Travel in Brief

A family takes a photo in front of the blooming cherry blossoms near the Chidorigafuchi Imperial Palace moat in Tokyo.

Amid the flowers of springtime, cherry blossoms offer not only natural beauty, but their peak bloom times are often paired with celebrations of Japanese culture.

The National Park Service is predicting peak bloom for this year in Washington D.C. to occur April 11-14, coinciding with and extending a few days past the official end of the National Cherry Blossom Festival, which runs through April 12.

The Brooklyn Botanic Garden in New York City hosts its annual cherry blossom celebration April 25-26.

The Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival unfolds over two weekends in San Francisco, April 11-12 and April 18-19.

In Las Vegas, Bellagio’s Conservatory & Botanical Gardens is hosting its first Japanese-inspired display, including bonsai trees, a teahouse and a koi pond. The exhibit features an 18-foot-tall cherry blossom tree with 300 acrylic blossoms and leaves, on view through May 11. The Bellagio also has a new art installation with stone sculptures by Japanese artist Masatoshi Izumi.

In Japan, as here, cherry trees bloom at different times in different regions depending on the weather, with more northerly destinations blooming later in the spring while warmer areas peak in March or even earlier.

— The Blue Ridge Parkway’s spring opening schedule has kicked off with the opening of the Peaks of Otter Lodge and Restaurant.

The lodge and restaurant in Bedford opened full time on Friday.

The News & Advance reports that the picnic area at Smart View will open April 17. Also on April 17, the former Roanoke Mountain campground will reopen as a picnic area.

The Mabry Restaurant and Gift Shop in Meadows of Dan will open May 1, along with most campgrounds.

The Blue Ridge Music Center near Galax will open May 2 on a limited schedule. Beginning May 21, the music center will be open seven days a week. Its concert season starts May 23.

WASHINGTON — An artist’s foundation has donated $2.5 million as an endowment to expand jazz programming at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.

The museum announced that artist LeRoy Neiman’s foundation is donating the funds, as well as Neiman’s painting “Big Band.” The colorful, large-scale painting features 18 famous jazz musicians, including Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald.

The painting has been installed near the museum’s new Jazz Cafe. The cafe will be redesigned this year to include jazz visuals from the museum’s collection. Nearby, the museum is also displaying Duke Ellington’s traveling piano and Gene Krupa’s bass drum.

The donation came just before Jazz Appreciation Month in April. The museum launched the month of events in 2001 to pay tribute to jazz as an original American art form.

— A tavern in the heart of Colonial Williamsburg is re-opening as an authentic 18th-century ale house.

The tavern opened for the season recently following both a menu and decor makeover.

Officials say the tavern will feature three craft beers made by Alewerks Brewing Company based upon authentic beer recipes from the 18th century.

A display cabinet inside the tavern features archaeological fragments from the excavations of tavern sites throughout the historic area.

The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation preserves, restores and operates Virginia’s 18th century capital of Williamsburg.

It includes numerous restored or reconstructed buildings, among many other attractions.

Associated Press