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.
The 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.
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.
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?
Wild 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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.