Growing up, I looked at Father’s Day as the end of the gift-giving season — a season that lasted months. For me, it was Christmas, birthdays, Valentine’s Day, Easter, Mother’s Day and then Dad. When it came time to recognize this special man, I was commonly tapped out on affordable ideas.
Now that years have passed and I Iook back on the many Father’s Day celebrations, I realize that the best gifts didn’t take a lot of money. The ones we remember most are sunny walks and long talks, stopping to watch a street-musician and chatting with neighbors. In short, it has always been about taking time to enjoy each other’s company — easily the most affordable gift, yet the most valuable.
This coming weekend it is Father’s Day once again. If you are looking for the perfect present — one that won’t burst your budget — consider taking Dad out to one of these free Massachusetts destinations. If you know of others, please tell us in the comments below!Friday, June 19, 5 to 9 p.m.
Saturday, June 20, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Sunday, June 21, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Falmouth Village Library Lawn and adjacent Shore Street Extension
This 3-day celebration of the arts takes place in Falmouth and the Upper Cape and includes a town dance on Friday night and continuous entertainment throughout the weekend. Over 50 performances are planned, including jazz, classical, folk, show tunes and more. The event takes place rain or shine.Anytime
Begins on grounds of the former Westborough State Hospital
Junction Hospital Road and Lyman Street
If Dad enjoys the outdoors, this seven-mile hike has much to offer. The terrain is manageable and includes open fields, farm roads, meadows, forests and the stunning Chauncy Lake. Cap off your day with a walk through the quaint downtown and its coffee shops, diners, boutiques and historic buildings. A map of the area can be found at www.westboroughcharm.org.
60th Annual South Shore Arts FestivalFriday, June 19 to Sunday, June 21
South Short Art Center
119 Ripley Road, Cohasset
Enjoy the start of summer with a stroll through this quaint oceanside New England gathering. The festival features over 100 juried exhibitors, live music, and art demonstrations. All ages are welcome. Organizers expect over 9,000 to attend.
Bedford, Lexington, Arlington, Cambridge
This 11-mile rail-trail of gently rolling asphalt is perfect for biking or hiking. Stretching from the Alewife station to Bedford, you can hop on the trail at a number of entry points — including main entrances in Bedford, Lexington Center, Arlington Center and Cambridge. The historic trail winds past a number of scenic sites marking the start of the Revolutionary War. The website includes a map and photos.Saturday, June 20, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Sunday, June 21, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Main Street, Hyannis
The 21st Annual Father’s Day Car Show hosts an estimated 350 vintage cars and is expected to attract over 50,000 people. Dozens of New England’s finest crafters will display and sell their works, including watercolors, basketry, jewelry, photography, pottery, leather and more. Sample gourmet delights, such as herbal dips, jams, jellies, cookies, honey, oils, vinegars, fruits and more. Take a blanket for the live music on the bandstand. The event takes place rain or shine.Sunday, June 21
9 to 10 a.m.
Intersection of Brush Hill road and the Neponset Valley Parkway, Milton
Sponsored by the Blue Hills Trailside Museum, this guided hike is open to the public and no registration is necessary. Appropriate for ages 8 and up, the hike includes seasonal highlights of flowers, insects, trees, birds, mammals and more. Boots, bug spray and water are recommended.Sunday, June 21
Portuguese Square, Concord Avenue
The parade is the highlight of this year’s 10th Annual Boston Portuguese Festival. All nationalities are invited to honor Portugal with a parade of floats, bands, and marching groups. The procession will begin at Portuguese Square and continue down Cambridge Street, through Inman Square. The parade will end in front of St. Anthony’s Church at the corner of Cambridge Street and Cardinal Medeiros Avenue.Sunday June 21
3 to 5 p.m.
105 Brattle Street, Cambridge
Presented by the Berklee College of Music, the free performance features Damn Tall Buildings. The group offers lyrical storytelling and foot-stomping music in the historic Longfellow House — Washington’s Headquarters National Historic Site.
Make Music BostonSunday, June 21
4 to 9 p.m.
Rose Kennedy Greenway
Free, outdoor concerts are taking place in over 700 cities around the world as part of Make Music Day. In Boston, look for performances at the North End Parks, the Rings Fountain and beneath the Echelman Sculpture in the Fort Point Channel Parks, all part of the Rose Kennedy Greenway. The Greenway is itself a destination, a mile-and-a-half of contemporary parks featuring organic landscape management. Plan time to walk the area and explore all it has to offer. Other Make Music Boston performances and locations can be found on the website.Sunday, June 21
5 to 9 p.m.
Harvard Museums of Science & Culture
Divinity Avenue, Cambridge
As part of the annual Summer Solstice Celebration, all four Harvard museums are open to the public at no charge: Harvard Semitic Museum, Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments, Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology, and Harvard Museum of Natural History. The celebration includes stilt walkers, jugglers, acrobats, music, dance, and activities for all ages. If the weather does not cooperation, the event will move inside the museums.