Spring is the season when New England literally springs back to life. Days grow longer, temperatures warm and April showers reliably bring May flowers. Spring is also a relatively affordable and uncrowded time to visit New England.
Need additional inspiration to plan a spring visit? New England welcomes spring with lively events that celebrate the emergence of colorful blooms. Here's your guide to 10 fabulous flower festivals in New England and neighboring New York.
Location: Rochester, NY
Dates: May 10-19, 2013
Lilacs have bloomed in Highland Park since 1892, and Rochester's famous spring festival offers an opportunity to see more than 500 varieties of lilacs in bloom. This free annual festival, which has a new production company in 2013, traditionally features music including performances by national recording artists, children's activities, a parade, an art show, international food vendors, plant sales and more. For information, call 585-279-8300/800-677-7282 or contact the Springut Group at 585-473-4482.
Location: Albany, NY
Dates: May 11-12, 2013
One of Albany's oldest events, the 65th annual Tulip Festival celebrates the city's Dutch heritage. Historic Washington Park blooms with more than 100,000 tulips in a multitude of colors and varieties. Head to New York's capital city for a Mother's Day weekend of food, music, crafts, kids' activities and more. For information about this free festival, call 518-434-2032.
Location: Shelburne, VT
Date: May 12, 2013
Inhale the sweet fragrance of more than 400 lilac bushes and participate in fun family activities indoors and out as Vermont's Shelburne Museum celebrates its opening day on Mother's Day. For details, call 802-985-3346.
Date: May 25, 2013
America's oldest lilac bushes erupt in lush purple hues each spring at the seaside Wentworth-Coolidge Mansion State Historic Site. Tour the grand Colonial-era home of New Hampshire's first royal governor (who was quite a character), and enjoy family activities, lectures and more on the lawn amid the fragrant lilacs. You can also observe artists at work and purchase heirloom varieties of lilacs, which have been cultivated on the grounds for 250 years.
Location: Franconia and surrounding towns, NH
Dates: June 1-15, 2013
Gorgeous purple and pink lupines in bloom are reason enough to visit New Hampshire's Franconia region each June. The 20th annual Fields of Lupine Festival provides added incentive for travelers, including special tours, horse-drawn wagon rides, a parade, concerts and more. For information, call 603-823-5661.
6. Rose Weekend
Location: Hartford, CT
Dates: June 22-23, 2013
Rose Weekend has been held annually for more than a century in Hartford, Connecticut's Elizabeth Park, the nation's oldest municipal rose garden. For more information, call 860-231-9443.
Location: Bristol, RI
Dates: April 6-28, 2013
During Daffodil Days at Rhode Island's Blithewold Mansion, you'll see more than 50,000 daffodils growing in gardens and along woodland paths. For an added treat, enjoy afternoon tea on select dates (reservations required) during the month-long event. For information, call 401-253-2707.
Location: Meriden, CT
Dates: April 27-28, 2013
With more than 600,000 daffodils in bloom, the annual Meriden Daffodil Festival can certainly be called Connecticut's most colorful event. In addition to fragrant fields of yellow and white daffodils, you'll also find continuous music on three stages, carnival rides, arts and crafts, food, fireworks and entertainment for children at this free festival. For information, call 203-630-4259.
Location: Nantucket, MA
Dates: April 26-28, 2013
Fields of buttery daffodils--more than 3 million of them--are a spectacle to behold each spring on the Massachusetts island of Nantucket. Weekend events include an antique car parade, a tailgate picnic and more. For information, call 508-228-1700.
Location: Fairfield, CT
Dates: May 3-5, 2013
The Dogwood Festival has been a spring tradition at Greenfield Hill Congregational Church for 78 years. Thousands attend this event that celebrates the beauty of dogwood trees in bloom while also raising money and awareness for women and children in need. Traditionally held Mother's Day Weekend, the Dogwood Festival has been moved to the weekend prior for 2013. For information, call 203-259-5596.