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Top New England Events 2013

19 New England and New York State Events Make ABA's Top 100 List

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Jackolantern Spectacular Photo - Providence RI JackoLantern Spectacular

The Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular in Providence, Rhode Island, is an eye-popping Halloween spectacle and one of a whopping 19 events in the Northeast to make the American Bus Association's 2013 list of the Top 100 Events in North America.

© 2010 Kim Knox Beckius
The American Bus Association (ABA) has named North America's Top 100 Events for the 31st time in 2013, and more New England and New York State festivals and events were honored than ever before. The ABA selected 19 Northeast events for its Top 100 list: That's nearly 20 percent of the best things to do in the U.S. and Canada, too!

Chosen as ideal motorcoach tour destinations, these eclectic festivals, celebrations, competitions, reenactments and holiday happenings are memorable and fun for all travelers.

Fill your calendar with these New England and New York State events that made the Top 100 list for 2013:

March 23-24, 2013
New Hampshire Maple Weekend

New Hampshire statewide
603-225-3757

The enduring tradition of tapping maples and the tree-to-table process of transforming sap into maple syrup are on display and celebrated as more than 100 sugar houses open their doors for the 18th annual New Hampshire Maple Weekend. It's the sweetest weekend of the year to enjoy pancake breakfasts at select locations and to shop for made-in-New Hampshire maple products.

May 10-12, 2013
Albany Tulip Festival

Albany, New York
518-434-2032

For the 65th year in 2013, New York State's capital city celebrates its Dutch heritage with a burst of spring color, as more than 100,000 tulips of 140 distinct varieties bloom in Washington Park. Spend Mother's Day weekend enjoying crafts, food, live entertainment, family activities and the annual pageantry of Albany's signature event.

May 25-27, 2013
Lobster Days

Mystic, Connecticut
860-572-5302 / 888-973-2767

Visit Mystic Seaport over Memorial Day Weekend, and you can savor succulent lobster in the rough as an added treat. The annual Lobster Days raise funds for the Rotary Club of Mystic's community endeavors. Museum admission is required, and lobster dinners are an additional fee.

May 31-June 9, 2013
Discover Jazz Festival

Burlington, Vermont
802-863-7992

The line-up is always stellar at Burlington's 10-day, multi-venue jazz festival, which marks its 30th anniversary in 2013. Jazz music in all its myriad forms is performed on outdoor stages and in concert halls: Some events are free.

June 21-23, 2013
Newport Flower Show

Newport, Rhode Island
401-847-1000

New England's most outstanding outdoor flower show is held each summer at glamorous Rosecliff mansion. The Newport Flower Show is perennially named a Top 100 event for good reason: You don't have to be a gardener to appreciate the beauty of this seaside display of judged plants, flowers and exhibits. If you do have a green thumb, you'll love attending gardening lectures and perusing the Gardeners' Marketplace. The theme of the 2013 Newport Flower Show is "Jade: Eastern Obsessions." Take my photo tour of the 2011 Newport Flower Show for a sense of this colorful event.

June 22-August 25, 2013
Chautauqua Institution 2013 Summer Season

Chautauqua, New York
800-836-ARTS

The Chautauqua Institution attracts about 170,000 hungry minds to scenic Lake Chautauqua in western New York State each summer. Over the course of nine weeks, visitors have opportunities to immerse themselves in an array of inspiring and entertaining programs. Chautauqua is an intellectual and spiritual community, where music, dance, art, theater, recreation, religion and education combine to provide a stimulating and restorative retreat.

July 12-14, 2013
Finger Lakes Wine Festival

Watkins Glen, New York
607-535-2486 / 866-461-7223

Sample hundreds of wines produced by more than 90 wineries at 2013's largest showcase for New York's vineyards. This culinary event also features beer tasting, cooking classes and demonstrations, live music, arts and crafts and a Friday night toga party. On-site camping is available: reservations required.

August 15-18, 2013
Lake Champlain Maritime Festival

Burlington, Vermont
802-482-3313

The Lake Champlain waterfront in Burlington, Vermont, becomes a boat lover's paradise for four days in August during this celebration of the storied water body's past, present and future. Festival highlights include a vintage boat show, concerts, air shows, Comedy Zone, the Pirate 5K Run and food vendors and a Harpoon Beer Tent.

August 31-September 1, 2013
War of 1812 Encampment - The Capture of Fort Niagara Bicentennial

Youngstown, New York
716-745-7611

In the War of 1812, the British attack on the oldest fort on the Great Lakes was a serious blow to U.S. defenses. To mark the bicentennial of the capture of the fort in December 1813, Old Fort Niagara will host reenactments including a rare night battle, plus a variety of other history-themed activities. The flag that flew over the fort during the war will be on view.

