Seasons of New England Part 4

Spring

Spring announces its arrival in New England…or so the calendar says!

Finally old man winter is in the rear view mirror and warmer weather is just down the road. Pour a cup of tea and curl up in your favorite chair by the fire…you’ve come to the right place. I’m about to share with you a few things us New Englanders love about spring in our corner of the world.

March snow stormThe picture you see here was taken just last week after the ground in New England was covered in over 18 inches of snow.  The day before I took this photo, I had spring fever and was looking for any excuse to linger outside. I took my Airedale pal, Jack, on the long walk to see the horses he loves to watch; the sun feeling warm on my face albeit the cold temperature. Tempted to rake and wake up the gardens from their winter sleep under the protective blanket of fall leaves, I decided against it. New England weather is very unpredictable, especially in springtime. I remember one early May, years ago, we received about 8″ of snow and all the perennials I had just planted, didn’t survive. So, I impatiently look forward to the long awaited season of awakening and the rebirth of everything beautiful in my gardens. On quiet Saturday mornings I can be found perusing garden magazines and taking notes for upcoming outdoor projects.

Soon, tulips, daffodils and hyacinth will be blooming and buds will appear on the Crab Apple tree in the side yard.

Memories…

We had been shopping for a new home over several months and after visiting listing after listing after listing, were a little discouraged and not very happy with what was on the market. Then I came across one that peaked my interest and thought we should check it out.  My husband was playing in a golf tournament early Mothers’ Day  morning and my daughter and I were to meet him at the country club for brunch…a perfect opportunity to check out the property.

The Crab Apple was in full bloom and covered with so many pink and white blossoms, the leaves were barely visible. The house faces south, away from the road towards 10 acres of untouched woods full of places to explore and make forts…and the home to lots of wildlife to observe and enjoy. The white and lavender lilacs that line the west side of the house were blooming and the smell of the air…intoxicating. My daughter and I took our time walking around the grounds and I remember admiring the gardens and the flowering ground myrtle that framed both sides of the long driveway. It was beautiful. When the realtor asked if I’d like to see the inside of the house, I said I didn’t need to. You can always change the inside but you can’t change the setting. It was perfect.

Long story short…we did tour the inside and I brought my husband back later that day to show him the little gem I found. We made an offer that day, it was accepted and we moved in over Memorial Day weekend, just 26 days later.  So this time of year is very special to me and as I anticipate the crab and lilacs showing off their beautiful blooms in the weeks to come, spring fever is returning.

Harbingers of Spring in New England

Chipmunks are out of hibernation and I can hear the high pitch chirping of the peepers that live in the pond across the road. Red headed woodpeckers can be seen on the suet feeder daily. They don’t like to share, so the white breasted nuthatches, tufted titmouse and chickadees perch patiently on the branches of the old crab in wait. Bluebirds are back and are stunning to look at. And my favorite…the cardinal.

Robins are returning from their migration down south and honking Canadian geese can be seen flying in formation overhead.

Did you know… Robins can fly 30-36mph during migration and often find their way to the exact yard they nested in year after year.

Tiny crocus and violets will soon be showing their colors and I’ll want to take a drive into Boston to attend the annual New England Flower Show. You can smell spring in the air. I don’t know how to describe it but it’s there. You can smell it and I love it.breaching Humpback whale

Other signs of spring in New England are the running of the Boston Marathon and if you’re a baseball fan…the return of the Boston Red Sox.  Let’s not forget about the return of Humpback whales from their trek to the Caribbean where they mated and gave birth to calves. Sounds like they had a joyful winter.

 

Did you know… One of the rarest creatures in the world, the endangered North Atlantic right whale, has been seen by scientists feeding in Cape Cod Bay. I think it’s a good time to go on a whale watch cruise, don’t you?

Mating seasonWild turkeys still visit us every day to eat black oil sunflower seeds that we scatter for them in the field by the barn. It’s mating season and the “Toms” can be seen all puffed up strutting around the hens trying to impress them. If you’d like to know more about wild turkeys, please click here to read my blog “Seasons of New England  Part 3” where I write more about them. I know you’ll find it both informative and quite interesting.

Spring Happenings

Looking for something interesting to do this spring? I’ve got some great weekend ideas for you.

