Travel

Out & About | Best New England Spring Events for 2019

From opening day at Fenway Park to flower festivals, we’ve rounded up a collection of New England spring events that are worth the drive.

By Yankee Magazine

Feb 21 2019

OutAbout-March-2019

As the 2019 season gets hopping at Fenway Park, the hometown crowd will be more than ready: The Sox will have already played 11 away games before bringing the action to their home field.

Photo Credit : Carl Tremblay
As the 2019 season gets hopping at Fenway Park, the hometown crowd will be more than ready: The Sox will have already played 11 away games before bringing the action to their home field.
Photo Credit : Carl Tremblay

Best New England Spring Events | 2019

VERMONT

The Jack Jump World Championships | March 3

If you’ve never witnessed the homegrown Vermont sport known as jack jumping—in which participants hurtle themselves downhill while seated on single ski, and with no poles for balance—head over to the Mount Snow ski resort to see a lot of great racing (and some spectacular wipeouts) in an annual competition that goes back nearly 40 years. West Dover, VT. 800-245-7669; mountsnow.com

RHODE ISLAND

Saint Patrick’s Parade & Family Celebration | March 16

The highlight of a monthlong salute to Newport’s Irish heritage, the biggest Saint Patrick’s Day parade in the state steps off at 11 a.m. from City Hall, followed by a family-style, alcohol-free party with bagpipers, Irish step dancers, contests, food and refreshments, and more. Newport, RI. 401-846-5081;newportirish.com

MASSACHUSETTS

Opening Day at Fenway Park | April 9

Last fall, the Red Sox became the first team to win four World Series trophies in the 21st century. Expect fans to start cheering them lustily toward a fifth, as they play their home opener against the Toronto Blue Jays. Boston, MA.mlb.com/redsox

MAINE

Kenduskeag Stream Canoe Race | April 20

The 53rd running of the largest paddling event in New England follows a 16.5-mile course from Kenduskeag to Bangor. If you are attending as a spectator, join the crowds near the rapids of Six Mile Falls for some “thrill of victory and agony of defeat” moments. Penobscot County, ME. kenduskeagstreamcanoerace.com

NEW HAMPSHIRE

Monadnock International Film Festival | April 26–28

Known for rural beauty and small-town character, the southwest corner of the Granite State shows a surprising Cannes-do spirit with this seventh annual cavalcade of independent feature films, documentaries, and shorts, plus parties and meet-and-greet events. Keene and Peterborough, NH. 603-522-7190; moniff.org

CONNECTICUT

Daffodil Festival | April 27–28

Come stroll through a carpet of gold as more than half a million of springtime’s cheeriest ambassadors pop their heads up at Meriden’s Hubbard Park. And if that doesn’t shake you out of any lingering winter stupor, the parade, the fireworks show, carnival rides, and three stages of live entertainment definitely will. Meriden, CT. 203-238-1315;daffodilfest.com

Additional New England Winter Events for 2019 

Connecticut

MAR. 3: CHESHIRE, Train Show. Go loco for locomotives at Cheshire High School’s biannual showcase of model train equipment, accessories, and memorabilia, plus a number of large model train layouts. 203-265-7527; ramband.com

MAR. 14–17: OLD GREENWICH, Ephemera Society of America Conference and Fair. More than 80 specialists in ephemera—political posters, postcards, stamps, etc.—will set up at the Hyatt Regency for a weekend of deals, discussions, presentations, and auctions. This year’s theme: “Coming to America: The Immigrant Experience.” 315-655-9139;ephemerasociety.org

MAR. 16–17: HEBRON, Hebron Maple Festival. At this celebration of the sweet and sticky season, learn how maple syrup is produced during sugarhouse tours and demonstrations, and then savor the goodness with an abundance of mapley treats. Children’s activities, a craft fair, and other activities round out the weekend. 860-423-6389; hebronmaplefest.com

MAR. 23–24: HARTFORD, Connecticut Spring Antiques Show. This venerable show returns to the Hartford Armory, where it got its start back in 1973. A premier showcase of early American furniture and decorative arts, it’s equally fun for novices and collectors. 860-345-2400; ctspringantiquesshow.com

