Celebrate Spring Cherry Blossoms and Easter at DC’s iconic Willard Hotel
WASHINGTON: Spring is here and with spring comes the Washington DC Cherry Blossom Festival and Christianity’s celebration of Easter.
National Cherry Blossom Festival
The National Cherry Blossom Festival dates are March 20th through April 14th. The National Park Service is offering detailed information to help you determine your visit to the Jefferson Memorial Tidal Basin to view the iconic blooms.
Flowers as of this writing are in Stage 02, meaning that the soft, white buds or florets are appearing. The NPS indicates that from the time the florets appear it is 16-21 days until the peak bloom. This means the best viewing should be the week between April 7 through the 14th.
That is if we do not have any bud killing snow or ice storms and high wind incidents that blow the delicate flowers apart.
The Willard’s Cherry Blossom Legacy
The Willard’s lobby and Peacock Ally will be adorned with the prominently pink signature blossoms to celebrate the city-wide festival. But its more than just a celebration, the Williard and the Annual Festival share a history reaching back to 1860.
In May 1860, The Willard hosted the first ever delegation from Japan to the U.S. At that historic event, three samurai ambassadors led a group of 74 Japanese officials to Washington and The Willard.
Their task was to ratify the Treaty of Friendship, Commerce and Navigation with President James Buchanan.
It was 52 years later that Tokyo Mayor Yukio Ozaki donated 3,000 Japanese cherry blossom trees to commemorate that 1860 event and the friendship between the countries.
First lady Helen Herron Taft oversaw the placement of the trees around the Jefferson Memorial Tidal Basin, planting the first two saplings with the wife of the Japanese ambassador during ceremonies on March 27, 1912.
Ms. McClellan will discuss the initiative spearheaded by Mrs. Taft.
This historic event leading to one of Washington’s most iconic memorials that represent a symbol of peace and friendship between two nations.
Cherry Blossom Tea
Paying homage to the hotel’s storied history with Japan, after hosting the first ever Japanese delegation. The Willard offers an unmatched celebration with the Cherry Blossom Tea.
A spin on the traditional afternoon tea, the Cherry Blossom menu is infused with Japanese elements from Lemon-Scented Cream Cheese and Cucumber sandwiches to pastries and scones created by pastry chef Jason Jimenez.
Jasmine Tea Shortbread Cookie and Orange Blossom Almond Tarts adds a taste of Japan to classic treats. Perhaps the most unique creation will be the Matcha Green Tea Scone which incorporates Matcha powder and comes served with Devonshire cream and house-made cherry curd.
Additionally, the J’ewey Tea Company has custom created a special Jasmine Cherry Blossom Tea blend, which is a blend of freshly dried cranberries, blackberries, raspberries, hibiscus and rose hips, and green tea leaves which are laid over jasmine flowers for three days.
If you go
Willard Tea: Thursday through Sunday, beginning on March 21.
Seatings are offered between 1 and 4 pm
Cost is $75 per person, $85 including champagne and $45 per child.
Coincide Blossom’s peak blooming with a Cherry Blossom Chocolate making class.
National Geographic claims SPAGnVola as one of the world’s best chocolate shops. In connection with the Willard, join in on a two-hour hands-on chocolate truffle making class this spring.
Guided by Head Chocolatier Crisoire Reid from SPAGnVOLA, participants will learn the artisan technique of tempering chocolate, the process to making chocolate ganache, as well as the steps to using the ganache to handcraft your own delicious truffles to take home.
Attendees will also have the opportunity to taste a variety of SPAGnVOLA’s signature bon-bon’s and truffles all while hearing from Eric Reid co-owner of SPAGnVOLA, on his experience as a cacao grower, and chocolate maker.
If you go
Contact The Williard for Tickets
Date: April 6
Time: 3-5 p.m.
Price: $65 per person or $100 per couple
On April 21, Executive Chef Luca de Marchis will present Easter brunch in the iconic Willard Room and Crystal Ballroom. The buffet offers a menu featuring over 115 items ranging from traditional breakfast and brunch favorites to spring-inspired dishes.
Plates will include a range of sweet and savory including made-to-order omelets, pancakes and waffles with over 35 toppings. Carving stations will feature lamb, prime rib and ham. Sides will include a creamy Risotto-crafted in a Parmesan wheel.
The children’s buffet will have favorites like mac & cheese, chicken tenders, mini cheeseburgers and pizza. Pastry Chef Jason Jimenez will be creating confectionaries including The Willard’s famous homemade Crème Brûlée.
This Easter feast will take place between 11 am and 4 pm, with prices ranging from $55 for children, to $135 for adults, including bottomless Mimosas, Bellini’s or Bloody Mary’s.
For those with tots in tow, the Easter Bunny will be making several cameos throughout the day and little ones will have an opportunity to have their faces painted or participate in an egg hunt at 10:30 am or 3 pm.
$135 per adult, $55 per child (5-12 years of age)
Under 4 years of age dine complimentarily.
White House Easter Egg Roll
The White House Easter Egg Roll dates back to 1878 where it was originally held on Capitol Hill. Every Monday after Easter children and families would gather for egg rolling and a day of activities.
Members of Congress grew tired of the crowds passing a mean Act of Congress prohibiting egg rolling on the Capitol grounds. The event was moved to the White House in 1878 when children began asking President Hayes if they could use his backyard to roll eggs.
Nearly every Easter since, the White House has been host to hundreds of young children that roll eggs on the White House lawn.
Today, the Easter Egg Roll is the largest event held at the White House. The day is full with live entertainment, sports, and interactive cooking demos. And, of course, the traditional rolling of the Easter eggs. The Easter Egg Roll promotes healthy and active living and is designed for children 13 years of age and under.
This year’s lottery is past so if you do not have tickets you will have to view the event from outside the fence.