Come spring, New England is the hub for food festivals — the season is getting started and these states are seasonally focused. Most look forward to the warmer months, when tourists head to the coast as well as the Cape and Islands to relax and enjoy the good food and great weather. A fantastic way to be a tourist is by exploring local festivals that showcase the region's food and drink culture, and food festivals are the perfect place to start!
Dates: March 23 and 24
Location: Newfield, Maine
Head to Newfield, Maine, for Maine Maple Weekend and spend the weekend enjoying free activities at Hilltop Boilers, an environmentally-friendly maple farm that's been passed down for four generations now. Tour the facilities, taste the different grades of syrup and enjoy the festivities in classic New England fashion. You'll be able to taste maple pancakes and ice cream as well as enjoy fudge samplings and maple whoopie pies. Located in the foothills of southwestern Maine, it's also near Stonewall Kitchen, another foodie attraction that offers culinary classes and creates amazing food products.
Dates: April 26 to 28
Location: St. Albans, Vermont
Vermont Maple Festival is the holy grail of maple festivals. Head to St. Albans, Vermont, for two packed days of maple fun. Bring the family and stay at a local inn or bed and breakfast, because the activities will surely tire you out by the end of the day. With morning demonstrations and cooking contests and a craft and specialty food show on the first day, you'll be looking forward to the Pancake Breakfast to get you fueled up for the 8.5 Mile Annual Sap Run! If you're into more low-key events, make sure to take a sugarhouse tour and learn what happens behind the scenes of making maple syrup from local sugarhouse owners.
Dates: May 9 to 12
Location: Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts
Take the ferry to Martha's Vineyard for the Martha's Vineyard Wine Festival and indulge in meeting, greeting and discovering more than 200 wineries from all over the world in this first annual festival. Start off with a reception at the popular Atria Restaurant in Edgartown on Friday, take a tour of the oyster beds while sipping on Champagne on Saturday morning and then head on over to the Grand Tasting, where local restaurants merge with wineries to create an experience unlike any other. Finish off the weekend with a bottomless bloody mary and mimosa brunch in Edgartown. With wine dinners hosted at local homes, this festival will be personalized, approachable and boozy!
Dates: May 31 to June 2
Location: Block Island, Rhode Island
Located off the coast of Rhode Island, Block Island is packed with quaint shops, local farms and delicious restaurants. Explore the island on a kayak or paddle board tour, learn about the island folktales from your taxi drivers and enjoy the special discounts in lodging and restaurants. Discover all about lobsters — from catching them to cooking them! The variety of events during the Taste of Block Island are extensive and change yearly, so be sure to visit their site for updated information.
Whichever festival you decide to explore and discover, make sure to support the local culture; shop from local markets, buy crafts from artisans and bring home ingredients from the area. Nothing like coming home from Maine or Vermont with a jug of pure maple syrup!
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