MAR. 24: MYSTIC, Irish Parade. Drawing an estimated crowd of 30,000-plus, this parade ranks among the region’s largest. The celebration kicks off from Mystic Seaport and heads into the historic downtown before winding up at the Mystic Museum of Art on Water Street. mysticirishparade.org

APR. 28: NEW HAVEN, Cherry Blossom Festival. Enjoy the sight and fragrance of more than 70 Yoshino Japanese cherry trees in bloom around Wooster Square, where a full lineup of music, exhibits and demonstrations, kids’ activities, and good food will keep you entertained. historicwoostersquare.org

APR. 28: VERNON, Sheep, Wool, and Fiber Festival. Shearing demonstrations, knitting instruction, and sheepdog trials are all part of the fun as farmers and vendors congregate at the Tolland County Agricultural Center for an agricultural celebration that dates back more than a century. ctsheep.org

Maine

MAR. 22–24: PORTLAND, Maine Boatbuilders Show. At the Portland Sports Center you’ll find a gathering of the East Coast’s finest custom-boat builders, as well as manufacturers of boating equipment, all ready to discuss and sell their work. 207-774-1067; portlandyacht.com

MAR. 24: STATEWIDE, Maine Maple Sunday. Come for the nifty syrup-making demonstrations, stay for the tasty samples. More than 80 Maine sugarhouses open their doors today, with fun activities—games, tours, live music, etc.—varying from one stop to the next. Check the website for locations. mainemapleproducers.com

APR. 6–7: NEWRY, Spring Fest Weekend. Head over to White Cap at Sunday River for some memorable springtime revelry: Hit the slopes, cheer on the competitors in the “slip ’n’ flip” relay, and enjoy a lineup of live bands. 207-824-3000; sundayriver.com

APR. 12–14: BANGOR, Bangor Flower & Garden Show. The Cross Insurance Center is transformed into a gardener’s dream as more than 100 landscapers, horticulturists, and garden clubs present beautiful floral and garden displays, bulbs, herbs, greenhouses, sheds, and more. 800-237-6024;homeshows.com

APR. 12–14: OGUNQUIT, Patriots Day Celebration. Historical characters offer insights into the past with reenactments throughout the weekend, which bustles with all-ages activities such as concerts, hay rides, and a rubber duck race. 207-646-2939; visitogunquit.org

APR. 20: DENMARK, Sheepfest. From humble beginnings in 1995, the sheepshearing festival at the Denmark Arts Center has grown into a much-anticipated community event that spotlights the art of sheepshearing and turning wool into all manner of beautiful and useful products. denmarksheepfest.com

APR. 25: PORTLAND, Chocolate Lovers’ Fling. Local chocolatiers gather at Brick South at Thompson’s Point to showcase their creativity and serve up the ultimate chocolate confections, hoping to win your vote in the coveted People’s Choice category. Silent and live auctions benefit the nonprofit organizer, Sexual Assault Response Services of Southern Maine. 207-828-1035; chocolateloversfling.org

APR. 27–28: MADAWASKA, Top O’ Maine Trade Show. The Madawaska Multipurpose Complex hosts northern Maine’s largest trade show, with 75-plus exhibitors displaying their wares and information on their services. Hit the food court for a snack, and maybe head home with one of the prizes that will be given away. 207-728-7000; stjohnvalleychamber.org

Massachusetts

MAR. 2–17: NORTHAMPTON, Spring Bulb Show. A spectacular array of more than 5,000 blooms, from crocuses to hyacinths to irises, provides a glimpse of spring during this long-standing tradition at Smith College’s Lyman Conservatory. 413-585-2740;smith.edu

MAR. 9: YARMOUTH, Cape Cod Saint Patrick’s Parade. Get the Saint Paddy’s Day festivities started early with this annual two-mile parade featuring bands, dancers, and vintage cars. With about 400 people marching and another 40,000 or so lining the route, this parade has become one of the biggest and best around. 508-240-7347; capecodstpatricksparade.com

APR. 12–14: BOSTON, CraftBoston. Immerse yourself in creativity as nearly 100 artisans fill the Cyclorama at the Boston Center for the Arts with their wares.Load up your shopping bag with everything from handcrafted Shaker boxes to luxe leather goods. 617-266-1810;societyofcrafts.org

APR. 12–14: MANSFIELD, New England Folk Festival. Hosted by Mansfield-area schools, this 75th annual event offers plenty of music, dance (both participatory and performed), and crafts, plus food, kids’ activities, and more. neffa.org

