U.S. National Toboggan Championships, Camden, ME. This is a raucous and lively athletic event where being overweight is actually an advantage. Held at the toboggan chute of the Camden Snow Bowl. Call tel. 207/236-3438. Early February.

Dartmouth Winter Carnival, Hanover, NH. Huge ice sculptures grace the village green during this festive celebration of winter, which includes numerous sporting events. Call tel. 603/646-3399. Early February.

Stowe Derby, Stowe, VT. The oldest downhill/cross-country ski race in the nation pits racers who scramble from the wintry summit of Mount Mansfield into the village on the Stowe Recreation path. Call tel. 802/253-7704. Late February.


New England Spring Flower Show, Dorchester, MA. This annual harbinger of spring presented by the Massachusetts Horticultural Society (tel. 617/536-9280) draws huge crowds starved for a glimpse of green. Second or third week in March.

Maine Boatbuilders Show, Portland, ME. More than 200 exhibitors and 9,000 boat aficionados gather, as winter fades, to make plans for the coming summer. A great place to meet boat builders and get ideas for your dream craft. Call tel. 207/774-1067. Mid- to late March.


Patriots Day, Boston area, MA. The events of April 18 and 19, 1775, which started the Revolutionary War, are commemorated with battle reenactments in Lexington and Concord. Call the Lexington Chamber of Commerce (tel. 781/862-2480), Concord Chamber of Commerce (tel. 978/369-3120), or Minute Man National Historical Park (tel. 978/318-7825). Claiming to be the “world’s oldest” annual marathon, the Boston Marathon is a cherished feature of Patriots Day. Third Monday in April; a state holiday in Massachusetts and Maine.

Daffodil Festival, Nantucket, MA. Spring’s arrival is trumpeted with masses of yellow blooms adorning everything in sight, including a cavalcade of antique cars. Call tel. 508/228-3643. Late April.


Brimfield Antique and Collectible Show, Brimfield, MA. Up to 6,000 dealers fill several fields near this central Massachusetts town, with similar fairs in July and September. Call tel. 800/628-8379 or go to www.brimfieldshow.com. Mid-May, also mid-July and early Sept.

Cape Cod Maritime Days, Cape Cod, MA. A multitude of cultural organizations mount special events -- such as lighthouse tours -- highlighting the region's nautical history. Call tel. 508/362-3225. All month.

Lilac Festival, Shelburne, VT. See the famed lilacs (more than 400 bushes) at the renowned Shelburne Museum when they're at their most beautiful. Call tel. 802/985-3346. Mid-May to late May.

Figawi Sailboat Race, Hyannis (on Cape Cod) to Nantucket, MA. The largest and wildest sailboat race on the East Coast. Intensive partying in Hyannis and on Nantucket surrounds this popular event. Call tel. 508/362-5230. Late May.


Old Port Festival, Portland, ME. A block party in the heart of Portland's historic district with live music, food vendors, and activities for kids. Call tel. 207/772-6828. Early June.

Yale-Harvard Regatta, on the Thames River in New London, CT. One of the oldest collegiate rivalries in the country. Check the schedule for the heavyweight men's crew at http://yalebulldogs.cstv.com. Early June.

Taste of Hartford, Hartford, CT. One of New England's largest outdoor festivals, where many area restaurants serve up their specialties. You'll also get a "taste" of local music, dance, magic, and comedy. Call tel. 860/728-3089. Early June.

Market Square Day, Portsmouth, NH. This lively street fair attracts more than 150 vendors and revelers from throughout southern New Hampshire and Maine into downtown Portsmouth to dance, listen to music, sample food, and enjoy summer's arrival. Call tel. 603/433-4398. Early June.

Motorcycle Week, Loudon and Weirs Beach, NH. Tens of thousands of bikers descend on the Lake Winnipesaukee region early each summer to compare their machines and cruise the strip at Weirs Beach. The Gunstock Hill Climb and the Loudon Classic race are the centerpieces of the week's activities. Call tel. 603/366-2000. Early June.

