New England Events – May 2013
Welcome to May in New England! See landscapes of daffodils, azaleas, and rhododendrons. Join the annual Duckling parade in Boston, head to one of the best antiques fairs in the country in Massachusetts, or watch the birds arrive for the season on the coast of Maine.
May 1- 31, 2013
Kingston, Rhode Island
Wander through six acres featuring over 500 varieties of azaleas and rhododendrons. Flowering typically peaks mid-May through June. The gardens were created by Lorenzo Kinney, Jr. in his retirement; he also developed new varieties of azaleas that would thrive in southern New England.
Select dates from May - October
Providence, Rhode Island
WaterFire is a highly unique public art experience that has attracted tens of thousands of visitors to Rhode Island’s creative capital city of Providence. The event is based on an original artistic installation of bonfires lit on the three waterways passing through downtown Providence. On select evenings throughout the year, WaterFire creates a magical artistic event celebrating earth, air, fire and water. Amidst the flicking firelight of 100 bonfires, stroll through Waterplace Park and enjoy music and entertainment from around the world. Dates for the season are typically announced in May.
May 4, 11, 26 - 2013
The Forks, Maine
On these dates, special dam-controlled high water releases on Maine’s most continuous whitewater offer Class IV excitement. The Dead River builds throughout the day in rapids such as Humpty Dumpty, Elephant Rock and Spruce Ledges, culminating in the longest rapid in the Northeast, “Poplar Hill Falls”. Trips fill quickly, so book today! See the website for the various rafting operators in this region.
May 5, 2013
Celebrate a new season at the Shelburne Museum on Opening Day. The grounds are in fragrant full bloom with over 400 lilacs in 90 varieties. Enjoy lilac tours, gardening tips, demonstrations and live music.
May 10-12, 2013
Misquamicut State Beach - Westerly, Rhode Island
SpringFest will include an Outdoor International Food Court, Springfest Classic Car Shows, a Mountain Bike Stunt Show, crafters and commercial vendors, a ferris wheel and major rides, a petting zoo, pony rides, and more. Fireworks on Friday night.
May 11, 2013
Providence, Rhode Island
Each year Tour Rhode Island acts as a statewide kick-off event that celebrates National Tourism and Travel Week in a big and exciting way. On May 11, 2012, come along on one of 15 themed tours hitting the Rhode Island highways and byways. Choose from historic tours, biking tours, garden tours and even a Family Guy tour based on the popular Fox TV series which features a dozen or more Rhode Island sites. Discover Rhode Island and have a great time!
May 12, 2013
Arnold Arboretum – Boston, Massachusetts
The Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University is the oldest public arboretum in North America and one of the world’s leading centers for the study of plants. Of the thousands of flowering plants in the Arboretum, only one — the lilac — is singled out each year for a daylong celebration. Come to Lilac Sunday for tours of the lilacs, dance performances, picnicking (allowed on this special day only), and family activities that make for a memorable day. Be a part of this beloved Boston tradition! Street parking along the Arboretum perimeter is limited and visitors are advised to take public transportation.
May 12, 2013
Boston Common - Boston, Massachustts
This beloved annual event on Mother’s Day celebrates the classic children’s story Make Way for Ducklings, about a pair of mallard ducks who decide to raise their family on the island of the Boston Public Garden lagoon and the family’s adventures getting there. Each year, over a thousand children dressed as their favorite characters from the story gather on the Common to enjoy face painting, music making, clowns, and other entertainment before marching through Beacon Hill behind the Harvard Band to the Public Garden. Mayor Menino and President Emeritus Henry Lee will greet families at the end of the parade, and actors from the Wheelock Family Theater will read the beloved book by Robert McCloskey. Registration and entertainment on the Common begin at 10:30 am at the base of the Shaw Memorial, across Beacon Street from the State House, and the parade begins at noon. There is a $35 donation per family ($40 the day of the event).
