“The Art of Being Nobody,” by Eric Manners, KEYS TO HAPPINESS, A Reader’s Digest Guide to Successful Living

Keys to Happiness, A Reader's Digest Guide to Successful Living copyrighted by the Reader's Digest Association in 1955 was once the property of the Hotel Rockaway.   Thanksgiving is four days away, the oak leaves on the hydrangea bush and trees hang tight in the wind of early morning light.  The provocative title by Eric Manners, "The Art of Being Nobody," was a phrase I had never heard.  Here's a paragraph from the essay:
Photo Courtesy: Hampton Mansion, National Park Service
Photo Courtesy: Hampton Mansion, National Park Service
"You're you.  If it's truly a part of the youness of you, sleep in a tree.  (Charles Waterton, the grand old English naturalist and grander individualist, used to do that every now and then.  He said it gave him the right tuning for feeling like a piece of God's creation, along with the chimpanzee and the owl.)

National Cherry Blossom Festival 2013

Credit: Lillian Iversen, National Cherry Blossom Festival
Credit: Lillian Iversen, National Cherry Blossom Festival



About: Four anchoring weekends and daily programming throughout the metro-DC region. All events are free and open to the public unless otherwise noted. Key dates include:

Wednesday, March 20 – Pink Tie Party fundraiser presented by Sucampo Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and Escada Cherry in the Air (tickets $200/pp)

Saturday, March 23 – Official Opening Ceremony

Saturday & Sunday, March 23 & 24 – Family Days presented with the National Building Museum

Saturday, March 30 – Blossom Kite Festival

Friday, April 5 – Cherry Blast: Art + Music Dance Party

Saturday, April 6 – Southwest Waterfront Fireworks Festival produced with the Washington Waterfront Association and Hoffman-Madison Waterfront, presented by Safeway and The Washington Examiner

Saturday, April 13 – National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade® ($20 grandstand tickets on sale now, standing room along the route, free)

Saturday, April 13 – Sakura Matsuri – Japanese Street Festival produced by The Japan-America Society of Washington DC (tickets $5, children 12 and under free)

Daily Programming

Experience City in Bloom presented by Capital One Bank, created to visually unite the region with lighting, vibrant Festival signage and blossom decals.

Pick up the free Petal Pass at neighborhood Capital One Bank branches, providing exclusive offers and savings at local attractions, restaurants, retailers, and more.

More than 40 participating organizations offer official events daily.

Visit nationalcherryblossomfestival.org/eventsfor a full schedule.

Hotels: Find information about travel offers with Festival hotel partners Mandarin Oriental Washington, D.C., Renaissance Washington, DC Downtown Hotel, and Kimpton Hotels. The full list of participants Hotel Program with marketing partner Destination DC is online.

Visiting: Find information, refreshments, and Festival merchandise at the Tidal Basin Welcome Centers located in the Paddle Boat park lot and Jefferson Memorial, co-hosted by the Festival, National Park Service, and Guest Services, Inc. A free Festival app for iPhone and Android will be available in early 2013 to plan trips in advance or in real-time.

Note: The 2012 National Cherry Blossom Festival received 10 Pinnacle Awards from the International Festival & Events Association, including a bronze Grand Pinnacle representing the best events and festivals throughout the world.

The National Cherry Blossom Festival is the nation's greatest springtime celebration.  The 2013 Festival, March 20 – April 14, includes three spectacular weeks and four weekends of events featuring diverse and creative programming promoting traditional and contemporary arts and culture, natural beauty, and community spirit.  The 2013 Festival commemorates the 101st anniversary of the gift of the cherry blossom trees and the enduring friendship between the United States and Japan.