APR. 12–21: CAMBRIDGE, Cambridge Science Festival. This celebration of science, technology, and engineering features over 200 events in Cambridge and beyond. Take in lectures, performances, exhibits, tours, debates, and more. See website for schedule and locations. cambridgesciencefestival.org

APR. 13–15: LEXINGTON/CONCORD,Patriots’ Day Weekend. Minute Man National Historic Park pays tribute to the opening battle of the American Revolutionary War with parades, reenactments, and commemorative ceremonies, culminating in the Lexington Patriots’ Day parade. nps.gov/mima

APR. 13–MAY 5: PITTSFIELD, Baby Animals on the Shaker Farm. Springtime at Hancock Shaker Village means the arrival of baby lambs, piglets, goats, ducklings, and chicks. Get in on the family fun by helping with farm chores, learning how to save seeds, weave baskets, make seed packets, and more. 413-443-0188;hancockshakervillage.org

APR. 25–28: VINEYARD HAVEN, Spectrum Film Festival. The Martha’s Vineyard Film Society presents a world perspective on LGBTQ people and issues through films, guest speakers, discussions, and a special event focused on LGBTQ youth. 508-696-9369; mvfilmsociety.com

New Hampshire

MAR. 1–2: NORTH CONWAY, Hannes Schneider Meister Cup. Combining the thrill of modern skiing with the nostalgia of yesteryear, this Cranmore Mountain Resort event honors the father of ski instruction. Proceeds go to the New England Ski Museum. 603-356-5543; newenglandskimuseum.org

MAR. 9–10: HENNIKER, Hawaiian Weekend. Pats Peak Ski Area invokes some tropical flavor with a weekend of live music, festive décor, loud shirts, hot tubbing, contests, and more. 603-428-3245; patspeak.com

MAR. 13–14: PORTSMOUTH, Banff Centre Mountain Film and Book Festival. The Music Hall hosts the touring version of this famed Canadian event, giving local audiences a chance to see award winners and audience favorites from the nearly 400 action, environmental, and adventure films that were entered. 603-436-2400; themusichall.org

MAR. 16–APR. 7: BETHLEHEM, Maple Experience at the Rocks. During the last three weekends of March and the first weekend of April, participate in the process of tapping trees and making syrup, and enjoy horse-drawn wagon rides through this scenic 1,400-acre property. Reservations recommended. 603-444-6228;therocks.org

MAR. 22–24: MANCHESTER, Made in New Hampshire Expo. Explore all that the Granite State has to offer at the DoubleTree by Hilton Manchester Downtown. More than 100 vendors will be showing off their New Hampshire wares, including food and crafts. 603-626-6354; millyardcommunications.com

MAR. 23–24: STATEWIDE, New Hampshire Maple Weekend. More than 100 sugarhouses across the Granite State invite you to stop by for a peek into the sugaring process. Enjoy samples and varied activities at each stop. See the website for locations. nhmapleproducers.com

APR. 6: NEWBURY, Intragalactic Cardboard Sled Race. In this silly signature Mount Sunapee event, cardboard, paint, duct tape, and ski wax are the building blocks of some of the most intricate and professionally designed sleds you will ever see. 603-763-3500; mountsunapee.com

APR. 20–21: LEBANON, Five Colleges Book Sale. This spring tradition (since 1962!) is held at the Lebanon High School Gym, where book aficionados will find 35,000 to 40,000 titles on all topics, plus maps, prints, ephemera, DVDs, and more. 603-428-3311; five-collegesbooksale.org

Rhode Island

MAR. 31: WESTERLY, The Swingles. As part of its Kent Hall Masters Series, the Chorus of Westerly welcomes this British a cappella group, whose first iteration came together in 1963. A lot has changed since then, including the lineup of seven singers, but the Swingles harmonies are as mesmerizing as ever. 401-596-8663; chorusofwesterly.org

EARLY APRIL: BRISTOL, Blithewold: The Gateway to Spring. Each April, when its more than 50,000 daffodils burst into bloom, the seaside estate of Blithewold is a spring spectacle to behold. Mother Nature has some say in the scheduling, however, so check the website for exact dates. 401-253-2707; blithewold.org

