Joggers run along a cherry tree-lined street in Bethesda's Kenwood neighborhood Wednesday evening. Credit: Andrew Metcalf
The cherry trees in Bethesda’s Kenwood neighborhood are beginning to bloom, marking the start of an annual influx of visitors who come to see the famous spring display.
On Wednesday evening, hundreds of thousands of small white flowers were beginning to blossom from the more than 1,200 trees that line streets such as Kennedy Drive and Dorset and Kenwood avenues in the neighborhood that also boasts homes costing $1 million or more. Parents were out with their children, taking photos under the trees, and cyclists meandered along the roads.
The trees typically reach peak bloom about three to four days after the famous cherry trees in Washington, D.C.’s Tidal Basin, according to Dennis Potts, a Kenwood resident who has coordinated logistics such as hiring off-duty police officers to handle the crowds that come annually to the Bethesda neighborhood to see the trees. The Tidal Basin’s trees are expected to hit peak bloom this weekend, according to the National Park Service. The warm weather this month caused the cherry trees in the region to bloom earlier than in past years, according to the park service.
Visiting the Bethesda neighborhood can be a bit tricky—drivers are not allowed to park their vehicles along the streets, a fact clearly noted by the dozens of bright yellow signs that read “NO PARKING – Montgomery County Police.” However, an easy way to see the trees is to walk or cycle along the Capital Crescent Trail. The trail abuts the neighborhood at Dorset Avenue, and visitors can exit the trail into the neighborhood.
The trees were first planted by the developer of the neighborhood in the 1930s and 1940s and since then have been preserved and maintained by the neighborhood citizens association in collaboration with Montgomery County.
Visiting the neighborhood’s trees is often considered a less-crowded alternative to heading to the Tidal Basin. The trees are featured in insider guides to the area and also get glowing reviews from visitors on Yelp. One user of the online rating site wrote, “I do not consider these cherry blossoms to be an ‘alternative’ to the ones in D.C. These blossoms are a marvel in their own right. It’s one of the best, least congested ways to take in the cherry blossoms.”
No parking signs are posted along the neighborhood's roads. Credit: Andrew Metcalf