Spring is a fickle season in Maine. We’ve had plowable snow in April and I remember a May so warm a few years ago that I had a tan by Memorial Day. Even though the weather changes with the drop of a hat there are still some great ways to get out an enjoy Maine’s most unpredictable season.
Red’s Dairy Freeze Opens
Growing up in South Portland you knew March meant that Red’s would be opening soon. You would patiently wait for signs of movement in the building and usually around Saint Patrick’s Day the order windows would open and you just knew that spring had sprung. Red’s is currently open for it’s 70th season,make sure you ask for eyes on your ice cream.
Maine Maple Sunday
This year marks the 39th annual Maine Maple Sunday! More than 100 sugarhouses will be opening their doors so you can see maple syrup production up close. Many houses also have farm animals to visit which is always a bonus in my book. Some sugarhouses are known to host pancake breakfasts, offer fresh donuts, maple whoopies and ice cream topped with syrup. Yum! And of course there will be fresh local syrup available to purchase so you can support these farms. Maine Maple Sunday is always the fourth Sunday in March although some sugarhouses are offering events for both Saturday and Sunday. Get more information here.
Reggae Fest at Sugarloaf
This festival pretty much symbolizes the end of winter on the mountain and what better way to wrap up a season of snowboarding and skiing than a reggae festival. Over the course of four days, there will be multiple parties with live music and other outside entertainment on the “beach.” It’s a super fun time and a great way to say goodbye to the winter season. The festival is April 7-11 this year.
Portland Sea Dogs Opening Day
I am not a big sports fan but when I asked my students what they love about spring many of them said going to see the Sea Dogs. The first game of the season is scheduled for April 8th. Will it be chilly? Probably. Will Mainers throw on another layer to support the home team? You bet. Don’t forget to grab a Sea Dog Biscuit, even in cold temperatures they are SO good. More info here.
Typically in mid April whale watching season begins in Maine. Hungry whales start to arrive off the Maine coastline to feast on food before they head south later in the year. Going on a whale watch is a great way to spend a day. If you spot a whale…AMAZING, but if you don’t you just spent a lovely day out on the water and I bet you saw a seal or two. Check out Odyssey Whale Watch, First Chance Whale Watch, or Bar Harbor Whale Watch Co. Bonus: some of these boats also offer puffin cruises which usually start in mid-May.
Kenduskeag Stream Canoe Race
This 16+ mile race is held annually on the third weekend of April and is the largest paddling event in New England. People race their canoes and kayaks in the freezing cold water and sometimes even dress up in crazy costumes. I’ve never been to this race but it sounds like fun. Get more info here and check out their site, whoever manages it has a great sense of humor.
Maine Botanical Gardens
Another sure sign that winter is over is when the botanical gardens have their opening day. This year it will be on Sunday May 1. Keep an eye out for the Guardians of the Seeds giant trolls who are hidden throughout the vast wooded areas while you explore the 300 acres grounds and take in some fresh air.
All Roads Music Festival
This annual Belfast indie music fest is back and better than ever after taking a two year hiatus. The festival kicks off on Friday night with opening performances held at the Steamboat Landing and a full day of tunes on Saturday. This year’s dates are May 20-21.
Getting outside in Maine is always a good idea, just make sure you have the right gear!