This is not a drill, people. Summer is here. Memorial Day Weekend — the Official Unofficial Start of Summer — is upon us. Cue the victory music, pack your bathing suit, and (finally) get outta the house. From sailing in Newport, R.I., to stargazing in Maine, we’ve rounded up some great ways to kick off this New England summer in style.
Sailing from Newport, R.I., just oozes that classic Old New England-summertime vibe. Sail aboard an America’s Cup winning yacht for a day on Narragansett Bay. America’s Cup Charters’s fleet includes the Weatherly, the 1962 America’s Cup Winner, which — fun fact — was a favorite of JFK and Jackie O during that ’62 racing season. Something to keep in mind if you happen to sail May 29, JFK’s would-be 100th birthday. (49 America’s Cup Ave., Newport, R.I. 401-849-5868, www.americascupcharters.com)
After a day at sea, you might opt to stay at Newport’s recently opened luxury resort, Gurney’s Newport Resort & Marina. Located on Goat Island — a tiny island in Narragansett Bay connected to historic Newport via causeway — you’re minutes from town, but a million miles away. The waterfront resort offers 360 degree views of the bay, plus spa, salon, indoor pool, outdoor saltwater pool with poolside cocktails, fitness center and outdoor yoga classes, bar with wrap-around deck, and various on-site dining options, from Italian-style coffee bar to Italian cuisine. (1 Goat Island, Newport, R.I., 401-849-2600, www.gurneysresorts.com/
RHODE ISLAND BY FERRY
Starting June 16, you can hop a ferry from Newport, R.I., to Providence — a spectacularly summery way to visit both unique cities (seastreak.com). While historic Newport boasts cobblestone streets, mansion tours, tony downtown shopping, ocean bluffs, and wine tastings at Newport Vineyards (909 East Main Road, Middletown, R.I., 401-848-5161, www.newportvineyards.com), Providence is tragically hip, a fantastic day trip for art lovers. Summer is the perfect season to wander Thayer Street’s boutique shops, Brown University’s book store, indie film house and off-the-grill summer comfort food at Durk’s Bar B Q (275 Thayer St. 401-351-2807, durksbbq.com). WaterFire is a Providence summer must: the gondolas on a fiery river, the smell of the smoke, the music — magic (next lighting June 10. waterfire.org). And don’t leave without treating your inner kid-on-summer-vacation at boutique Knead Doughnuts. Try the Samoa: vanilla cake doughnut, topped with house-made caramel, toasted coconut and dark chocolate drizzle. (32 Custom House St., 401-865-6622, www.kneaddoughnuts.com)
THAT OLD CAPE MAGIC
Relax with a deep-tissue massage, meditation, or yoga at the Cape’s new The Beach House Spa at Ocean Edge. Or grab some friends for Beer Camp — where the side porch is turned into your group’s private area for massages, beer samples, oysters, and charcuterie. (2740 Main St., Brewster, 774-323-6230, www.thebeachhouse
spaoceanedge.com). You might opt to stay at Ocean Edge Resort & Golf Club, which boasts an 18-hole course, tennis courts, pools, access to bike trails, standup paddle boarding and kayaking on the bay, and beachfront restaurant with raw bar and fire pits (2907 Main St., Brewster, 888-509-4600, www.oceanedge.com).
But for a Cape day at the beach? Mayflower Beach in Dennis. Hands down the most exotic beach on Cape Cod; lifted from a screensaver. The sand is so fine and powdery, the shoreline feels like clay. At low tide, you can walk seemingly forever, while high tide brings so many tidal pools, you barely tell where the pools end and ocean begins. Sunsets are out of a dream. Get ready to Instagram. Dunes Road, Dennis.
EAT MAINE FRESH
There’s nothing like fresh-from-the-garden summer veggies. Nestled on a four-acre sustainable farm in Rockland, Maine, the bulk of the menu at Primo is harvested feet from your table. Because it’s locally sourced and based on what’s available, the menu changes frequently, but sample dishes include: farmer salad of frisée, romaine, and radicchio lettuces with olive oil-fried croutons, house-made bacon and a backyard poached egg; hand-rolled ricotta cavatelli with grilled farm chicken; or seared local scallops with roasted cauliflower (2 Main St., Rockland, Maine, 207-596-0770, www.primorestaurant.com).
Wine lovers, head to Vinland, an organic farm-to-table restaurant boasting dozens of wild-fermented organically gown wines. Again, menu changes often, but par for the course: Maine lobster, rosemary oat cake, pork capocollo with fiddleheads (593 Congress St., Portland, Maine, 207-653-8617, vinland.me).
CYCLE, KAYAK, SWIM
Head to the Green Mountains to cycle the Burlington Bike Path, part of the 14-mile trail connecting Burlington to the Champlain Islands. Afterward, splash into the gorgeous Lake Champlain in Burlington. You might rent a canoe, kayak, or stand-up paddleboard from Community Sailing Center. (234 Penny Lane, 802-864-2499, communitysailing
We’re not sure, but it may be against the Laws of Summer to visit Burlington after Memorial Day and not get a Ben & Jerry’s ice cream cone. (36 Church St., 802-862-9620, www.ben
Check three items off your summer to-do list — outdoor artisan fair, music fest, food and wine tasting — next week in Kennebunkport. The Kennebunkport Fest, celebrates food, wine, and music June 5-10, with dozens of ticketed events, including a Maine Craft Music Festival, a mini music fest with craft beer at the Captain Lord Mansion. (6 Pleasant St., kennebunkportfestival
Afterward, you and your honey might stay at The Cape Arundel Inn & Resort, a 19th-century mansion by the sea with bungalows that boast hardwood floors, fireplace, and French doors that open to ocean-view balconies. Toast to summer while stargazing from your balcony (208 Ocean Ave., Kennebunkport, Maine, 855-346-5700, capearundelinn