May I suggest…

  • Take the kids to the Children’s Museum, Science Museum or the Museum of Natural History.
  • Visit the Aquarium in a city near you. The New England Aquarium in Boston has been a favorite of ours over the years and is a must stop if you’re in town or the perfect destination spot after a fantastic meal at the infamous Union Oyster House, America’s oldest restaurant. Check out the booths where you will see little signs of what famous person sat in that exact booth, enjoying a meal, even hundreds of years ago. The oyster bar as well as the booths are in the same spot they were in 1826.
  • Home shows are popular in the spring and will get you juiced up with great ideas for those home improvements you’ve been putting off. You know who you are.
  • Surprise someone and take in a flower show.
  • How about white water rafting? Been there…done that…never again. My raft’s name was “Pure Screaming Hell”.
  • There are outdoor antique shows to wander through and maybe pick up something you can’t live without.
  • Vermont has “Open Studio Weekend” where over 280 artists and craftsmen open their studios and invite the public to see their craft in the making. I’ve always wanted to observe a glassblower create something beautiful.
  • Should you be in New England, take a drive into Boston to watch and listen to the Boston Pops.
  • While in Boston, I highly recommend taking the Duck Tour around Boston Harbor. It’s an actual authentic WW II amphibious landing vessel which has been converted into a sight seeing boat. You’ll love it.

Spring is Maple Madness SeasonNew England maple sugar tapping

Take a drive through the country and you will see hundreds of buckets tapped on the sides of maple trees everywhere. When the snow starts to melt and the days get warmer, sap starts to flow and will fill those buckets.

Visit a Sugar Shack to watch how maple syrup is made and pick up a bottle or two to bring home. I love to drizzle maple syrup over hot breakfast sausages.

May I suggest… steam some baby carrots, add a bit of butter to melt over the top, add a few slivered almonds and a drizzle of maple syrup.

And for dessert… drizzle a little stream of syrup over vanilla ice cream. Delicious maple candy!

So, what’s the best maple syrup I can buy?

It’s all personal preference, my friend. Maple syrup grades refer to the color, or flavor of the syrup…not quality. With that being said, in my opinion Grade A Dark (formerly Grade B) is the best. It’s thick in richness and dark amber in color. It has strong maple flavor with caramel undertones which makes it perfect for cooking and baking.

In closing…

With every day, enjoy spring and all it has to offer.  Ask any New Englander about spring and all too often the answer will be “What spring…one week it was winter and the next it was summer.”

Update…

Well, Mother Nature played an April Fools joke on us northerners by dumping another 12+ inches of wet, heavy snow overnight. I feel bad for the bluebirds who love to eat earthworms…good luck, little guys.

What is the season of spring like in your corner of the world?  I welcome your comments and thoughts below and thank you for liking and sharing. 

Skål

 

24 comments to Seasons of New England Part 4

  • Jimmy

    Your nation England is gifted with blessings we don’t have in the topical areas.

    Even though in some parts of the Philippine particularly Benguet would sometimes experience snow in the month of February it is not always a condition to expect.

    We only have two seasons, the summer and rainy days. I would love to visit other nations having four seasons but it may not come. Thank you for the internet that we can be informed of such a beautiful and lovely world.

    But I remember, I sometimes drink four seasons, LOL. I know it did not come from England.

    • Karen

      Hello, Jimmy…thank you for reading my blog and leaving your comments. You’re mistaken about “New England” which is understandable as you live in the Philippines. I do not live in the country England, I live in New England which is in the United States of America. Early English pilgrims and Puritans fled religious persecution from their homeland of England in the 17th century, arriving in Plymouth,Massachusetts. In 1643, the colonies they formed in Massachusetts joined together making a compact naming themselves The United Colonies of New England, or simply New England.

      That’s enough history for today. Please come back soon and read my other blogs about the other three seasons in our little corner of the world.

  • PatSID

    Hi Karen,

    Lovely article on the seasons of New England. I live in New Jersey, and though we didn’t get as much snow as you did, we are eagerly awaiting the real spring too.

    I had absolutely no idea robins could fly 30 to 36mph! I’ve only seen them walking, on our grass, picking up things! 🙂

    I also love true maple syrup, and try to use it whenever possible. How nice to be so close to the source.

