That strange, messy time between all-out winter and full-bloom spring is nearly upon us. New England’s mud season features unpredictable weather (even worse than usual!), new allergens in the air, and – you guessed it – lots of wet, sticky mud.
But, despite the mess, there is plenty to love about this time of year. Here are 6 things to do to make the most of the in-between months before spring is sprung in New England.
Embrace the dirt at MuckFest MS (muckfestms.com), a mud-filled 5K obstacle run. This fun event benefits the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, and features slick tunnels, muddy pits and slippery hills for all ages to overcome. There’s even a free Lil’ Muckers play area for the toddlers. Held at the Willard Athletic Complex in Devens on May 20 and 21; cost is $105 per runner.
Snow runoff ensures that mud season is the perfect time to check out New England’s many waterfalls at their peak performance.
New Hampshire’s Swift River offers a scenic drive and several runoffs cascading down the mountain. Sabbaday Falls, Rocky Gorge, and Lower Falls are easy walks from the highway, each with parking and picnic areas. The Champney Falls trail is a longer trek, but offers a series of cascades and waterfalls. For a great spot closer to Boston, try Race Brook Falls in Sheffield, MA that is said to plunge some 300 feet.
One of my personal favorite events is the medieval-themed Robin Hood’s Faire scheduled for the last three weekends in May as well as Memorial Day at the North Haven Fairgrounds in Connecticut (robinhoodsfaire.com). There will be themed entertainment, shopping, food, games, and all the knights, kings, princesses, serfs, waifs, jesters and village idiots you can stand! Tickets are $10 to $15; children 6 and under free.
Early spring is the perfect time for a visit to Appleton Farms. The 1,000-acre working farm straddles Ipswich and Hamilton. There are cows, goats, sheep, and chickens for the little ones to see, and this time of year is prime-time for calves and baby goats! At 4 p.m. daily, you can watch farmers milk the cows.
Just like the waterfalls, the lakes and rivers will be overflowing – with water and fish! Enjoy the warmer weather with a relaxing trip to your favorite watering hole, or if you’re more of an observer, the herring will be running! As many as 1 million fish will migrate through the Nemasket River in Middleborough, the largest herring river run in Massachusetts. Another great spot is Oliver Mills Park, site of the annual herring run festival on April 8 and 9.
There is something so relaxing and comforting about grabbing a pair of binoculars and heading out to your favorite nature spot to watch the birds. In early spring they will be busy returning home to New England from a long winter down south and setting up nests for mating season. Hot spots include Lake Champlain in Vermont; New Hampshire’s Lake Umbagog National Wildlife Refuge, Franconia Notch State Park, and the Winnipesaukee River Trail; the Maine Birding Trail with 82 top birding sites, like Acadia National Park, Scarborough Marsh, and Monhegan Island; and the Mass Audubon’s Joppa Flats Education Center in Newburyport.
Featured Image via Flickr/James O’Brien II