Frederick and Louise Vanderbilt Gardens, the Roosevelt-Vanderbilt Historic Sites, National Park Services, Hyde Park, New York

National Park Service, Photo Courtesy W.D. Urbin
Vanderbilt Gardens, Hyde Park, NY, National Park Service, Photo Courtesy W.D. Urbin
Frederick and Louise Vanderbilt bought a 600 acre estate in Hyde Park overlooking the Hudson River Valley in 1895.  McKim, Meade and White, well-known architects from New York were hired to build a new home.  Frederick Vanderbilt with a keen interest in horticulture oversaw the installation of an Italian formal garden.  His garden was tiered, the multiple levels dedicated to specific types of plants: annuals, perennials, shrubs and roses.  The gardens boast 6,000 annuals and 1,800 roses many of which are vintage. Vanderbilt sought to follow the mirror image of an Italian garden with a line drawn either horizontally or vertically.  Often Mr. Vanderbilt would win local competition at flower shows in Dutchess County, New York. A Plant Sale of annuals, perennials and shrubs some from the Vanderbilt gardens or supplied by the volunteers and their gardens will take place on Saturday, May 28th.
Vanderbilt Gardens, Hyde Park, NY, National Park Service, Photo Courtesy W.D. Urbin
Vanderbilt Gardens, Hyde Park, NY, National Park Service, Photo Courtesy W.D. Urbin
For information contact: vanderbiltgarden.org Roosevelt-Vanderbilt National Historic Sites National Park Service  845-229-9115

Perennial Park at the Battery, New York City, Designed by Piet Oudolf


The Battery

The Battery is one of New York City’s oldest public open spaces. Located at the tip of Manhattan overlooking New York Harbor, the Battery hosted Dutch settlers when they came to Manhattan Island and established New Amsterdam. Now the Battery is truly the cradle of New York history, the front lawn of the Downtown district, and a hub of harbor access and cultural tourism. Over four million people, including residents, office workers, school groups, and tourists from around the world annually visit the park and its major landmark, Castle Clinton National Monument.
Encompassing 25 acres of waterfront parkland, the Battery is the largest public open space Downtown. Over 280,000 people work within walking distance of the Battery, and over 50,000 residents live in the surrounding area. The Battery has the potential to serve as a major neighborhood amenity, with expansive lawns, overarching shade trees, vast perennial gardens, waterfront promenades, and cultural programs including summertime open–air concerts.
Virginia Bluebells, Courtesy of The Battery Conservacy
Mertensia virginica, Virginia Bluebells, Courtesy of The Battery Conservancy
As the first step in revitalizing the neglected landscape of the park, the Battery Conservancy recruited world renowned Dutch garden designer Piet Oudolf to develop a horticultural master plan for the Battery. The 10,000 square feet of the Gardens of Remembrance are the first phase of Oudolf’s horticultural master plan. The plan combines 114 varieties of hybrid perennials and native plants, offering stunning beauty through all four seasons, while contributing to the sustainability of the park’s landscape and greatly increasing the efficiency of the Conservancy’s maintenance operations. View plant database: http://www.thebattery.org/gardens/guidebook.php The Battery Conservancy  http://www.thebattery.org
The Battery Conservancy was created in 1994 as a 501(c)(3) not–for–profit educational corporation to rebuild and revitalize the Battery and Castle Clinton National Monument, the park’s major landmark. The Conservancy spearheads the improvement efforts in partnership on City, State and Federal Levels, and with its private donors. The Conservancy plays a pivotal role in the future of the Battery, Lower Manhattan, the waterfront, and the quality of community life for residents, workers and visitors of Downtown. New York City owns and maintains the Battery through the Department of Parks & Recreation; the U.S. government owns and maintains Castle Clinton through the National Park Service; and both are major sites in New York State’s Harbor Heritage Area. Warrie Price, founder of the Conservancy, serves as Battery Conservancy President, and as the City’s Battery Administrator and the State's Harbor Park Director. The Battery remains one of the oldest public open spaces in continuous use in New York City. American Indians fished from its banks, and the first Dutch settlers built a low, stone wall with cannons, a battery to protect the harbor and New Amsterdam. The transformations of the Battery and that of the Castle tell the history of New York and, by association, the growth and development of our nation. The information and pictures are courtesy of The Battery Conservancy.