May 14-18, 2013
The Brimfield Antiques Show is the largest outdoor antiques show in the country, with over 4,500 dealers and 130,000+ visitors during the course of the week. Often referred to as “The Show,” it is actually comprised of 23 fields, owned by promoters who lease spaces to dealers from all over the world. The Show takes place three times a year. The Show runs about a mile along Route 20, on both sides of the road, extending several hundred yards back from each side of the road. Most dealers opt to show their wares inside large and comfortable tents, and all fields are contiguously located next to each other, so seeing everything is an easy stroll. This show also runs in July and September.
Mid-to-late May through mid-June 2013
Hildene Estate – Manchester, Vermont
Hildene is a beautiful Georgian Revival mansion built by Robert Todd Lincoln, son of America’s 16th president, Abraham Lincoln. With its beautiful gardens, the hillside estate offers breathtaking views of southern Vermont. Weather permitting, the last two weeks of May and the first two weeks of June signal the beginning of the season when the Formal Garden comes to life with thousands of peony blooms; many of them from the original 1907 plants. Nearby, shop at premier brand outlets stores at Manchester Designer Outlets.
May 15-19, 2013
Nantucket Island, Massachusetts
Over the past 16 years the Nantucket Wine Festival has blossomed into one of the nation’s most celebrated wine and food events. With the help of Nantucket’s landmark hotel, The White Elephant, the festival is staged entirely in the heart of downtown Nantucket. Events include a grand tasting, harbor gala, wine and food seminars, a lunch symposia, and a celebrity chef and winemaker auction dinner.
May 16-19, 2013
Bar Harbor, Maine
Nestled on the east side of Mt. Desert Island, surrounded by Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor is a classic New England destination. A Taste of Bar Harbor is a food festival featuring local restaurants, cafés, and establishments that offer the epicurean delights visitors enjoy in Bar Harbor. The festival kicks off on Thursday, May 16th with Dessert Night 6-9 pm; take a self-guided tour of participating restaurants sampling their signature desserts. Friday, May 17th is the Pub Tour 5-9 sponsored by Atlantic Brewing Company. On Saturday, May 18 it’s the popular Chef’s Table sponsored by Pine State Beverage. Experience at 5-course dinner and wine pairings at one of four exclusive restaurants. Chefs will be giving tours, demonstrations and sharing recipes. During the day on Saturday, don’t miss the new Maine May Beer Fest featuring Maine breweries on the patio at Rupununi. Get out all week long for the $20.13 Menu! Participating restaurants will be offering a prix fixe menu for $20.13; whether it be an appetizer and glass of wine for $20.13 or 2-for-$20.13, or a 3-course meal for $20.13.
May 17-19, 2013
Deer Isle/Stonington, Maine
This annual bird migration festival celebrates birding and art on Deer Isle. The Festival begins Friday evening with a gallery opening featuring work by over 50 island artists, artisans and sculptors, all inspired by the Island’s natural beauty. Saturday and Sunday are filled with guided birding walks and talks at several of the Island’s conservancies, pelagic boating trips to see nesting puffins, kayak trips, bird identification lectures, eagle spotting, sculpture and painting classes, a local foods supper and many other activities.
May 18, 2013
Bristol, Rhode Island
Coggeshall Farm Museum is a living history farm set on 48 acres in Bristol, Rhode Island. The museum depicts Bristol’s agrarian life in the year 1799 through live interpretation, historic structures, and heirloom plants and animals. At this festival see craftspeople demonstrate traditional and contemporary fiber arts; purchase your own textile supplies, equipment, and gifts to take home; watch the hand shearing of sheep and help with eighteenth century textile and farm work.
May 18, 2013
Motif No.1 Day began in 1949 as an opportunity for Rockport residents and visitors to come together to celebrate Rockport’s heritage of the arts, symbolized by our famous red fishing shack, Motif No.1, the subject of countless paintings during the early 20th century. Rockport honors this iconic building with a day dedicated to the Arts, expressed in family-focused, interactive ways. A highlight of the festival is the Sidewalk Chalk Art contest, creating art spontaneously on the sidewalks of Rockport. Art activities for children, a scavenger hunt (finding temporary, small-scale sculptures of the Motif), poetry readings, film, art exhibits, dramatic presentations and fantastic live music will all be featured for a festival that encompasses nearly every artistic medium. This is a unique celebration of a unique coastal town.
