One of the best things about spring is when the cherry blossoms bloom, but you don’t have to travel to D.C. to bask under a canopy of truly gorgeous flowers. As it turns out, NJ actually has more cherry blossoms than our nation’s capitol! At Branch Brook Park in Essex County, the trees are just starting to bloom. And while the traditional Essex County Cherry Blossom Festival is canceled this year due to COVID you can still walk or drive through the park to experience the beauty firsthand.

“The Coronavirus pandemic has impacted all of our lives, but it has not stopped our magnificent Cherry Blossoms from blooming!” reads a message from Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Essex County Executive on the park’s Facebook page. “While we continue to endure through this public health crisis, we encourage you to witness this natural wonder of the world come to life this spring through our series of virtual events. Residents coming to the park to see the Cherry Blossoms should wear face masks and practice social distancing. We are at a crucial time fighting this virus and we can not let our guard down.”

The 360-acre Branch Brook Park has the honor of being the nation’s first county park and is located in the North Ward of Newark, between the neighborhoods of Forest Hill and Roseville. A portion of the park is also located within the Township of Belleville. Here you’ll find over 2,700 Japanese cherry trees just waiting to burst into hues of pink and white bloom. (If that’s not a perfect Instagram backdrop, we don’t know what is!)

cherry blossoms
ANGEL MADISON

You can check the Essex County Park System Facebook page for updates and also view the Bloomwatch Webcam for live updates. Visitors have reported that the cherry blossoms are already looking gorgeous.

There’s also a Cherry Blossom Virtual 10K Run you can register for. Sign up online and then run under a canopy of blooms. You have two weeks to complete the course and all run finishers will receive a medal and a Cherry Blossom Run t-shirt. The run goes from April 3-18 and those pretty trees will definitely make your run a lot more pleasant!

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