September 6-8, 2013
Hampton Beach Seafood Festival

Hampton, New Hampshire
603-926-8718

The Hampton Beach Seafood Festival—one of New Hampshire's largest annual events—celebrates its 24th year in 2013. More than 60 regional restaurants serve up seafood delights. The three-day, late summer event also features non-stop entertainment, 80 local crafters, sidewalk sales, Kiddie Land, culinary demonstrations, a skydiving show and fireworks.

September 19-22, 2013
Adirondack Balloon Festival

Glens Falls, New York
518-222-4593

It's the high-flying 40th anniversary year for the East Coast's largest and oldest hot air balloon event. Bring your camera, and capture the spectacle of more than 90 brilliant balloons soaring against the backdrop of New York's Adirondack mountains. In addition to balloon launches, the festival features bands, crafts, food, fireworks and four days of fun for kids and adults.

September 20-22, 2013
Bourne Scallop Festival

Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts
508-759-6000

Held rain or shine under the Big Tent, this 43-year-old annual celebration features tasty deep-fried scallops, along with live music, arts and crafts, midway rides and more. In 2012, the festival, which began as a community event hosted by local fishermen, set an attendance record with more than 55,000 visitors.

September 20-22, 2013
New Hampshire Highland Games

Lincoln , New Hampshire
603-229-1975

Take your whole clan to New Hampshire for the largest Scottish festival in the Northeast. This event features bagpipe bands, Highland dancers, whisky tastings and intriguing competitions including tests of strength, sheepdog trials and fiddling and drumming contests. The Highland Games made the ABA's Top 100 Events list for the 13th time in 2013.

October 1-31, 2013
Salem Haunted Happenings

Salem, Massachusetts
978-744-3663 / 877-725-3662

The wickedest Halloween celebration on Earth lasts an entire month in Salem, Massachusetts: the seaside city that embraces its checkered past. It's a spooky coincidence that 2013 is the first year Haunted Happenings has magically appeared on the ABA's list of top events. From seances to terrifying candlelit tours to masquerade balls to Halloween night revelries, Salem's the place to scare yourself silly this Halloween season.

October 4-November 3, 2013
Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular

Providence, Rhode Island
401-785-3510

My photos of Providence's annual Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular at Roger Williams Park Zoo say it all: This is a dazzling display of pumpkin artistry that you really shouldn't miss if you're in New England in the fall. Talented carvers outdo themselves each year, and the glowing spectacle mesmerizes kids and grown-ups, too.

October 12, 2013
North American Wife Carrying Championship

Newry, Maine
207-824-3000

To what lengths will a man go to win his wife's weight in beer? That question's answered annually at the North American Wife Carrying Championship at Maine's Sunday River ski resort. Held in conjunction with a Fall Festival featuring music, wine tasting and a craft fair, this madcap competition pits couples from across the U.S. and Canada in a race for prizes, prestige and a coveted entry in the World Championships in Finland.

October 12-13, 2013
Cranberry Harvest Celebration

Wareham, Massachusetts
508-322-4000

Cranberries are a critical component of southeastern Massachusetts' economy, and the annual autumn harvest is a spectacular sight to behold. The Cape Cod Cranberry Growers' Association teams each year with A.D. Makepeace Company, the world's largest cranberry producer, to present a festival for families who want to learn more about this colorful crop. Celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2013, the Cranberry Harvest Celebration also features train rides, pony rides and more old-fashioned fun.

November 27, 2013 - January 1, 2014
Bright Nights at Forest Park

Springfield, Massachusetts
413-733-3800

Springfield, Massachusetts' historic, 750-acre Forest Park is illuminated for the 18th holiday season. Bright Nights is a 2.5-mile, drive-through display featuring more than 600,000 bulbs including a Toy Land in lights. One of New England's largest holiday light displays, it features sparkling scenes, plus the chance to visit Santa. On weekend nights, you can even embark on a horse-drawn wagon or carriage ride.

December 6-15, 2013
Christmas Prelude

Kennebunkport, Maine
207-967-0857

Greet the holiday season in inimitable Maine style during Kennebunkport's cherished Christmas Prelude. As you'll see in these photos, this 32-year-old event features enchanting traditions, like the lighting of the lobster trap tree and Santa's arrival on a lobster boat. Even better: It's off-season sale season at Kennebunkport's charming shops, so you can wrap up cool gifts while making Christmas memories on the Maine coast.

About the American Bus Association

The American Bus Association (ABA) is a trade organization of North American intercity bus companies. Members include bus companies that offer scheduled service, charters and tours, as well as others who represent the travel and tourism industries.

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