New Jersey’s cherry blossoms coming early this year
The largest collection of flowering cherry trees is NOT in Washington, D.C. but in Newark, New Jersey. Yes, Essex County Branch Brook Park has the largest and most varied collection of Japanese Flowering Cherry Blossom trees in a park within the United States, with 5,200 in 18 varieties.
It is a stunning park that straddles the northward neighborhoods of Forest Hills and Roseville and a portion is in the town of Belleville.
Each year Essex County's Branch Brook Park puts on the Cherry Blossom Festival. It starts with the Cherry Blossom Challenge Bike Race on April 1.
The race takes place from 7am to 1pm that Saturday. There is a 10k race the following day from 10am to 12noon.
Family Day is on Saturday, April 15 and the Bloom Fest is the following day Sunday, April 16.
This year, however, the trees are blooming early. Full bloom usually occurs the second to third week of April every year and looks to be a couple of weeks early, starting the very first week of the month.
Different varieties of these trees can reach peak bloom at different times, so various parts of the park may bloom a few days earlier than others. You can be assured to see some trees in full bloom by April 1 this year.
If you've always wanted to check out the more famous cherry blossoms of Washington, D.C. save yourself some time and money and enjoy one of New Jersey's true treasures. Go and see the largest cherry blossom collection in one park, right here in Branch Brook Park.
You can register for events and check out the full schedule for this year right here.