washington dc

Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial | Travel (76/556)

Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial | Travel (76/556) | Alaina Ann Photography (iPhone 6) The Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) Memorial is along the western shore of the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C. Spring, when the cherry blossoms are in bloom, is my favorite time to visit.

I have included a few of my favorite photographs from walking through the memorial. There were few people around, providing a quiet stroll.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial | Travel (76/556) | Alaina Ann Photography (iPhone 6)

Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial | Travel (76/556) | Alaina Ann Photography (iPhone 6)

Bridge Bokeh | Photograph Story

Bridge Bokeh | Photograph Story | Alaina Ann Photography Spring in Washington, D.C. is beautiful. Especially if winter was a bit on the cold side!

The Potomac River and Key Bridge are quite nostalgic for me. I spent many years on the river, as a coxswain, and passed under this bridge countless times during practice and races.

My mom had not yet seen the new waterfront area along the Potomac River and I was looking for an excuse to enjoy some spring weather in the city. So we went for a stroll :)

The river was filled with boats, kayaks and a few rowing shells. Naturally, I told a story or two from my time on the water. My mom kept commenting on how nice it was to see one of my favorite spots up close.

As we reached the end of the waterfront trail, this was our view. The Key Bridge tucked between the trees and tall grass. A perfect representation of spring on the edge of the city.

George Washington Memorial Parkway | Travel (25/556)

Great Falls Park | Alaina Ann Photography Once upon a time, I drove on the George Washington Memorial Parkway daily, traveling to and from work. Although an obvious scenic road, it was years before I realized it was a national park unit, designed to connect and link sites throughout the area, commemorating important events in history.

Hiking Recommendations
  • Haul Road Trail - located in the Dyke Marsh Wildlife Preserve, this trail follows an old mining road for 3/4 of a mile.
  • Interpretive Trail - located in Jones Point Park, this gravel trail takes you through the fresh water marsh area.
  • Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail - a national park unit of its own, this trail offers diverse routes through Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C.

Glen Echo Park | Alaina Ann Photography


Glen Echo Park and Great Falls Park are my most frequented stops along the George Washington Memorial Parkway. Have you been on the parkway or visited any of the local sites? I would love to hear about your experience and tips in the comments below!

Winter Flamingo | Photograph Story

Winter Flamingo | Photograph Story | Alaina Ann Photography Occasionally I find myself at the zoo, photographing the animals, during traveling lulls. At the end of March, after experiencing a winter filled with snow, I was itching to be outside.

My mom and I decided to make our way to the zoo to see what animals were out and about on a warmer winter day. Most of our visit was relatively quiet because we arrived early in the morning.

One of our last stops was the aviary and bird exhibits. After being greeted by an overly excited emu, we turned the corner and saw a sea of pink flamingos. The color was so bright against the dull winter backdrop of lifeless trees, grounds and gray skies.

Flamingos are beautiful. The coral, pink and white combination of their feathers is a stunning combination. I absolutely love photographing them.

These flamingos were rather cold on this March morning. Every single one was curled up with its head tucked in for warmth, standing on one shivering leg.

I wouldn't mind heading back to see them, now that the temperatures are warmer. I trust they will still be hanging out on one leg :)

Trailing White Fireworks | Photograph Story

Trailing White Fireworks | Photograph Story | Alaina Ann Photography Growing up in a suburb of Washington, D.C., I spent July 4th watching the fireworks burst over the monuments most years. Traveling into the city as a family of six was always a bit of an adventure. Whether we parked miles away from the lawn or took the metro in from a local station, it was a full day activity filled with fun family moments.

I have watched the fireworks from many other locations over the years. None have ever compared to my memories in Washington, D.C.

When I moved back to Maryland last summer, I decided to head into the city for the fourth of July. My parents came along and we relaxed (in the hot sun) for hours leading up to the show. Due to the crowds, we decided to watch from the Iwo Jima Memorial in Arlington.

My parents sat beside me on a blanket while I stood with my tripod, flanked by other photographers. The fireworks were just as amazing as I remembered and the experience was quite nostalgic.

I'm still trying to decide if I will make my way into the city tomorrow. I trust I will :)

If you are in the United States and celebrate Independence Day, I hope you have a great time enjoying your local festivities tomorrow!

C&O Canal | Travel (8/556)

C&O Canal | Travel (8/556) | Alaina Ann Photography The Chesapeake & Ohio (C&O) Canal towpath covers 184.5 miles along the Potomac River. There are 74 lift locks and many lock houses along the canal. I love having easy access to the towpath in Maryland and Washington, D.C.

Walking along the canal is a favorite morning and evening activity for me. I frequently visit the Great Falls area.

C&O Canal | Travel (8/556) | Alaina Ann Photography

Recommended Hikes

Hiking and biking are two popular activities for the C&O Canal areas. For a full list of hiking guides, click here. Below are a few of my favorite hikes, as well as a few I plan to explore in the near future.