May 18-26, 2013
Heritage Museums and Gardens is comprised of three galleries and expansive gardens located in historic Sandwich, Massachusetts on the northern portion of Cape Cod. It includes galleries for American Folk Art, a vintage carousel, automobiles and traveling exhibitions. During this festival, come see thousands of rhododendrons in more than 100 varieties cover the museum’s 100 acres with spectacular blooms. Enjoy a peaceful walk surrounded by walls of flowers, learn more about these gorgeous plants from horticulture experts, explore Heritage’s connection to noted rhododendron hybridizers Charles Dexter and Jack Cowles, challenge yourself to a rhododendron scavenger hunt and participate in other family activities. A plant sale offers many varieties perfect for a Cape Cod garden, including the rare opportunity to purchase Dexter and Cowles rhododendron hybrids.
May 18 - June 16, 2013
Moosehead Lake, Maine
Each spring the Moosehead Lake Region hosts a month-long celebration of the area’s favorite resident – THE MOOSE! The events take place during the time of the year when moose are most likely to be seen. This year’s events include the Moosterpiece Craft Fair, Moose Mainea Kid’s Fun Day, Famous Moose Tales, a Quest Fest, and the Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Moose Photo Contest. Area crafters will have their annual craft fair in downtown Greenville with lots of moose memorabilia and collectables. The fair takes place in the Katahdin Steamboat parking area in downtown Greenville.
May 19 - June 21, 2013
Cape Cod, Massachusetts
The month-long event will include a variety of Cape-wide maritime-themed activities, including guided kayak excursions, lighthouse & walking tours, nautical art exhibits, the Wellfleet Harborfest and Nautical Flea Market on June 1st and more. Maritime Days will culminate with the 5th Annual Cape Cod Quahog Day at the oceanfront Lighthouse Inn in West Dennis on Friday, June 21st. See why this annual event was designated one of the Top 100 Events in North America by the American Bus Association.
May 19, 2013
Newport, Rhode Island
Come to the seasonal opening of Fort Adams State Park, the largest coastal fortification in the United States. Starting on this day, daily guided tours depart from the gift shop, weather permitting, every hour on the hour. View the officers’ quarters, explore the underground listening tunnels, and climb the rampart walls for breathtaking views of Newport Harbor and Narragansett Bay. Parking inside the fort is free or travel over from Newport on a ferry ride. Self-guided tours are also available.
May 24-26, 2013
Lime Rock Park – Lakeville, Connecticut
Lime Rock Park, the road racing center of the eastern US, celebrates its opening for the 2013 season. Lime Rock Park’s traditional season opener, the Memorial Day Race Weekend (Friday – Sunday, no Monday), will once again be jam-packed with top-rank sports car series races, featuring the newly revitalized SCCA Pro Racing Trans-Am Series. This is Detroit’s big iron — Mustangs, Camaros and Corvettes — going toe-to-toe with each other while fending off the advances of Europe’s best sports cars. PLUS, very exciting Formula F and F2000 races! Then, come back Sunday for the fourth annual Royals Car Show: More than 200 of the tri-state area’s finest muscle cars, tuners, rods and antiques sitting pretty on the front straight, a show that benefits the Wounded Warrior Project.
May 24-27, 2013
Cobscook Bay Area, Maine
The Annual Down East Spring Birding Festival provides a unique experience in “the real Maine” where birders can get out on their own and observe a great variety of birds in diverse natural environments. The festival offers birders various self-guided explorations as well as guided hikes, boat tours, and presentations led by area experts. Over 400 bird species have been sighted in Maine, and almost three-quarters of them have been seen in the Cobscook Bay area. Come and see why the northeast coast of Maine and the waters around Machias Seal Island have been identified as “One of the Important Bird Areas in the US” by the American Bird Conservancy.
