New England is a place uniquely defined by its vastly different seasons: the gothic atmospherics of fall, the unyielding punishment of winter, the muddy thaw locals casually call "spring." Yankees are so resilient to cold because they share a single conviction: Summers make everything else worth it. When Patriot's Day is in the rear-view mirror and baseball season is in full swing, New England shines like no place else in the nation.
In the most northerly hamlets of Vermont and Maine, men wear Carhartt T-shirts and roll down the windows of their vintage pickups. In Connecticut, golfers opt for more breathable polos. Everyone has his own way of celebrating the season, but our favorite way to take advantage of a New England summer is by attending the amazing events taking place in every state. Here are our favorites.
Newport Blues & BBQ Festival (Newport, Rhode Island)
With its sprawling mansions, world famous yacht club, and boat shoe–driven economy, Newport offers a posh but decidedly casual forum for hobnobbers looking to get a seat by the water (or in the water, if they're of the surfing persuasion). WASPy standoffishness aside, this old port town comes alive when the spotlight turns on.
And summer in Newport offers no shortage of large-scale events worth attending. In terms of sheer enjoyment, though, the Newport Blues & BBQ Festival has no rival. A one-day, 10-hour, whirlwind event featuring a hard-to-beat 1-2-3 combination of blues, barbecue, and beer, the festival is a joyful retort to the pretentiousness and expensive hotel prices that accompany the more famous Newport Folk Festival. Pound for pound, it's one of New England's best one-day events, period.
More information: The festival takes place on July 20, and tickets are $45 dollars until July 19. Day-of-event tickets will be available for $55.