  • Berma Road - an easy, 1.5 mile trail offering views of Widewater.
  • Billy Goat Trail Section A - deemed one of the most strenuous hiking trails in the east. You will scramble over steep cliffs, rocks and boulders. Four hours is recommended to complete this 3.7 mile loop trail, due to the level of difficultly and climbing involved.
  • Billy Goat Trail Section B - a moderate, 1.4 mile alternative to the section A trail. This trail requires some rock scrambling and travels through the floodplain region with access to the river.
  • Ford Mine Trail - a 2.1 mile moderate hike into the hills. You will also pass the remains of the Ford Mine.
  • Olmsted Island Bridges - an easy .25 mile (one way) trail over a series of bridges, ending at the Great Falls Overlook. The elevated bridges take you across the floodplain region of the park.
  • Overlook Trail - a scenic .7 mile trail offering an overlook of the Potomac River.
  • Paw Paw Tunnel - the largest structure along the canal, located at milepost 155.2 near the town of Paw Paw, West Virginia.
  • Williamsport Walking Tour - a scenic walking tour through Williamsport, visiting the remaining buildings and sites on the canal.

C&O Canal | Travel (8/556) | Alaina Ann Photography


C&O Canal Map Recreation Guide by Mile Post

Have you made your way to the C&O Canal? I would love to hear about your favorite areas along the towpath!

Washington, D.C. Cherry Blossoms | Travel

Washington, D.C. Cherry Blossoms | Travel | Alaina Ann Photography Visiting the cherry blossoms, during peak bloom, in Washington, D.C. is a rewarding experience. Fortunately, I live in close proximity to the city and was able to make my way in for a visit at just the right time during the April blooming period.

The Tidal Basin was a bit crowded, but not nearly as busy as anticipated. My visit was early on a Friday morning and I was back on the metro, heading home, around noon.

Washington, D.C. Cherry Blossoms | Travel | Alaina Ann Photography


The blooming periods shift each year, making it a bit difficult to plan travel from a far distance, timing your stay perfectly. There are, however, great resources available for forecasting the peak bloom.

  • National Park Service - this website is dedicated to the Cherry Blossom Festival. There are webcams, a bloom schedule, schedule of events as well as maps, brochures and directions for planning your visit.
  • National Cherry Blossom Festival - this website is dedicated to the official events surrounding the cherry blossoms. This is a great place to book hotels, view events, keep up to date on festival news and get an idea of everything taking place in the area during the blooming period.

Washington, D.C. Cherry Blossoms | Travel | Alaina Ann Photography

Viewing Areas

Take a look at this map from the National Park Service, showing the different areas where the cherry blossoms may be viewed.

  • East Potomac Park - cherry blossoms line the outskirts of the park.
  • Tidal Basin - you may walk around any portion of the Tidal Basin and find cherry blossoms. Memorials and monuments along the way include the Thomas Jefferson Memorial, Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial.
  • Washington Monument - there are small clusters of trees surrounding the Washington Monument.
  • From the water - if you have access to a boat, kayak or canoe, viewing the cherry blossoms from the water is a lovely experience. The Potomac River, Washington Channel and the Tidal Basin all provide unique views.

Washington, D.C. Cherry Blossoms | Travel | Alaina Ann Photography

Have you been to Washington, D.C. to visit the cherry blossoms? If so, I would love to hear about your experience in the comments below!

Thomas Jefferson Memorial | Travel (7/556)

Thomas Jefferson Memorial | Travel (7/556) | Alaina Ann Photography The Thomas Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C. is set along the Tidal Basin and Potomac River. My favorite time of year to visit is during the peak bloom of the cherry blossoms.

Daily interpretive tours are offered and there's also a schedule of events available on the park website.

Thomas Jefferson Memorial | Travel (7/556) | Alaina Ann Photography

I have found mornings and evenings are the most quiet times to visit, with fewer people at the monument. Walking along the Tidal Basin is a lovely way to see the Thomas Jefferson Memorial from several vantage points.

Have you been to the Thomas Jefferson Memorial recently? I would love to hear about your favorite time to visit and locations to take in the view of the memorial.

US National Arboretum | Travel

US National Arboretum | Travel | Alaina Ann Photography Even though I have spent the majority of my life living in the Washington, DC area, I somehow managed to wait until last year before visiting the US National Arboretum. The arboretum is a beautiful, peaceful and rural area located in the northeast area of the city.

US National Arboretum | Travel | Alaina Ann Photography

At this time, there are 15 main collections and areas within the arboretum. My favorites (so far!) are listed below :)

  • Dogwood Collection - I absolutely love dogwoods, especially during their peak blooming period. The recommended time to visit is mid April through June. This area also offers beautiful views of the Anacostia River.
  • Holly and Magnolia Collection - The large, blooming magnolia flowers always draw me in! This area is beautiful all year.
  • Bonsai Collection - Without question, the most peaceful area in the entire arboretum. The perfectly manicured bonsais and still silence makes for a unique and relaxing visit.
  • National Capitol Columns - located in the Ellipse meadow beside a reflecting pool, this is another peaceful location within the arboretum.
  • Perennial Collection - this garden offers flower goodness from early spring to late fall.

US National Arboretum | Travel | Alaina Ann Photography

I am planning to make another visit to the arboretum this spring. Ideally, I would love to visit once each season while living in the area!

Have you been to the US National Arboretum? I would love to hear about your favorite time of year to visit and the collections/areas you most enjoy!