This weekend will be the peak blossom time for Washington D.C. and the thousands of cherry trees sent there as a gift from Japan more than a hundred years ago. But you don't need to go south to see a spectacular display because Branch Brook Park in Newark, New Jersey has more cherry trees than Washington D.C.
A few weeks after the D.C. display, residents and visitors can see the largest cherry blossom collection in the United States herein NJ. Branch Brook Park (which runs through Belleville and Newark) has more than 2,700 Japanese cherry blossom trees that burst into full bloom during the annual Cherry Blossom Festival.
The park's calendar shows that activities around the Cherry Blossom Festival begin this weekend, although generally full bloom is later than our southern friends. I took a look at the blossom webcam this morning and the trees still look bare. (Check the webcam for an update)
Essex County Parks festival information
Branch Brook Park website
Branch Brook Park Alliance
Branch Brook Park is the first county park in the United States opened to the public and it was was designed by the famed landscape architectural firm of Olmsted Brothers, a successor to Frederick Law Olmsted, the designer of Central Park in New York City.
Named for a branch brook that flowed through the valley into the Passaic River, the stream that remains, and much of the surrounding landscape, still retain a natural appearance. More than 4300 cherry trees that blossom during April are greater both in variety and number than the famed Washington, D.C. display. In 1927, Caroline Bamburger Fuld donated the first 2000 cherry blossom trees to the Essex County Parks system in memory of her late husband.
GET TO THE CHERRY BLOSSOMS
You may use the intersection of “Clifton Avenue and Seventh Avenue” for Internet mapping or GPS.
From New Jersey: Take Route 280 East to First Street/Exit 13. Turn left onto First Street. Turn right onto Orange Street. Turn left onto Clifton Avenue. Park will be on the left.
From New York: George Washington Bridge or Lincoln Tunnel to New Jersey Turnpike South. Take Exit 15W for Route 280 West. Take Exit 14. Turn right onto Clifton Avenue. Follow above directions.
View Larger Map or get Driving Directions via Google Maps
Take NJ Transit or PATH Trains to Newark Penn Station. Board the Newark Light Rail toward either Branch Brook Park or Grove Street. For the Southern and Middle Divisions, exit at Park Avenue. Exit at Bloomfield Avenue to reach the Northern and Middle Divisions; the Northern Division is also accessible from the Davenport Avenue stop. The Branch Brook Park stop provides access to the Extension.
A variety of bus routes provides services to Branch Brook Park. These include NJ Transit's bus lines #11. #27, #28, #29, #41, #72, #74, #90, #92, #93, #99 and #108. For schedule information, visit njtransit.com