Sometimes on a cross country road trip there unexpected discoveries along the way; at Baldock Rest Area in Oregon along southbound I-5 between Portland and Salem, travelers find a hidden surprise at the “Grove of the States.” A walking trail through the trees has markers at each tree that represent every state.
It is a meandering delightful short path through the trees, and then in the back are more trails and a garden of colorful flowering azaleas. An interesting aside: In the Chinese culture, the azalea is known as “thinking of home bush.”
It would be wonderful if every rest stop would have a place to walk and a special feature like this one for weary highway travelers. It is restful, educational, and especially nice in the spring when the trees are blooming. Travel through Oregon along I-5 is greatly enhanced by large and beautiful trees along the way, and Oregon has some of the countries greenest and most fragrant pine scented rest stops.
From the north – Portland, OR
Take I-5 southbound 17 miles
Signs mark the exit for the Rest Area, between milepost 281 & 282
The National Arboretum – Washington, DC
If you are not driving on the west coast and would like to see the trees of every state visit the large National Arboretum that was established by Congress in 1927. It contains a sample of each of the 50 designated official trees and state flowers on display. Interestingly, many of the state flowers are actually trees too.
The National Arboretum is located in the northeast section of Washington, DC, approximately ten minutes from the Capitol Building. There are two entrances: one at 3501 New York Avenue, NE, and the other at 24th & R Streets, NE, off of Bladensburg Road. Free parking is available in large lots located near the Grove of State Trees, by the R Street entrance, and at the New York Avenue entrance as well.
The arboretum takes up 446 acres with 9.5 miles of winding roadways that about half a million people stop to visit each year. They say you can tour it by car, bus, or bicycle or ride the tram. The tram is professionally driven with a 35-minute taped tour highlights all of the U.S. National Arboretum’s gardens, collections and natural foliage areas. During the non-stop ride, passengers hear a narration about the Arboretum, its history, mission, and collections. It sounds like a tree lover’s delight.
For more personal road trip experiences, go to my blog at crosscountrytravelinfo.com