    Keep up the good work,

    Pat

    • Karen

      Thanks for visiting, Jersey girl. Since writing this blog, we’ve received another 12+ inches of snow…doesn’t Mother Nature know it’s April? I’ve seen several bluebirds and robins at our feeders and worry about them because their food of choice is the earthworm. Fortunately they love the high energy suet we have hanging in the crab tree.

      Hope you come back soon!

  • jeffrey16201

    Hello

    Very nice friendly website and article, you do make New England sound so tempting to visit and explore. Nice how you shared the different seasons in your article, this does help people to decide what time of the year to visit New England.

    What is your favorite season in New England, when would you recommend someone to visit and explore the New England area?

    • Karen

      Hello, Jeffrey…thanks for visiting and leaving your comments. You asked a tough question…what season in New England is MY favorite? I think it’s the one that’s just around the corner. Right now, for me, it’s spring. After another 12+ inches of snow a few days ago, I’m more than ready to say “goodbye” to old man winter and tend to my gardens.

      Which season do I recommend someone visit New England? All depends on what you’re looking for. For winter lovers, we have some of the best skiing and snowboarding in the country. Spring skiing is still in full force with some ski areas planning to stay open through the end of April. For people who like to hike, backpack, fish and take a drive to the ocean…summer! Those that love to see our colorful fall foliage should visit us in Autumn.

  • Danielle

    Ahh how I miss Spring time in New England! The smell of lilacs is still my favorite, and brings me back to my childhood. I need to figure out where they can grow to see if I can plant them down here in North Carolina. Love this post, and it makes me so excited for my next trip up north!

    P.S. You should add links to the local Sugar Shacks in your Maple Syrup section. I think there is one in Temple, NH.

    • Thanks for visiting, Danielle, and thank you for sharing your thoughts. I have both purple and white lilacs but I’ve noticed that the white ones don’t have a fragrance…just the purple ones. I love your suggestion of adding links to local sugar shacks and I’m going to look into it. Hope you’ll come back soon.

  • Asen

    Hello there,

    My favorite season is the spring.
    It is like the world is being reborn.
    I have never been in England and I’d love to go there.
    How is the spring there? Is it gloomy and dark as it is most of the time or is it just a myth about the constantly bad weather in UK?

    • Karen

      Hello, Asen… thanks for visiting. I’m in New England…in the US and not England, the UK. New England is comprised of Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island. It’s the oldest defined region in America since we became the United States back in 1776. Pilgrims and Puritans named it New England because they left their England due to religious persecution.

      That’s your brief history lesson for today haha

  • Anastazja

    What a wonderful article. I spent all of my student years in Mass. Your article brought back so many feelings. The unexpected spring snow. Boiling maple sap. I was just telling my wife about hearing the robin’s song in the spring. We don’t hear that in California. I am in central California. This year spring means sunshine and beautiful wild flowers everywhere. Much of the year we have brown hills. Spring means that everything is green. People are taking walks. Towns are beginning to have street events like craft fairs. Events mark spring here more than weather. I often miss the four seasons of the east. On both sides of the country, spring means longer days and that just makes you feel good. Thanks for this post.

    • Karen

      What lovely remarks…so glad you shared them. Family and friends that have moved away from New England all say they miss the four seasons. Today is April 1st and we are in the midst of yet another Nor’Easter. Over 12″ of heavy wet snow has already fallen and it’s still coming down so I’m a bit jealous of your California spring! I just came across this great site called “Homesickcandle.com that you might be interested in. You can purchase a candle based on your home state. Just plug in Massachusetts and it has the outline of the state on the label and when you light it, you will smell fragrances of Mass. Check it out and thanks for visiting. Please come back soon.

  • Thanks for the descriptive post, and sharing the nuances of the seasons in your home state. I love those maple trees with the buckets- rubber looks the same way when it’s time to harvest the sap!

    I see you recommend Grade A Dark syrup, but I was wondering if you recommended a specific brand or maker, since you probably know more about this stuff than most of us living away from all the beautiful maple trees.

