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4 Spring Weekends in New England for Couples

by Barbara Rogers

May 14, 2020

Photo: Stillman Rogers


Spring is a special time in New England. The snow melts and the landscapes turn green again, flowers begin to bloom in gardens and along roadsides — it’s time to get out and enjoy the season.


Here are a few of our favorite spring getaways for couples.


Cape Cod, Massachusetts

It may be too early for long sunny days on the beach, but with roses blooming all over the Cape, it’s a season for long walks and enjoying the sunsets from Provincetown — the only place in New England where you can watch the sun set over the ocean.


A good vantage point for sunsets is Land’s End Inn, on a hilltop at the far end of town but within walking distance of Commercial Street shops and restaurants. Provincetown is at the far end of the Cape, and at the end of the undeveloped Cape Cod National Seashore. Explore the magnificent dunes, remote beaches and learn about the park’s natural environment with Art’s Dune Tours. For a shorter trip, choose a town on the inner or central Cape as a base — pretty Brewster with its long beaches to walk, Chatham or perhaps busy Hyannis. When businesses reopen, you’ll find excellent seafood, as well as historic homes, gardens and shops just opening for the season.


Cape Cod Beach. Photo: Stillman Rogers


Mid-Coast, Maine

Boothbay Harbor, Damariscotta and Wiscasset all make central locations for a getaway, within easy reach of coastal cruises, lobster wharves, whale watches and daytrips to nearby Monhegan Island. Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in Boothbay are in full bloom, with showy perennials keeping up the colorful displays after the extravaganza of tulips and spring bulbs. Spring is also the season for delicate woodland wildflowers, so take time to stroll down the hillside, past outdoor sculptures and through the forest along the shore.


All the towns in the region have cozy B&Bs and inns, but we like to stay close to our favorite restaurant in Damariscotta, King Eider’s Pub, where we feast on the famous Damariscotta oysters. The Newcastle Inn, overlooking Damariscotta River, is within walking distance of the pub and village shops.


Coastal Maine Botanical Garden. Photo: Stillman Rogers


Rockport, Massachusetts

Not far north of Boston, Rockport is at the farthest tip of Cape Ann and almost made an island by the Annisquam River. Only two bridges connect it, accounting for its island-like feel and holiday air even in the spring when its seasonal galleries and shops are beginning to open for the summer. The abundance of art galleries reflects the number of artists who live and work there, perhaps drawn in by the scenic harbor and much-pictured red fishing shack.


At the northern tip of the peninsula, the large Halibut Point State Park offers hiking and walking trails with views over the coastline as far north as Maine. The property includes the site of a 19th-century granite quarry, a lighthouse and the beginning of a rough walking trail, The Atlantic Path. Follow it along the rocky shore to the sweeping veranda of the Emerson Inn, a historic grand oceanfront hotel and great vantage point for watching the waves crash on the rocks below.

Fuller Gardens, Rye, New Hampshire. Photo: Stillman Rogers


Portsmouth, New Hampshire

History is all around as you stroll through the streets of this small port city, especially a couple of blocks from the lively shops and restaurants of Market Street and enter the quiet lanes of Strawbery Banke. This museum village is made up of homes and shops from four centuries of the city’s past, each furnished to its period and staffed with interpreters to share its story. Flowers bloom in the gardens and dooryards, and if you continue through the village you’ll enter the colorful floral displays of Prescott Park. Overlooking the harbor, the gardens progress in the spring from a magnificent tulip display to a series of patterned beds planted in multicolored blooms.


Several of the historic homes open to visitors — the Moffat-Ladd, Rundlet May and Governor John Langdon houses — have lovely period gardens. Head south along the coast, past the Seacoast Science Center at Odiorne Point, to the romantic Fuller Gardens. The Japanese garden blooms in May, followed by beds of perennials and one of the best rose displays in the northeast.


Prescott Park, Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Photo: Stillman Rogers


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