SEASIDE HARVEST FESTS
Sunday-Monday > October 13-14 and Saturday > October 19
If a charming little festival along the coast sounds like the perfect fall weekend outing, both Newburyport and Rockport can deliver the goods. Newburyport’s Fall Harvest Festival, taking place today and tomorrow from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., features music, arts and crafts, local food, and a scarecrow contest (newburyportchamber.org). Next Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., the Rockport Harvestfest’s highlights include a scarecrow parade for kids, agrifair, and contradancing — along with eats and live tunes (rockportartfestivals.blogspot.com).
FENWAY NEIGHBORHOOD’S FREE DAY
Monday > October 14
Open houses at the Museum of Fine Arts, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Huntington Theatre Company, and other Fenway institutions as well as performances and activities all day long on the Christian Science Plaza are just a sampling of the free fun at the Fenway Alliance’s annual Opening Our Doors event on Columbus Day. 617-437-7544; fenwayculture.org
WRITERS AND READERS
Thursday-Saturday > October 17-19
Book-loving Bostonians will flock to Copley Square to hear from the likes of Claire Messud, Tomie dePaola, Rishi Reddi, Tom Perrotta, Andre Dubus III (pictured), Chuck Klosterman, and many other literary luminaries at this year’s Boston Book Festival. Free panels on everything from poetry to sportswriting to true crime take place on Saturday starting at 10:15 a.m. at the Boston Public Library and nearby venues, with a few ticketed events on the two days preceding. bostonbookfest.org
ART MEETS NATURE
Saturday > October 19
After a year of renovations, Salem’s Peabody Essex Museum unveils its 4,600-square-foot Art & Nature Center, where visitors can browse new gallery spaces and be among the first to try out activity stations and multimedia features, all with a focus on the natural world. The center’s inaugural exhibition features nearly 40 animal-themed works. Museum admission is free this Saturday. 866-745-1876; pem.org
READY TO ROW
Saturday-Sunday > October 19-20
Continuing a tradition that began in 1965, more than 9,000 rowers will compete in the Head of the Charles Regatta from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. next Saturday and Sunday. Grab your binoculars and join the throngs cheering them on along the river between the Anderson and Weeks bridges. hocr.org
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