The area around the old Massachusetts towns of Norwell and Plymouth is rich with history and culture, yet every season brings fresh perspectives and new things to try. Whether you’re a local retiree or a visitor to our South Shore, here are some great local events for seniors to enjoy.
Spring comes slowly to coastal New England, but that just gives us more time to appreciate this special season as the world around us comes back to life. Enjoy time outdoors seeking new sights, sounds, and tastes.
Welcome the Season
Plymouth’s weekly year-round local farmers market heads outdoors in May, just in time to enjoy the early season crops (rhubarb, anybody?). Established to give residents access to fresh, healthy local produce, the market offers incredible insights into the agricultural diversity and traditional foodways of the region.
Stop in every Thursday afternoon 2:30-6 pm at the Plimoth Patuxet Museums site off River Street to stock up on fresh produce, meats, cheeses, and prepared foods and to meet local growers, makers, and artists.
Head to the Sandwich Glass Museum on Cape Cod for the Fourth Annual SeaFair, a celebration of locally made glasswork inspired by the ever-present sea. Find whales, mermaids, or strange sea creatures wrought by the area’s talented glass artists, as well as special “one-of-a-kind” seashells designed by each exhibitor. Entrance is free.
This special tent sale takes place on Saturday, May 21 (rain date Sunday, May 22) and is the perfect place to find a special gift or a perfect ocean-inspired keepsake just for yourself. Entrance is free.
Not Just Garden Varieties
Just in time for planting season, the annual Spring Heirloom Plant Sale at the Plimoth Patuxet Museums offers gardeners a chance to get their hands on unique and ancient varieties of herbs, vegetables, or plants, all propagated from the species growing in the Museums’ 17th Century English Village display.
The sale takes place on the weekends of May 21-22 and 28-29 in the Museums’ main parking lot, and museum horticultural staff will be on hand to answer questions, discuss heirloom plants and provide gardening tips. Entrance is free.
Summer is a fun time on the South Shore. Long, warm days are perfect for visiting local sites with family, getting out to explore the region’s deep history, or sampling the rich flavors coming in from local farms.
Take it to the Street
Designed to celebrate the town of Norwell and bring neighbors together, Norwell Summer Festival is a great day out. The town gives its main street over to live music and food and drink. Check out local artisans’ wares, treat the grandkids in the family food area, or enjoy some local brews in the beer garden.
The event takes place 1-7 pm on Saturday, June 7 in Norwell’s Town Center and entrance is free. Support this great community event by buying a button here.
Season of plenty
Things kick into high gear at the Plymouth Farmers Market with a rich selection of fruits, leafy veggies, and, pretty soon, sweet summer corn! That’s along with artisanal cheeses and meat products from some of the country’s finest producers.
The market is open every Thursday afternoon between 2:30 – 6 pm. In addition to food, you’ll find work from local artists, activities for children, and live music. There’s something for all the family!
It’s 65 years since the Mayflower II, a faithful replica of the most famous vessel in American history, arrived to take up her place in Plymouth Harbor. The ship has also just recently returned to her berth after an extensive restoration. Set course for downtown Plymouth on June 11 & 12 from 10 am to 2 pm to enjoy the festivities!
Family-friendly activities include 17th-century games, flag making, bell-making crafts, storytelling, and music! Tickets to visit the Mayflower II are $15 for adults, $13.50 for seniors, and $12 for children.
Take me to the fair!
Nothing caps off the summer like a traditional American state fair — and there are few more traditional than the Marshfield Fair. Since 1867, the 62-acre fairgrounds have brought together the South Shore community to enjoy staples like farm and agriculture exhibits, 4H, amusement rides, fairground foods, music and everything from tractor pulls to demolition derbies.
This year’s fair takes place from August 19-28. Tickets are $15, presale parking is $10, and children under six enter free. Best of all, Tuesday, August 23 is senior citizen day, with all seniors getting free entry! Tickets can be bought online here.
New England is never more New England than in the fall. There’s glorious fall foliage, fat pumpkins, and a chill in the air. And what’s more American than a Thanksgiving in Plymouth?
