I have always wanted to see the cherry blossom in Washington.
The pink fluffy cloud like branches framing the white pillars of Jefferson’s Memorial, swan boats gliding through blizzards of petals falling to the water below.
We planned the trip as soon as “peak blossom” timings were announced and packed our bags.
Little did we know that a storm was on its way, all set to rain on our parade!
An actual blizzard (with absolutely no petals) rampaged along the East Coast of the US, cancelling our flights and freezing the cherry tree buds just as they were about to bloom.
Marking the start of a new adventure with breakfast.
Avocado toast all round, and some of the best coffee in town, at Slipstream.
Leaving us caffeinated, excited and ready to explore.
Starting with a stroll past The White House, which was just in front of our very sweet hotel, The Hay Adams. (Get a room overlooking The White House and you can watch the Secret Service scramble over the rooftop and see the President come and go – which he did a few times while we were in town, shutting down the entire area – so be sure to wear comfy shoes! It’s a fair walk around the blockades.)
Walked down through the park and past remarkably French architecture…
…on our way to The Renwick Gallery.
There’s some amazing cultural fodder in D.C. at the moment.
Yayoi Kusama has taken over the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden with her incredible immersive artwork, which is so Instagramable that it sold out immediately. You can still get tickets when the moon is full, there’s an M in the day and The Queen is wearing blue knickers, or something like that – details here.
The National Museum of African American History & Culture is apparently a life changing experience and as such is booked up way in advance. So plan your trip before you arrive!
It never occurred to us that it would be so difficult to get into museums, so imagine our surprise when we found The Renwick practically deserted!
Janet Echelman has transformed the gallery’s iconic Grand Salon with 51 miles of coloured, recycled twine, covering the ceiling.
A 4,000 square-foot textile floor mirrors the art above, made from discarded fishing nets.
Projected light ebbs and flows, changing colour and transforming the room before your eyes.
The work is titled 1.8 Renwick and corresponds to a map of energy released across the Pacific Ocean during the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami. A disaster so terrible and so powerful it shifted the earth on its axis and shortened the day, March 11, 2011, by 1.8 millionths of a second.
“As individuals we may feel fragile, like a length of thread,” said Echelman, “but when knotted together we have the capacity for incredible strength and resiliency.”
Guests are encouraged to lie on the fishnet floor and watch as the light changes around them, creating art even in the shadows.
It’s quite the humbling experience, like stepping inside a James Turrell piece, with added context.
And what a treat to have it to ourselves!
The rest of the gallery is worth lingering in too.
I was particularly taken with this piece, Lay Inlet by Barbara Lee Smith.
Though it looks like a painting it’s actually layers of fabric and paint stitched together. (I should have taken a close up, sorry!)
^ Unnecessary sign. Anyone who’s seen Sleeping Beauty knows not to touch.
Glass Spinning Wheel by Andy Paiko.
Glass reclining dress by Karen LaMonte.
It’s no wonder the exhibition Echelman’s work was left from was called Wonder!
Vase with Dinosaurs by Steven Young Lee.
Keen to enjoy a little of the sunny day and see more of Washington, we took a stroll to some of the monuments.
The WWII Memorial.
The Washington Monument.
The Lincoln Memorial.
We really couldn’t have asked for a better day for it!