Mother’s Day in Boston

Mother’s Day (on May 9 this year) is a great excuse to spend time with Mom.  I actually prefer to celebrate before or after the official calendar holiday;  better yet – plan several celebrations with Mom (in and around) Boston throughout the month of May (and June)!

This year it is all about the outdoors, so let’s hope the weather cooperates- and if not, scroll down to my fabulously artistic Zoom options at the end of the post.  There are also art museums- but these now require advance bookings for timed entry; so get right on it if this is where you plan to take Mom in May!


Museum of Fine Arts Boston still shows availability for various dates in May (and so does Isabella Gardner Museum and the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA)

The Seaport and Harbor Walk area around ICA are our new favorite Boston walks locations- with several outdoor terraced restaurants and plenty of waterfront picnicking options (including the wooden steps in front of the ICA).

Institute of Contemporary Art Boston: the steps are a great place for a picnic any time of the year
Harborwalk Boston Seaport


Bristol & Newport, Rhode Island

I plan to take Mom for a walk in the gardens of Blithewold Estate in Bristol, RI.  These Bay-view gardens of the 100+year old estate are some of the finest in New England.

Mother's Day in Boston
Blithewold Gardens

Two years ago we partook in an afternoon tea at the Estate (and recorded our first ever youtube video). The tea is served on their outside terrace this year with views over the lawn and onto the Narragansett Bay. Almost all dates are sold out in May, but there is still availability in June and July.

Tea at Blithewold
Afternoon Tea at Blithewold Estate (2019); in summer of 2021 it’s served on the terrace with Bay views

Historic town of Bristol offers several other museums to explore, as well as waterfront walks and dining.

Newport is another Rhode Island day trip idea.  You may want to visit one of the historic mansions, a winery nearby, or just walk Cliff Walk (considered one of the most beautiful walks in the country).  If you want to feel like a true tourist for a day- take a trolley tour all the way to Castle Inn and have drinks on their ocean side terrace.

The Breakers. Newport RI
“LITTLE WOMEN” Filming Locations

How about taking Mom to some gorgeous filming locations of the latest “Little Women” the movie shot entirely in Massachusetts?

This past fall we have checked out the GIBBET HILL in Groton (“the proposal scene”) with views over Nashoba Valley.   It is a short hike up the hill past the Bancroft Castle with lots of photo opportunities.  It can get crowded up there, so for picnic I suggest a field adjacent to the nearby Gibbet Hill Grill (they offer take out and parking).

Gibbet Hill, Groton

Another fabulous (filming) location for a picnic with an ocean view is the grounds of the Crane Estate in Ipswich (in the care of the Massachusetts Trustees. You need to prebook a timed entry to the grounds here.

The garden might not have made it to the actual Movie (has it?) but it is out of this world (and time).

Crane Estate, Ipswich. Do you remember the movie scene?

Another interesting historic property with famous garden in Trustee’s care to visit is  Naumkeag Estate in Stockbridge (in the Berkshires). Popular Daffodil and Tulips festival is on through May 17; tickets are still available for May 13, 14 and 17).

The Mount, writer Edith Wharton’s house museum in Lennox in the Berkshires opens its doors for the season on May 8 (with self-tours of house and its breathtaking garden).


Mark Twain’s house museum in Hartford, Connecticut is one of the few that is open for guided tours now (I suggest to book tickets in advance, as they do sell out on weekends).  I took this photo on our visit in March but I can guarantee there is no snow on the ground now!

Mark Twain’s House Museums in Hartford, CT

Historical houses are part of the unique collection of Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA with every major American architectural style on display (houses and neighborhoods are located nearby within the city of Salem- check the link above for more information); there are no tours offered at this time.


You could also plan a day trip to Cape Cod.  Walk on one of the National Seashore’s beaches in Eastham or visit Heritage Museums and Gardens in Sandwich (with its largest public garden in Southern New England); there is FREE admission for  Mothers on May 9.

Day trips to the islands of Martha’s Vineyard or Nantucket (from the docks in Hyannis or Falmouth) require a little bit of planning, but could certainly be enjoyed.

Family vacationers visit Martha Vineyard on a day trip from Hyannis, Cape Cod
View from the observation deck, Aquinnah Cliffs, Martha’s Vineyard

If you’d rather stay in Bostonyou could also walk the grounds of The Arnold Arboretum and admire their premier collection of lilacs.

Things to Do in Boston on Mother's Day Weekend
Photo Courtesy: Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University

Rose Kennedy Greenway – a 1.5 mile park along the Atlantic avenue in Boston- offers outdoor dining, markets, art, seven water fountains and its own carousel.   They will host the Street Stage of the Boston Lyric Opera (June 12) but that performance has unfortunately sold out. Check out their website for full list of events.

On Boston’s Greenway

Boston Pops offers a special Mother’s Day program to celebrate music by and about women starting on May 6 (through June 5).

Boston Theater Marathon is on zoom this year (through May 29). The festival traditionally features ten-minute plays by New England playwrights; it is free to stream although your financial support to local theater is encouraged.  Readings are at noon, Monday-Saturdays.

Boston Ballet offers a stream program Process and Progress (May 13-23) featuring Boston Ballet Principal Dancer John Lam in boundary-breaking choreography by Lex Ishimoto ($30).




6 thoughts on “Mother’s Day in Boston”

  1. Thank you, Victoria! Very useful information. Now is a challenge what to choose. We would love to check all places 🙂 Thanks again

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