May 25, 2013
Portsmouth, New Hampshire
Join the celebration of the oldest lilacs in the country. This seacoast event features lilac lectures and sales, historic house tours, and an art show and plein air event. Children’s activities include art projects conducted throughout the day, treasure and scavenger hunts, fairy houses, alpacas, and more.
May 25-26, 2013
Billings Museum & Farm - Woodstock, Vermont
Celebrate Vermont’s distinctive dairy heritage during a weekend of sampling delicious Vermont cheeses and meeting local cheese makers; dairy education programs, making cheese, ice cream, and butter.
May 25-26, 2013
Wilcox Park – Westerly, Rhode Island
More than 185 selected artists from New England and beyond participate in this free two-day exhibit and sale of artwork and fine crafts. Featuring food, live entertainment and free children’s activities. Rain or shine.
May 25-27, 2013
Meredith, New Hampshire
In the scenic Lakes Region of New Hampshire, the Mill Falls Marketplace in Meredith will once again come alive with color, flavor, and music for the 22dn annual Memorial Weekend Craft Festival, featuring over 100 juried craftsmen and women from all over New England with their works. Enjoy craft demonstrations, specialty food sampling and live music daily.
May 25-27, 2013
Three Country Fairgrounds – Northampton, Massachusetts
The Paradise City Arts Festival is one of New England’s most exciting shows of fine and less than functional art. Located on Interstate-91 just 15 minutes north of the Massachusetts Turnpike, Northampton is less than an hour from Hartford, the Berkshires and southern Vermont; less than two hours from Boston, Albany and southern Connecticut; less than three hours from New York City. Designated ‘The Best Small Art Town in America’ and one of AmericanStyle magazine’s top ‘Art Destinations’, Northampton is a cultural, dining and shopping destination for visitors from all over the Northeast.
May 25-26, 2013
Statewide (website offers map)
Most Vermont craftspeople work in studios located in or close to their residences. These are places of production and inspiration located in downtowns as well as at the ends of dirt roads. Wherever their locations, they are exciting places to visit because they reflect the dynamic yet organized process that is used to produce the finished work of art. On this special Open Studio Weekend, drive through the beautiful countryside of Vermont and visit these artists. See website for a map of participating artists. This event is repeated in October.
May 25-27, 2013 (Memorial Day Weekend)
Mystic Seaport, Connecticut
Crack your first lobster claw of the season at the Seaport’s quintessental New England Lobster Days. Lobsters are served in the rough; proceeds are distributed to local charities. Visitors can purchase a combination ticket for food and a museum visit, or purchase food and separate museum ticket.
May 26, 2013
Jackson Village Park – Jackson, New Hampshire
This outdoor action-packed day in the White Mountains of New Hampshire brings singles, families, strangers, businesses and guests all together to forget about lifes trials and tribulations if only for a few short hours. Laugh out loud as 3,500 yellow rubber ducks make their way downstream to the finish line.
May 31 – June 2 201
Block Island, Rhode Island
Over 60 Block Island businesses have joined together to highlight the many different events and activities island visitors can enjoy. From gallery openings, wine & beer tastings, to shopping discounts, hotel specials, restaurant specials, and kayak tours, Block Island presents the very best it has to offer during this great three day event.
May 31 - June 9, 2013
The Burlington Discover Jazz Festival fills downtown Burlington with sounds of jazz, blues, funk, swing and Latin music. For 10 days, the entire city comes alive with a mix of concerts, street parties, cruises on Lake Champlain, meet-the-artist sessions and workshops. With an estimated 45,000 in attendance, venues for ticketed and free events include the majestic Flynn MainStage, intimate FlynnSpace, bucolic Waterfront Park, the bustling outdoor pedestrian mall Church Street Marketplace, and City Hall Park, bars, clubs and restaurants throughout the city. Past headliners have included greats such as Sonny Rollins, Diana Krall, Ella Fitzgerald, Dave Brubeck, Béla Fleck, and more.
Explore more New England events:
- Connecticut Events
- Maine Events
- Massachusetts Events
- New Hampshire Events
- Rhode Island Events
- Vermont Events