Nantucket Film Festival, Nantucket, MA. This annual event focuses on storytelling through film and includes showings of short and feature-length films, documentaries, staged readings, panel discussions, and screenplay competitions. You may see a celebrity or two. Call tel. 508/228-1700. Mid-June.

Provincetown Film Festival, Provincetown, MA. Focusing on alternative film, this fete has brought out celebrities like John Waters and Lily Tomlin. Call tel. 508/487-FILM. Mid-June.

Boston Pride Parade, Copley Square to City Hall Plaza, Boston. New England’s largest pride parade caps a weeklong celebration of diversity. Call tel. 617/262-9405 or go to www.bostonpride.org. Early June.

Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival, Becket, MA. The oldest dance festival in America features everything from ballet to modern dance and hip-hop. For a schedule of summer’s ticketed and free outdoor performances, call tel. 413/243-0745 or go to www.jacobspillow.org. Late June through August.

Williamstown Theater Festival, Williamstown, MA. This nationally distinguished festival presents everything from the classics to comedies and contemporary works. Scattered among the drama are readings and cabarets. Call tel. 413/458-3253 or go to www.wtfestival.org. Late June through August.

Annual Windjammers Days
, Boothbay Harbor, ME. For nearly 6 decades, antique ships have gathered in Boothbay Harbor to kick off the summer sailing season. Expect fireworks, food, and parades on land and sea. Call tel. 207/633-2353. Late June.

Tanglewood Music Festival
, Lenox, MA. The Boston Symphony Orchestra makes its summer home at this fine estate. But that’s just the beginning. Tanglewood also hosts a popular artists series, film nights, jazz concerts, touring ensembles, and memorable events. Call the orchestra’s home base in Boston at tel. 617/266-1492, or go to www.tanglewood.org. Late June through Early September.


Boston Harborfest, downtown Boston, along Boston Harbor, and the Boston Harbor Islands, MA. The city puts on its celebratory best for the 4th of July, a gigantic weeklong celebration of Boston’s colonial and maritime history. Events include tours, cruises, reenactments, and the Boston Chowderfest. Contact Boston Harborfest (tel. 617/439-7700). Early July.

Boston Pops Concert and Fireworks Display, Hatch Memorial Shell on the Esplanade, Boston. The big day culminates in the famous Boston Pops' Fourth of July concert. People wait from dawn 'til dark for the music to start. Visit www.bostonpopsjuly4th.org. July 4th.

Wickford Art Festival, Wickford, RI. More than 200 juried artists gather in this quaint village for one of the East Coast's oldest art festivals. Call tel. 401/294-6840 or go to www.wickfordart.org. Mid-July.

Friendship Sloop Days, Rockland, ME. This 3-day event is a series of boat races that culminates in a parade of sloops. Call tel. 207/596-0376. Mid-July.

Vermont Quilt Festival, Northfield, VT. Displays are only part of the allure of New England's largest (and oldest) quilt festival. You can also attend classes and have your heirlooms appraised. See descriptions at www.vqf.org, or call tel. 802/485-7092 for more information. Mid-July.

Revolutionary War Days, Exeter, NH. Learn all you need to know about the War of Independence during this historic community festival, which features a Revolutionary War encampment and dozens of reenactors. Call tel. 603/772-2411. Mid- July.

Barnstable County Fair, East Falmouth (on Cape Cod), MA. An old-time county fair complete with rides, food, and livestock contests. Call tel. 508/563-3200. Late July.

Marlboro Music Festival, Marlboro, VT. This is a popular 6-week series of classical concerts featuring talented student musicians and seasoned artists performing in the peaceful hills outside of Brattleboro. Call tel. 802/254-2394 (or 215/569-4690 in winter) for information. Weekends from July to mid-August.

Maine Lobster Festival, Rockland, ME. Fill up on fresh-cooked lobsters and smoked shrimp at this entertaining 5-day event that toasts Maine’s favorite crustacean. Call tel. 800/576-7512 or go to www.mainelobsterfestival.com. Late July to early August.

Newport Folk Festival, Newport, RI. Thousands of music lovers congregate at Fort Adams State Park for a heavy dose of performances on a July weekend. It’s one of the nation’s premier festivals. Go to www.newportfolk.org. Late July.

