Walking Kenwood, Maryland During Cherry Blossom Time

Cherry Blossoms
Cherry Blossoms. Wendy Bumgardner

Kenwood, Maryland is known for its cherry blossoms. You can walk a route that includes many of these sights any day during cherry blossom time.

  • Bethesda Cherry Blossom Seasonal Walk: For 2016, it will be open from March 12 - May 9. You can pick up at map and register at the Starbucks, 4611-E Sangamore Rd, The Shops at Sumner Place. This is a map-guided walk you can do daylight hours any day.500
  • National Cherry Blossom Festival Information: The festival is held mid-March through mid-April each year.
  • Photos of the Washington DC Cherry Blossoms.

Kevin Shaw has enjoyed a walk through the cherry blossoms many times. Here he recounts a walk taken several years ago.

On a spectacularly sunny, cool spring Saturday here in Maryland, my club, the Seneca Valley Sugarloafers Volksmarch Club, put on an outstanding walking event through the neighborhood streets and pathways in the Kenwood area of Bethesda.

India and Peaches, my mainstay walking companions of the canine variety, and I met our friends Eric and Valerie (with her dog Rupert) at the start point at the Bethesda Community Pool just off Little Falls Parkway and the Capital Crescent Trail. Written directions were handed out to every walker for the 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) route, with a 5 kilometer (3.1 miles) option available. We opted for the longer distance.

The first loop was through the Kenwood development, accessed easily through a few turns off the Capital Crescent Trail (CCT), a very popular rails-to-trails route that goes from Bethesda to Georgetown.

We were fortunate not to use too much of this trail today; it was quite crowded with many different users such as skaters and cyclists; on a rather narrow trail going in both directions it really gets quite busy and not all that safe; we had a collision between several rollerbladers occur right in front of us on the trail.

However, the CCT was invaluable for use in linking the various sections we walked through today.

Strolling through the Kenwood neighborhood with cherry trees in full bloom on this gorgeous day had to be seen and experienced to be believed. There were many sightseers out in their cars and on foot through the neighborhood streets, which are not very wide in most places to start with. So you had to take your time and really enjoy the sights and smells of the day. Every turn yielded more cherry blossom lined streets, and more people having a great time enjoying the scenery. Some enterprising children set up refreshment stands at strategic locations along the route, they were doing some great business selling lemonade, cookies, etc.

Exiting Kenwood along Brookside Dr, a double-laned street that gave you double your blossoms so to speak, we crossed River Road and passed the Westbard Shopping Center, where restrooms at a grocery store could be used if need be. A straight stretch along Westbard Ave that eventually headed downhill to Massachusetts Avenue kind of let you unwind after the intense beauty of the Kenwood Cherry Blossoms. We crossed Massachusetts Ave and went under the CCT, where our first checkpoint was found as a question about the date on the overpass.

A short, steep dirt path uphill was negotiated to get up to the CCT.

The CCT brought us back towards the start, as we crossed over Massachusetts Ave and River Road to Dorset. A turn on Dorset led us to Little Falls Parkway where we turned onto this paved path paralleling the Parkway in a lovely garden like setting with babbling brooks and budding trees of differing varieties. We had to count the turning paths to the right; the fourth one was ours, and it let uphill into the Norwood section, a big school with playing fields, tennis courts, and some old brick buildings. Norwood Ave was our next turn as we exited this park, and a short distance later we were turning left onto busy Wisconsin Avenue.

We didn't stay on that popular street for long, as we turned onto Nottingham and to the second checkpoint at a local Firehouse.

We exited out of the Firehouse on the other side, and headed down Bradley Blvd., towards a busier section of Bethesda. A series of turns after going under the CCT again got us on Bethesda Ave eventually and once again an intersection with the CCT. This part certainly gave everyone plenty of chances at something to eat and/or drink, fast food, upscale, all sorts of choices.

A last short half a mile or so on the CCT brought us back to the junction with Little Falls Parkway and the Start/Finish at the Pool. I felt quite energized and optimistic during this last portion; the CCT, if not too busy, allows you a straight, flat surface to get a better pace going, and I had enough energy to put it into a bit higher gear, with still enough energy left at the finish.

It took about 3 hours to do this walk, so I do have more work to do to get into better shape. But as I said earlier too, there were parts of this walk where you couldn't walk very fast due to congestion, and also due to other areas to waiting for traffic lights and cars.

I got my IVV Record Books stamped at the finish. I thanked my fellow club member volunteers working the walk at the start/finish table. Thanks to all who could come and experience this, and hopefully my description will help give others who weren't around somewhat of an idea of how great and how much fun the walk was.

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