    • Hello, Penny…thanks for visiting and leaving your thoughts. In answer to your question about a particular brand or maker of maple syrup…first, I love the dark amber Grade A syrup because of the rich flavor, but it’s all personal preference. May I suggest purchasing small bottles of different grades of syrup and have yourself a taste testing party (even if it’s only you). For cooking, I’d choose the Grade A dark amber because the flavor will hold up, but maybe you’d enjoy a lighter grade for pancakes or waffles. As far as brand goes, either Vermont or New Hampshire produces, to me, the best quality maple syrup. Just make sure it’s a product of NH or Vt and not just distributed there. I’m planning on writing a blog devoted to just maple syrup and maple products with a few product reviews so please check back often and you might just learn about something tasty and delicious. I will also provide information on specific producers of maple syrup along with links where you can purchase maple products even if you are half way around the world. It’s always fun to experiment and try new things. I’d love to hear about your taste testing and your new favorite maple syrup…and the different ways you like to use it. Have fun and enjoy.

  • Luna

    Hi Karen,
    Awesome Post! I can imagine the type of weather you are having in New England. Spring might only be on the Calendar for you guys.
    I am in Georgia USA and it is 80º outside now. Summer is here for us.
    I love maple syrup but have not had it for a while now. I learned something new about it today, I will stick to Grade A.
    I love the recipes on your site. I have written one down and I will come back to check out your site sometimes.
    Have you ever been to America?
    Good Read.
    Luna

    • Karen

      Hello, Luna…thank you for your kind comments. I lived in Atlanta, Georgia for about a year once and loved the history of it (Gone with the Wind). I’m in New England, not England. New England is comprised of Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut. I hope one day you can take a trip up north to visit this corner of the world…so much to see and fall in love with.

  • FitFDAFamily

    Ha Ha… I’m from Cleveland so I can relate to the whole one day its winter then the next day its summer (and maybe the next day winter again). My family is planning a trip to Boston next month so we were researching things we could do as a family when I came across your page. Thanks for the tips. I hope to take the kids to the museum and the aquarium. I hear its the best! We’ve heard about a duck tour. Do you recommend it?

    • Karen

      Hello, Cleveland…I DO recommend the Duck Tour through Boston Harbor. It’s an actual authentic WW II amphibious landing vessel converted into a sight seeing boat. Pretty cool. I should have mentioned this in the blog, in fact, I think I’ll add it in…so thank you.

      Make sure you think about walking the Freedom Trail. This will take you right by Union Oyster House, America’s oldest restaurant where you can stop for the BEST lunch/dinner Boston has to offer. Check out the booths where you’ll find little signs stating what famous person sat in that booth enjoying a meal, even hundreds of years ago. The oyster bar and booths are in the same spot as they were in 1826. Have fun…I’d love to hear about your trip!

  • Daniel

    Yeah, the weather in Spring is getting unpredictable because of global warming. I live in Montreal, and March seemed colder than February. Well, finally it is starting to warm up. Anyways, those are great places that you mentioned. I hope I get the chance to travel and visit them soon. We also love Maple Syrup here, haha. Thank you for the post. It was nice to read 🙂

    • Karen

      Thank you for your comments, Daniel. Weather here in New England has always been unpredictable in the Spring. In fact, we’re expected to get snow late March 31st into April 1st. Hopefully that’s just a meteorologist April Fools joke.

  • NikkiJ

    I miss the snow! All that snow reminds me of back home in Colorado. I have never heard of a Sugar Shack. I love maple syrup but haven’t put much thought into how it is processed. Is there a Sugar Shack that you recommend? What about a small family owned maple syrup company. I love supporting small businss!

    • Karen

      Hi, Nikki…thanks for visiting and your comments. There are a few Sugar Shacks and small family owned maple syrup producers I could recommend but they are here in New England. You didn’t mention where you live which could be anywhere in the world. If you’re still interested, I’d be happy to find out shipping costs for you. Just let me know.

  • Aj

    Fantastic sight and great ideas. I have used a lot of your recipes, I love the desserts and pastas. you did awesome and your site is one of my favorites. very helpful bc I have the tendency to eat fast food a lot and the foods you have are pretty easy to make and you really helped me live better and start eating way better than I used too. All in all your sight is mire than helpful. thank you.

    • Karen

      Hello, Aj…thank you for visiting and leaving such lovely comments. Glad I can help out with your decision to eat healthier and try easy recipes at home. When you prepare a recipe of mine, please leave a comment at the bottom of the page to let me know how you like it. You can click the “like” icon and also share it on Facebook, etc. If you have something in mind that you’d love to know how to prepare, let me know and I’ll help figure it out.

      Have you read my other blogs? I think you’ll find them both interesting and informative. Enjoy

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