Greater Hartford Festival of Jazz, downtown Hartford, CT. Join locals for free performances at the pavilion in Bushnell Park. Visit www.hartfordjazz.com. Late July.

Craftsmen’s Fair, Newbury, NH. Quality crafts from several hundred New Hampshire artisans are displayed and sold at this 9-day festival at Mount Sunapee, held for more than 85 years starting the first Saturday of August. Call tel. 603/224-3375. Early August.

Southern Vermont Art & Craft Fair, Manchester, VT. More than 200 artisans show off their fine work at this popular festival, which also features creative food and good music. Held on the grounds of Hildene, a grand historic home. Call tel. 802/362-2100. Early August.

Newport Jazz Festival, Newport, RI. This 3-day jazz fest brings together some of the best in the music industry to play for a sizzling weekend at waterside Fort Adams State Park. Go to www.newportjazz.org. Early August.

Annual Star Party, St. Johnsbury, VT. The historic Fairbanks Museum and Planetarium hosts special events and shows, including night-viewing sessions during the Perseid Meteor Shower. Call tel. 802/748-2372. Mid-August.

Wild Blueberry Festival, Machias, ME. A festival marking the harvest of the region's wild blueberries. Call tel. 207/794-3543 or 207/255-6665. Mid-August.

JVC Jazz Festival, Newport, RI. This 3-day jazz festival brings together some of the best in the music industry to play for a sizzling weekend at Fort Adams State Park. Go to www.festivalnetwork.com. Mid-August.

Martha's Vineyard Agricultural Fair, West Tisbury, MA. An old-fashioned country fair featuring horse pulls, livestock shows, musicians, and woodsman contests, along with plenty of carnival action. Call tel. 508/693-4343. Third weekend in August.

Pops Goes the Summer, Barnstable County Fairgrounds, Falmouth, MA. Cape Cod Symphony Orchestra concert followed by a huge fireworks display. Call tel. 508/548-8500. Late August.


Windjammer Festival, Camden, ME. Come watch Maine’s impressive fleet of old-time sailing ships as they parade into Camden’s scenic harbor for a weekend of music, nautical fun, and fireworks. Call tel. 207/236-4404. Labor Day weekend.

Acadia Night Sky Festival, Bar Harbor, ME. Mount Desert Island, which preserves the darkest night skies on the East Coast, hosts 5 days of workshops and star parties. Mingle with astronomy buffs and see just how bright the constellations can be. Call tel. 207/801-2566, or go to www.arcadianightskyfestival.com. Early September.

Vermont State Fair, Rutland, VT. All of Vermont seems to show up for this grand event, with a midway, live music, and plenty of agricultural exhibits. Call tel. 802/775-5200. Early September.

Norwalk Oyster Festival, Norwalk, CT. This waterfront festival celebrates Long Island Sound's seafaring past. Highlights include oyster-shucking and slurping contests, harbor cruises, concerts, and fireworks. Call tel. 203/838-9444 or go to www.seaport.org. Weekend after Labor Day.

The Big E, West Springfield, MA. "The Big E" is New England's largest agricultural fair, with a 4-H horse show, ox pulling, carnival food, a midway, and entertainment from the likes of Joan Jett. Call tel. 413/737-2443 or go to www.thebige.com. Mid- to late September.

Provincetown Arts Festival, Provincetown, MA. One of the country's oldest art colonies celebrates its past and present with local artists opening their studios. Call tel. 508/487-3424. Late September.

Common Ground Country Fair, Unity, ME. A sprawling, old-time state fair with a twist: The emphasis is on organic foods, recycling, crafts, and wholesome living. Call tel. 207/568-4142. Late September.


Fryeburg Fair, Fryeburg, ME. Cotton candy, tractor pulls, live music, and huge vegetables and barnyard animals at Maine's largest agricultural fair. Call tel. 207/985-3268. One week in early October.

Mystic Seaport Chowderfest, Mystic, CT. A festival of soup ("chowda" in these parts) served from bubbling cauldrons set on wood fires. Call tel. 860/572-5315, or visit www.mysticseaport.org. Mid-October.

