If fall is your favorite season and you love to see the leaves turn color, you may wonder where the best leaf-peeping spots are in D.C.
First, you must set your mind to the fact that although D.C. has bucolic beauty o-plenty, it’s not New England. There is nowhere here where you can go and gaze out over miles of forests steeped in color like a brimming bowl of Fruity Pebbles at the breakfast table. For such scenery, you’ll have to make a day trip out to West Virginia.
Many D.C. residents don’t have time for this, however, partly because they are always working and partly because they’re likely to encounter pockets of no cell phone service among all those trees out in the country.
Where can you get a quick dose of pastoral beauty and a strong WiFi signal?
The Mall — The trees lining either side of our National Mall turn yellow, orange and red once the cool weather hits. Head down on a sunny, clear day and snap some pix with the Capitol or the Washington Monument in the background. The great part is when you’re done, you’re only steps away from an amazing museum or a cold beer.
You can’t get that in West Virginia.
West Potomac Park — If you’re feeling up for a long walk, start your trek on the Mall and head down to the Lincoln Memorial and the Tidal Basin. The cherry trees are just as beautiful in fall as they are in spring — and no crowds!
Meridian Hill Park — Time was this was the place to go to see trash and syringes, but now it’s one of “the most romantic places in Washington,” according to the Post. More than 100 years old, the park, built in the style of an Italian garden complete with cascading waterfall, has seen many changes over the years. This gem is beautiful in all four seasons.
Rock Creek Park — These 1,754 acres of green turn beautiful shades of gold at the end of each summer, giving amateur photographers foolproof shots of rushing water with a backdrop of stunning color. Beach Drive is under construction, so if you plan to head out, check first for road closures and parking bans.
The C&O Canal — Georgetown isn’t just for cupcakes. Just a few blocks away from some of the ritziest shopping this city has to offer, the trees lining the waterfront insulate nature lovers from the noise of the city. It’s too late this season to rent a kayak, but take your bike — or just your feet — down to the Capital Crescent Trail and check out the scenery.
And you don’t have to travel to see beautiful leaves — you might be able to find some right in front of your house. Even if you live downtown in an apartment, there are likely some trees nearby. Collect some leaves of various colors and put them in a vase or glass bowl on your dining room table for a festive seasonal decoration. Refresh them every few days with newly fallen leaves, or try these tips for preserving the color.