APR. 4–7: PROVIDENCE, Rhode Island Home Show. The biggest home show in southern New England returns with its signature interior design showcase and walkable landscapes, as well as hundreds of contractors and product exhibits, seminars, and cooking demonstrations. ribahomeshow.com

APR. 11: PAWTUCKET, PawSox Home Opener. The Red Sox Triple-A affiliate may be relocating to Massachusetts in 2021, but for now they’re still the beloved home team of Pawtucket baseball fans. Come out to historic McCoy Stadium to see them take on the Syracuse Mets. milb.com/pawtucket

APR. 13–21: NEWPORT, Daffodil Days Festival. This townwide celebration of spring invites you to participate in workshops, take a cliff walk, tour gardens and houses, admire vintage cars, and enjoy music, a parade, and more. 401-849-8048; newportdaffydays.com

APR. 24–27: PROVIDENCE, Eat Drink RI Festival. Featuring a star-studded lineup of more than 80 farmers, chefs, bartenders, and food and drink artisans from across the state, this popular festival returns to downtown Providence. Expect tastings, demonstrations, and plenty of dining and cocktail opportunities. eatdrinkri.com

APR. 29: SAUNDERSTOWN, Spring Fair/Fish on the Run at Gilbert Stuart Birthplace & Museum. Visit the birthplace of the 18th-century master portrait artist just in time to view the river herring migration up the fish ladder, and enjoy an afternoon of corn grinding in the gristmill; demonstrations of spinning, weaving, and rug hooking; house tours; and kids’ activities. 401-294-3001; gilbertstuartmuseum.com

Vermont

MAR. 1–3: FERRISBURGH, Vermont Flower Show. Gather inspiration and learn to create your own gardens as you explore the 12,000-square-foot indoor landscape at the Champlain Valley Exposition Center. This year’s theme: “Wonder—A Garden Adventure for All Ages.” 802-425-5117; greenworksvermont.org

MAR. 2–3: BRATTLEBORO, Circus Spectacular. Step right up for this high-flying gala hosted by the New England Center for Circus Arts at the historic Latchis Theatre, featuring students from the local program performing alongside guest artists from circuses around the world. 802-254-9780; necenterforcircusarts.org

MAR. 15–30: Essex Junction/MONTPELIER, Green Mountain Film Festival. Whether you’re a film buff or a casual moviegoer, you’re sure to find something appealing among these feature films, documentaries, shorts, and animated tales from all over the world, screened at multiple venues around town. The first week of the festival is based at Essex Cinemas in Essex Junction; the second week sees the action move to venues in Montpelier. gmffestival.org

MAR. 23: STRATTON MOUNTAIN, Taste of Vermont. Some of Vermont’s best restaurants, chefs, and bakers will gather at the Main Base Lodge at Stratton Mountain Resort, where you can sample their favorite creations and pick up some new recipes. 802-297-2096; strattonfoundation.org

MAR. 23–24: STATEWIDE, Maple Open House Weekend. Celebrate maple syrup season by visiting a sugarhouse to learn about Vermont’s first agricultural crop of the year. Check the website for an open house near you. 802-763-7435; vermontmaple.org

MAR. 30: BURLINGTON, Mardi Gras Weekend. Magic Hat Brewery brings music and merry mayhem to downtown Burlington with a seasonal celebration that kicks off Friday night and culminates in a parade on Sunday. 802-658-2739; magichat.net

APR. 6–7: ESSEX JUNCTION, Made in Vermont Marketplace. From wood sculptures and handcrafted furniture to specialty food products and small-batch spirits, this Champlain Valley Expo event is an opportunity to browse, taste, and purchase products from the Green Mountain State. madeinvermontmarketplace.com

APR. 13: KILLINGTON, Pond Skimming Championships. Are they brave or just crazy? Either way, skiers and snowboarders will put their skills to the test as they attempt to sail across the pond. Competitors will be judged on skim, costume, splash, and crowd response. 800-734-9435; killington.com

APR. 19–20: WOODSTOCK, Baby Farm Animal Celebration. Visit Billings Farm this weekend and you can take a wagon ride, learn about heirloom seeds, and tour the 1890 farmhouse—but save plenty of time for the lambs, chicks, and calves who are the stars of the show. 802-457-2355; billingsfarm.org