CHEVY CHASE, MARYLAND — Thousands of people from around the world come to Washington in the spring to see the beautiful Japanese cherry blossoms at the Tidal Basin. But there’s another place, just outside Washington, where many international visitors come to see another spectacular display of the blossoms. It's a neighborhood in Chevy Chase, Maryland.
Twelve hundred cherry trees line the streets of this neighborhood called Kenwood. The blooms are at peak, and so are the number of tourists who come to gaze at them. This is the first time Australian visitor Kirra Stutchbury has seen cherry blossoms, and she said it’s like being under a big pink cloud.
“I didn’t expect there to be so many flowers, and the petals falling, it’s just so beautiful. Almost like it’s snowing,” said Stutchbury.
The first cherry trees in this development were planted in the 1920’s, ahead of the new homes that were about to be built. Some of the original trees are now more than 90 years old.
One couple from India is visiting family in the area.
“Very beautiful. I have not seen in my life this type of flower,” said tourist Suresh Kumarshrievastava.
Le Ho from Vietnam, who now lives in the Washington area, has seen the flowers in the neighborhood before. He’s back, enjoying the beauty of the moment.
“Oh, when I come here I feel my heart calm down,” said Le.
Many people enjoy themselves in this park, having fun with friends and family.
This couple, who just got married, stopped for ice cream. For Mariaby Hernandez and Ed Constante, the timing couldn’t have been more perfect to have their wedding photos taken in the park.
“It’s beautiful. We love it. It just adds a lot to the pictures,” they said.
The residents of this normally quiet community enjoy sharing the pride of the neighborhood, which lasts about a week. Les Nicolson said he appreciates the blossoms as much as the people who come to see them.
“It’s estimated now 30, 40,000 people, and a great many of them are people from overseas, particularly the Japanese who have a special affinity for the cherry trees," said Nicolson.
One Japanese woman said she had never before seen cherry trees forming a canopy.
“It’s awesome. I was surprised at this spectacular scene,” said visitor Kyounghui Yi.
The beauty comes back each spring, thanks to the 240 Kenwood homeowners who are responsible for the trees on their property. If a tree dies or is diseased, they replace it. Phyllis Knowles said it means a lot to the residents to share their neighborhood treasure.
“I think if you have something beautiful and you can share it with other people, and they can go home with a good feeling of seeing something really special, really spectacular, that gives me a very warm feeling,” said Knowles.
She said for the people of Kenwood, the trees are part of their lives.