Most everyone is familiar with the famous cherry blossoms that burst into bloom this time of year around the Tidal Basin in Washington D.C. And you can take your dog for a hike on the Mall to the cherry blossoms - it is one of the country's most tail-friendly city parks. But what is less well-known is that there is another Northeast city that has more varieties and numbers of Japanese cherry trees than Washington D.C.
Branch Brook Park in Newark, New Jersey is America's first county park, opened in 1895. The cherry trees were planted in 1927 as a result of a gift from Mrs. Felix Fuld and the Bamberger family. There are more than 2,000 white and pink flowering cherry trees, unique in their placement to be reminiscent of the Japanese countryside. Branch Brook is on the National Register of Historic Places.
The park is an interesting one to hike with your dog. It stretches for almost 4 miles but is usually less than 400 yards wide. Your dog will be trotting on paved and dirt paths through open meadowland studded with cherry trees and small patches of woodlands. the branch of the Passaic River for which the park is named still flows through the park. One of the first things done to construct the park was to transform Old Blue Jay Swamp into a lake that still serves as a centerpiece for visitors.
This year's Cherry Blossom Festival runs from April 15-22. Branch Brook Park is located in the City of Newark and bordered at the southern end by U.S. Route 280, the park crosses Bloomfield Avenue, Park Avenue, and Heller Parkway, terminating near the Newark/Belleville line.
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