Confession time: I had never been to the National Arboretum. I've lived in the DC area basically my entire life, but had never been And what's even worse? My MOM had never been to the National Arboretum. She's lived in the area her entire life (which is about 25 years longer than me) and had also never been. So I was looking for something that we could do on her birthday, which was two weeks ago on Monday, April 19th, and someone happened to mention the National Arboretum it seemed like the perfect solution. And then we learned the azaleas were in full bloom and it was a no brainer.
Yeah, we're kind of dorks that way.
First things first: the organizers of the National Arboretum are very smart. They know that people are going to want to walk around, but since we are Americans and lazy and fat we aren't going to want around too much. So everything in the Arboretum is driveable and walkable. Mom and I opted for the combo pack: we drove to the beginnings of where we wanted to go and then wandered/hiked through the area, but could then head back to the car and drive to the next display. Which could be almost a mile away, so I prefer to think of it as being efficient rather than lazy.
We weren't there too long, it was a weekday after all and there was traffic to consider, but we managed to hit the azaleas, boxwoods, Capitol columns (moved to the Arboretum after the renovating of the Capitol building), and drove through most of the other areas. We didn't get a chance to see the bonsais, because by then Mom was getting antsy and wanted to head home, but you always gotta leave something for next time, right?
But if you're looking for a really lovely place to take a walk with plenty of parking (and dog-friendly) this is the place for you. And did I mention it's free? Awesome.
Mom communing with nature. The funny part is, about two seconds after I took this picture she tripped and fell on a tree root and went flat on her face. Now you all know where I got my natural grace.
I love this picture. Doesn't it look like some fairytale path leading to a magic kingdom? Although it could also lead to a witch's cottage who will then try to kill you in some overly complicated way so she can munch on your bones. Let's just say it's a nice azalea-lined trail, eh?