Newborn buds peak through warm soil to replenish the earth with greenery. New life emerges as the season turns. It's finally spring, and the sun's rays linger as the days grow longer. As we step out into the world from winter hibernation, we are reminded of life's simple pleasures colorful perennials, lush green forests, warm breezes, calm waters and all of Earth's natural and manmade beauty. New England is home to many outdoor sculpture parks within gorgeous gardens, but with its short warm season, you may want to visit before spring fades.
Take time this spring to refresh your soul and experience inspirational art while social distancing in tranquil scenery. The following coastal gardens and sculpture parks showcase New England's finest art displays in lovely alfresco settings.
This garden boasts spectacular views along nearly a mile of tidal saltwater shoreline. What the staff refers to as the people's garden is one of the largest botanical exhibits in New England and features educational programs, gardening classes and even horticulture therapy coordinated with clinicians. Explore tours of the grounds, and various permanent and seasonal art installations from May to October.
Where to Dock: Boothbay Harbor Yacht Club
From May to December, this family- friendly sculpture park is free and open to the public for plant lovers of all ages. Located at the Portland Museum of Art in the downtown arts district, visit the imaginative playground during museum hours open Wednesday to Sunday. It's the perfect place to relax outside in comfy lawn chairs and let your children play throughout the interactive exhibits.
Where to Dock: DiMillo's Marina
Three gorgeous acres made up of 18 small gardens in this oceanfront sculpture park are quite a sight to see. Walk along waterside greenery such as the Margaret Tragard Oceanside Annual Garden, Barry P. Rosen Rock Garden and Overlook at Narrow Cove Rose Garden. The exhibits present works from notable artists and complement the Ogunquit Museum's extensive collection of contemporary American art. Open daily from May to October.
Where to Dock: Perkins Cove Harbor
Situated on the shoreline of Lake Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire's largest lake, this carefully curated exhibit features 32 sculptures around the town. The Greater Meredith Program partners with sponsors and artists from across the Northeast to place diverse figures into charming gardens and landscapes. Schedule a guided tour or grab a map to embark on an art-filled adventure. The walk is hosted year-round.
Where to Dock: Meredith Marina
Once an historic farm and private garden, this dazzling destination is now 37 acres of art intertwined with horticulture for the public to enjoy. Wander through stunning gardens filled with colorful blooms such as lilies and irises and explore exhibits including 26 metal men figures, a four-faced Buddha statue surmounted with a halo, and a serene wildlife pond. Open Tuesday to Friday, from May 12-October 11, as well as the first and third weekends of the month.
As one of the largest sculpture parks of its kind in New England, visitors can explore more than 60 works within large-scale landscapes located 20 miles west of booming Boston. About 30 acres of modern and contemporary art is woven within lush forests, fields, gardens and beautifully designed terraces on a rolling site along the shore of Flint's Pond.
Where to Dock: Fan Pier Marina
Springfield Museums honors the legendary author Theodor Seuss Geisel (AKA Dr. Seuss) with an extraordinary outdoor sculpture garden in his Massachusetts hometown. Check out amazing displays of quirky storybook characters such as the Lorax, Horton and Cat in the Hat. Don't miss the bronze sculptures created by Dr. Seuss' own stepdaughter, Lark Grey Dimond-Cates. The garden is open daily.
Where to Dock: Oxbow Marina
Horticulture and animal lovers alike are head over heels for this topiary garden situated along Portsmouth's waterfront. The seven-acre country estate dates back to the 1800s and exhibits more than 80 pieces of topiary shaped as birds and various animals, geometric figures and ornamental designs. Be sure to explore the vegetable and herb gardens and gaze upon the Victorian house that overlooks Narragansett Bay.
Where to Dock: Newport Yachting Center
South Kingstown, RI
Strap on your hiking boots and explore a unique stop along the scenic trails of South Kingston Land Trust. About 23 unique art installations are placed throughout three acres of easy-to-walk paths on protected land. Meander along the whimsical trail and stumble across fun and crafty pieces such as a bobble-head cow and a spectacularly large dreamcatcher. Trails are open daily until dusk.
Where to Dock: Point Judith Marina