Go Beyond the Basin with Self-Guided Garden Tour - March 27 thru April 11, 2010

Fairfax County, VA - February 23, 2010 - After a historic winter, which provided copious snapshots of majestic memorials blanketed in snow, residents of the National Capital Region and tourists alike are looking forward to the annual National Cherry Blossom Festival like never before. As spring finally begins to bloom, the 16-day festival is the perfect time to experience the natural beauty of Fairfax County.

Between March 27th and April 11th, Festival visitors are invited to plan a self-guided tour of the area's splendid gardens. In addition to the District's iconic Tidal Basin and the U.S. National Arboretum, plan stops at the following not-to-miss grounds:

River Farm www.ahs.org/river_farm (703-768-5700)

A historic 25-acre site on the banks of the Potomac River, River Farm was once part of George Washington's original five farms, and currently the headquarters of the American Horticultural Society. The grounds offer spectacular river views, a wildlife garden and delightful children's areas, including the Fairy Tale and Hummingbird gardens.

Green Spring Gardens www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/gsgp (703-642-5173)

There's something here for everyone: a wooded stream, valley with ponds, a native plant garden, over 20 thematic demonstration gardens, and a greenhouse filled with tropicals. It's an outdoor classroom, a museum and a national historic site.

Meadowlark Botanical Gardens www.nvrpa.org/parks/meadowlark (703-255-3631)

More than 100 cherry trees surrounding a lovely lake, an extensive shade garden, native wildflowers, gazebos, birds, butterflies, seasonal blooms and foliage. On April 11th from noon - 3, sushi will be available to enjoy under the trees for a small fee-a memorable experience to end the Festival!

During the Festival, visitors are encouraged to check in at the main desk at each location to receive a special gift. Log onto the individual websites or call for hours and directions.

Visit Fairfax welcomes Festival participants to stop at the official Fairfax County Visitor Center in Tysons Corner Center for free gifts, Festival schedules and information throughout the event. Helpful visitor counselors will also provide insider tips about the County's tourist attractions. In addition, on April 3rd from 11:30 - 2:00, visitors can see craft demonstrations and take home a free Festival souvenir. More information is available on the Visit Fairfax website at www.fxva.com.

Visit Fairfax is the official tourism organization for Fairfax County, Virginia. Charged with destination marketing and tourism promotion, it is directed by many of the County's top tourism and hospitality leaders. For more information, please visit www.fxva.com.

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