Join the Fight
Start fall right by stepping out in support of efforts to end Alzheimer’s. Plymouth’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s takes place at Nelson Park on September 24. You can register online to walk either the 1.1- or 2.2-mile routes, either alone or as part of a team. You can then raise funds by collecting sponsorships from friends and family for the distance you aim to walk.
You need to have raised at least $100 to be able to walk on the day. While no self-donation is required, it’s a great way to show your commitment to the cause.
Make a Wish!
There’s something slightly Cinderella-gone-wrong about a glass pumpkin, but that’s what Cape Cod’s Sandwich Glass Museum in Cape Cod has in abundance at its 11th Annual Pumpkin Fest. Once again, local artisans are challenged to create unique or limited-edition pumpkin-themed creations in glass and everything is for sale.
The free tent event happens at the Sandwich Museum on Saturday, October 22 from 10 am to 2 pm with a rain date on Sunday. Come for the pumpkins, then enjoy a visit to the Glass Museum!
Wellfleet, on the seaward side of Cape Cod, is famous for its shellfishing industry. The annual OysterFest brings shucking competitions, tastings, cooking demonstrations, and a wide sampling of local food and drink to the town’s Main Street, and you can even take tours of some of the local oyster farms.
OysterFest takes place on the weekend of October 15 & 16. Entrance is $10 for anyone 13 or older. Proceeds go to support the local aquaculture and shellfishing industries.
Wrap up warm and head out on a whale watching tour from Barnstable harbor on Cape Cod. It’s a great way to get out in the weather and wish these great beasts well as they head south for the winter. You’re likely to see right and minke whales as well as the mighty humpbacks.
Tickets are available online from Hyannis Whale Watcher Cruises, with daily cruises through October 9 and three times a week after that. Most tours leave at 11 am and last three and a half to four hours. Seniors pay $57 for a ticket.
Come Home to Plymouth for Thanksgiving!
Spend an unforgettable evening with family or friends enjoying a Thanksgiving meal where it all began. The Plimoth Patuxet Museums in Plymouth offers its Thanksgiving Dining Program through autumn, including a recreated 17th-century dinner from October onwards and a “Story of Thanksgiving” dinner complete with costumed roleplayers over Thanksgiving.
A home-style buffet dinner is also available, but it’s essential to book early for all meals. Bookings open for museum members at the beginning of June. The meals are offered at the museum’s site in Plymouth.
New England’s weather may not be the most welcoming in winter but it’s still great to get out and enjoy the seasonal decorations and holiday events that make this a special time of year.
Dress the Boughs
Get into the holiday spirit early with the Main Street Tree Lighting ceremony, usually on the second weekend of November. Grab some free hot chocolate and cookies and join the community as the holiday lights on Main Street Boulevard are turned on.
The event also rings in the Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Campaign, which raises money for the less fortunate over the season. It’s a good time to contribute or bring a non-perishable food item or a toy to donate and stand a chance to win gift certificates from local merchants.
Light the Way
Head out to Sandwich in Cape Cod for the annual Gardens Aglow celebration at Heritage Museums and Gardens at the beginning of December. With over nine miles of spectacular holiday lights, as well as ice sculptures, marshmallows, baby animals, and model trains, it’s a winter wonderland for the whole family to explore.
You will need to book a date and time slot ahead of time for this popular event as walk-up sales are not guaranteed. Tickets are $20 per adult and $10 for youths 3-17.
Get that down-home holiday cheer at Norwell’s family-focused Holiday on the Common event. Take part in annual rituals including tree lighting, gingerbread house contest, scavenger hunts, and, of course, a visit from the big man himself courtesy of the local fire department.
The free event is presented by Norwell’s Women’s Club in early December and takes place in the center of the town. Bring kids of all ages.
Plymouth’s Ice Festival sees gorgeous ice sculptures scattered throughout the downtown area. World-class carvers are each invited to make creations from a standard 350lb block of ice. This popular family event is designed to support businesses in downtown Plymouth in the off-season.
Although dates for next year’s festival have not been announced, the free event usually takes place in early February.
Stepping Out: Staying Social is Staying Healthy
The changing seasons always bring something extra to the area around Norwell and Plymouth. There’s always something new to see or learn, and new interests often mean new friends. Staying active and staying social is key to staying social. That’s what makes our area such a great place to retire!
Click below to learn more about how staying social can help you stay healthy.