Craving color after a long winter? Check out our picks for the best spring flower festivals in New England.
By Yankee Magazine
Mar 14 2022
Celebration of Peonies at Hildene, the Lincoln family ancestral home in Manchester, VT.Photo Credit : Courtesy of Hildene
Nothing cheers the winter-weary spirit like the first glimpse of green. Spring blooms, from April daffodils to May lilacs, remind us there’s life beyond that heavy winter coat. Ready to welcome spring? Our list of the best New England flower festivals is the perfect place to start.
The island’s annual celebration of all things daffodil includes art shows, tours, an antique car parade, tailgate picnic, window decorating contest, and the annual Nantucket Daffodil Flower Show. Costumes are encouraged — especially at the Daffy Hat Contest and children’s parade.
SEE MORE: The Nantucket Daffodil Festival | One Million Daffodils
When we think city, we usually think of traffic and skyscrapers, but how about lilacs? Come May, one of the best places to see these fragrant blossoms is in Boston’s own Jamaica Plain. Harvard University’s Arnold Arboretum is the oldest public arboretum in North America, and it showcases one of the most impressive collections of lilacs, with over 180 varieties! The best time to see these blooms is on Lilac Sunday, held since 1908 to exhibit the pinnacle of lilac perfection. Take a guided tour of the gardens, then sit back with a refreshment and enjoy acoustic music, storytelling, and traditional English dancing.
SEE MORE: Best Public Gardens in New England
Put on by the Greenfield Hill Congregational Church, this blossom bonanza has been running for over 75 years. The Dogwood Festival is Fairfield’s way of showing off beautiful Greenfield Hill, an expanse of pink and white dogwood trees that have been growing there for over 200 years! But the trees are not the only great sight at this festival: the massive plants and herbs sale offers a variety of charming flowers that can be taken home with you. Plus, all of the proceeds go to charity, so you can feel good about indulging in gifts for all your loved ones (and maybe a little something for yourself).
Once an abandoned trolley bridge, this 400-foot arch across the Deerfield River has been reclaimed to display a garden that is anything but ordinary. Stroll past spring staples like tulips and daffodils while enjoying bows of wisteria overhead and blue hyacinths suspended over the water. Reminiscent of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, this “bridge of beauty” may not be one of the Seven Wonders of the World, but it is certainly a wonder of New England.
SEE MORE: A Bridge for Dreamers | First Light
Spanning across 33 acres, the Blithewold Mansion Gardens and Arboretum is home to one of the most expansive collections of daffodils in the area. Its main attraction, the “Bosquet,” shelters 50,000 daffodils in hues of yellow, white, and orange. Come during prime time to see these daffodils in bloom, but don’t forget to check out the 10 acre “Great Lawn,” the bamboo grove, and historic stonework.
As May ends and June begins, thousands of peonies (many from the original 1907 plants) come into bloom in Hildene’s formal garden. Enjoy these flowers at their peak, purchase heirloom peonies and seeds, and take a tour of the mansion that was once home to Robert Todd Lincoln.
SEE MORE: Hildene | The Lincoln Family Summer Home in Manchester, VT
What are your favorite spring flower festivals in New England?
This post was first published in 2015 and has been updated.