Ready to welcome spring? Here’s a sampling of the best spring events in New England, from flowers and farms to antiques and a river filled with rubber ducks.
By Yankee Magazine
Mar 18 2022
Please note that businesses, attractions, and events throughout New England have been modified, closed, and/or canceled in response to the COVID-19 health crisis. Please travel responsibly, and check with state guidelines and individual businesses and organizations before making travel plans.
Spring in New England is a wondrous time, as we head outside to shake off the winter cobwebs and turn our faces toward the long-awaited sunshine. It’s a time to celebrate maple sugar, spring blooms, sheepshearing, and a host of other sights, tastes, and sounds that make spring in New England such a glorious season. Ready to think spring? Here are some of our picks for the best spring events in New England. (You can also celebrate everything spring with the help of two of our longer guides, “Best Spring Flower Festivals in New England” and “Best Sheep and Wool Festivals in New England.”)
For almost three decades, this festival has celebrated all things maple with a weekend of food, music, crafts, and a full lineup of fun. Tour more than half a dozen sugarhouses, sample maple treats of every description (think maple-chocolate pretzels and maple ice cream sundaes), and take in the entertainment, which includes demonstrations of colonial-era skills and a tractor parade.
This annual event commemorates the planting of 73 Japanese Yoshino cherry trees in 1973 by the New Haven Historic Commission in cooperation with the New Haven Parks Department. Welcome spring with food, live music, children’s arts and crafts, and more.
Featuring more than 650,000 blooming daffodils and two packed days of fun, the Meriden Daffodil Festival is a favorite Connecticut spring event. Enjoy live music, gourmet food trucks, the Little Miss Daffodil pageant, arts and crafts, a 5K road race, parade, carnival rides, and “Connecticut’s largest tag sale.” Did we mention there are fireworks, too?
Spring makes its long-awaited return in March, so be there to greet it at one or more of the participating member sugarhouses of the Maine Maple Producers Association. The offerings are different at each one, but look for tours, demonstrations, games, activities, and (of course) free samples. Check the website for locations.
A visit to the Cobscook Bay area during spring migration and nesting season is the lure of America’s easternmost birding festival, one of the best spring events in New England for nature lovers. Enjoy independent explorations and professionally guided hikes, sightseeing boat rides, sunset cruises, and a lineup of expert speakers at the Cobscook Community Learning Center.
Where better to commemorate Patriots’ Day, which marks the battles of Lexington and Concord and the start of the American Revolution, than on the very ground where so much history happened? Thousands of people visit Minuteman National Park during the annual Patriots’ Day festivities, one of the best spring events in New England for history buffs. Show up early and you may have an opportunity to tip a pre-fight pint with British and colonial reenactors at Munroe Tavern. Beyond the battlefield, Lexington, Concord, and the surrounding towns serve up a weekend jam-packed with patriotic fun.
SEE MORE:The Battles of Lexington and Concord Reenactment | Patriots’ Day Photos
The island’s annual celebration of all things daffodil includes art shows, tours, an antique car parade, tailgate picnic, window decorating contest, and the Nantucket Daffodil Flower Show. Costumes are encouraged — especially at the “daffy hat” contest and the children’s parade.
SEE MORE: The Nantucket Daffodil Festival | One Million Daffodils
The largest outdoor antiques show in the country, with over 4,500 dealers and 130,000-plus visitors during the course of the week, kicks off the first of its three annual events each spring, making it a clear contender for the best spring events in New England. Running about a mile along Route 20 on both sides of the road and extending several hundred yards back, dealers show off their wares for pickers and collectors — both casual and ferocious. We dare you to leave empty-handed. (If you miss the spring show, make sure to mark your calendar for July or September.)
LEARN MORE:10 Tips for Surviving the Brimfield Antique Show
Stop by a participating New Hampshire sugarhouse on Maple Weekend for a behind-the-scenes look at maple production. Some places offer tours, others serve pancake breakfasts — long story short, there’s something for everyone. Check the website for participants’ times and locations.
Alpacas, llamas, and sheep, oh my! The Deerfield Fairgrounds hosts all the action, ranging from sheepdog trials and a best-in-show competition to demonstrations of weaving, spinning, and shearing, and informative sessions on caring for your woolly friends.
Head to the beautiful White Mountains of New Hampshire to take in a sight unlike any other, as 3,500 yellow rubber ducks race their way downstream to the finish line. Prizes include cash, vacation stays, dining certificates, spa treatments, gift baskets, attractions tickets, and more. Come for the ducks, stay for the food and fun.
Celebrate the annual blooming of daffodils at more than 2o events throughout the city of Newport, including a parade, garden tours, and classic car show. Best of all? Free parking during the event means you can enjoy the day with no interruptions to feed the meter.
Put an exclamation point at the end of the winter season with a day of good music and great beer at Mount Snow. More than 20 breweries will be on hand, with over 50 taps pouring delicious ales, stouts, lagers, ciders, and everything in between.
At the heart of this event is the state’s largest maple contest, with farms from around Vermont vying to see who has the best syrups, candies, and other treats. There are plenty of other diversions, too: Shop at the antique show and the Vermont Maple Store, cheer on the annual parade, sample tidbits from the craft and specialty food show, and take in a variety of musical acts on the Main Street stage.
This popular event in charming Woodstock offers visitors the opportunity to get up close with the farm’s adorable baby animals, plant an heirloom seed, participate in fun craft activities, and more. Meet the farm’s calves, lambs, steers, goats, chicks, and bunnies while enjoying spring on the farm.
What would you add to our list of the best spring events in New England? Let us know!
This post was first published in 2013 and has been updated.