Head of the Charles Regatta, Boston and Cambridge, MA. High school, college, and postcollegiate rowing teams and individuals -- some 4,000 in all -- race in front of hordes of fans along the Charles River's banks and bridges. Call tel. 617/868-6200 or visit www.hocr.org. Late October.

Salem Haunted Happenings, Salem, MA. Parades, parties, fortune-telling, cruises, and tours lead up to a ceremony on Halloween. Contact Destination Salem (tel. 877/SALEM-MA), or check the www.hauntedhappenings.org for specifics. All month.


Northampton Independent Film Festival, Northampton, MA. The cultural center of the state's Pioneer Valley hosts a creative film fest and brings in guests from the region. Visit www.niff.org for details. Early November.

Thanksgiving Celebration, Plymouth, MA. The town observes the holiday that put it on the map with America’s Hometown Thanksgiving Celebration and Parade the weekend before Thanksgiving. At Plimoth Plantation, dining with the Pilgrims is a Thanksgiving Day treat (reservations accepted starting June 1 for this annual sell-out). Call Destination Plymouth (tel. 508/747-7533) or Plimoth Plantation (tel. 508/746-1622). Mid-November.

Victorian Holiday, Portland, ME. From late November until Christmas, Portland decorates its Old Port in a Victorian Christmas theme. Enjoy the window displays, take a free hayride, and listen to costumed carolers. Call tel. 207/772-6828 or 207/780-5555. Late November to Christmas.

Christmas Prelude, Kennebunkport, ME. Join in the merriment of tree lightings, caroling, Santa’s lobster boat, a hat parade, fireworks, and the adults-only Fire + Ice with bonfires and hand-carved ice bars. Call tel. 207/967-0857. Late November to early December.


Black Nativity, Converse Hall, Tremont Temple Baptist Church, 88 Tremont St., Boston, MA. (tel. 617/723-3486; www.blacknativity.org). Poet Langston Hughes wrote the "gospel opera," and a cast of more than 100 brings it to life. Most weekends in December.

Christmas Stroll, Nantucket, MA. The island stirs from its winter slumber for a weekend of shopping and feasting, attended by costumed carolers and Santa, who arrives by Coast Guard patrol boat. Festivities also include the Nantucket Historical Association’s month-long Festival of Trees. Call tel. 508/228-3643. Early December.

Candlelight Stroll, Portsmouth, NH. Historic Strawbery Banke gets in a Christmas way with old-time decorations and more than 1,000 candles lighting the 10-acre grounds. Call tel. 603/433-1100. First three weekends in December.

Boston Tea Party Reenactment, Boston, MA. A spirited recreation of th eevents of December 16, 1773. Call tel. 866/955-0667 or visit www.oldsouthmeetinghouse.org. Mid-December.

Christmas Season Festivities, Newport, RI. The whole city collaborates to use only clear bulbs to illuminate the harbor and wharves, the restored colonials, and the Victorian splendor of Bellevue Avenue. It's all designed to simulate candlelight and the atmosphere of olden days. There also are wreath sales, a blessing of the fleet, caroling evenings, holiday concerts, gingerbread-house viewings, and more. Visit www.christmasinnewport.org. Every day in December.

Woodstock Wassail Celebration, Woodstock, VT. Enjoy classic English grog, along with parades and dances, at this annual event. Call tel. 802/457-3555. Mid-December.

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, festivities throughout New England. Nantucket, MA, features carolers in Victorian garb, art exhibits, and tours of historic homes. December 24 and 25.

First Night First Day, Boston. The original arts-oriented, no-alcohol, citywide New Year's Eve celebration includes a parade, ice sculptures, art exhibitions, theatrical performances, and indoor and outdoor entertainment. Fireworks light up the sky above Boston Common at 7pm and over Boston Harbor at midnight. For details, contact First Night (tel. 617/542-1399) or check the newspapers when you arrive. December 31.

New Year's Eve, regionwide. Portland, ME; Providence, RI; Hartford, CT; Portsmouth, NH; Burlington, VT; and many other cities and towns, celebrate the coming of the New Year. Check with local chambers of commerce for details. December 31.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.