in neighboring Leesburg/Northern Virginia. The popular event was the annual horserace in the Oatlands Plantation, the spring Point-to-Point, a design for the Loudoun Hunt.
With this kind of action-packed weekend, I discovered a short-term trip, if in our own backyards or overseas, can be a excellent filler between yearly vacations. The price was right and no long-term preparation was needed!

Short-Term Excursions

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