Summer is an optimal time to experience life lived outdoors, and it’s quite arguable that this summer we collectively feel the enthusiasm surrounding outside activities more than ever. This is why it’s so exciting to see calendars full of summer events on the North Shore. Whether you are looking forward to the return of an annual event or wanting to attend something new, we are happy to be able to report on so many things. It goes without saying (but we will!) that all events are subject to change as new health and safety guidelines are announced.
Whim Dinner Series at Smolak Farms
First up, the return of the Whim Dinner Series is nothing short of thrilling. What is Whim? The chance to join some of the region’s most amazing chefs as they cook a multicourse dinner in the Smolak Farms Pine Grove. For this farm-to-table experience, menus are created “on a whim” and incorporate fresh fruits and vegetables from Smolak Farms. The series kicks off on June 2 with Boston-based Massimino’s. Each series starts with barn doors opening at 5:30 p.m. and a seated dinner at 6:30 p.m.
315 South Bradford St., North Andover, 978-682-6332, smolakfarms.com/whim
Cape Ann Artisans Tour
It is so great to see this famed artisan tour back on the calendar. Kicking off in June (5–6) and with a separate mini tour later in the summer, the tour shows off the vibrant art community of Cape Ann. These self-guided tours of artists’ studios in Gloucester and Rockport are well worth it—this year marks the tour’s 38th year.
1st Lt. Derek Hines Flag Day 5K
Growing up in Amesbury and Newburyport, 1st Lieutenant Derek S. Hines died at the age of 25 while serving in Afghanistan. Locally, Hines attended school in Newburyport and later St. John’s Prep in Danvers. The Flag Day 5K created in his memory will be held virtually again this year. This 5K walk, run, or jog can be completed anytime, anywhere between June 10 and 14 on a favorite 5K trail near you, with funds raised providing financial assistance for Massachusetts soldiers, who have incurred serious, career-ending, and life-altering injuries while on active duty.
1st Lt. Derek Hines Soldiers Assistance Fund, derekhinesfund.com/flag-day-5k/
The Porch Sessions at Hale Farm
Live music has to be one of the things we all missed the most during the past year. But no more! The highly anticipated Porch Sessions at Hale Farm are a must see. Artists perform on a small stage in front of the property’s historic farmhouse. Socially distanced seating and other safety protocols will be in place. Visit the website for a full lineup of performers, including Livingston Taylor, Jon McLaughlin, and Martin Sexton, among others. Food and beverages (including seasonal summer beer options from Riverwalk Brewing Co.) are available for pre-order.
286 Cabot Street, Beverly, 978-927-3100, thecabot.org/porchsessions
Misselwood Touring Series
Misselwood’s touring series is getting underway. The first event is on June 6—join with your classic car for their first driving event of 2021. The route traverses the North Shore and is open to any classic car or motorcycle, with preference given to cars pre-1990.
Waterfront Movie Series
People of all ages will delight in the return of Newburyport’s waterfront movie series, which is back for eight weeks this summer, running July through August. There’s something so simple about grabbing a blanket and gathering with family and friends to watch an outdoor movie on the water at night. It’s as fun for adults as it is for kids! Arrive early for optimal seating.
Waterfront Park, Newburyport, 978-462-6680, newburyportchamber.org
Annual Buffet Beach Bash at Blue Ocean
A tropical vacation is something many people have not had the chance to experience lately—and Blue Ocean’s annual Buffet Beach Bash on July 23 provides that tropical feeling without having to travel beyond Salisbury. The evening features well-known Jimmy Buffet cover band Changes in Latitudes and promises to be a lively event.
Blue Ocean Music Hall , 4 Oceanfront North, Salisbury, 978-462-5888, blueoceanhall.com
Yankee Homecoming in Newburyport is back this year. Billed as a reimagined week of events taking place from July 30 to August 8, attendees can expect their favorite events—from the high school battle of the bands to the door decorating contest to drive-in movies to downtown entertainment.
Rockport Chamber Music Festival
While technically not an outdoor event, it’s hard to overlook the breathtaking ocean views at the Shalin Liu Performance Center in Rockport. For five weekends, beginning in July into September, music at this magical oceanfront location is back—visit the website for a schedule of performances.
Shalin Liu Performance Center, 37 Main Street, Rockport, rockportmusic.org
Gloucester Garden Tour, Block Party, Summer Concert Series, and Waterfront Arts and Crafts Festival
The Gloucester calendar is packed with outdoor happenings. From the beloved garden tour to the Gloucester Block Party to the summer concert series, which runs Sundays at 7 p.m. through August, the 40th Annual Waterfront Arts and Crafts Festival in August will feature more than 175 artisans, food vendors, musicians, and more.
24 Harbor Loop, Gloucester, 978-283-1601
Cape Ann Farmers Market
Beginning in June and running every Thursday through October, the Cape Ann Farmers Market is back this year in a new location at Harbor Loop. This community market takes place weekly from 3 to 6:30 p.m. and supports local famers, fishermen, and food producers. With more than 100 small local businesses represented, plus live music, children’s activities and more, this is a must-visit.