Neckties? So 2019! This year, give dad a fun experience for Father’s Day. Unless you’re a total pain in the behind, the gift he’d like most is time with you, so pick an outing that you can enjoy together. Remember, this is about him, not you, so select something that suits the unique guy who’s the father figure in your life. Things book up quickly, so it’s time to get poppin’.
Laugh it up with your jokester dad
He’s the man who utters memorable lines like “You can’t elope with a canteloupe!”* and other groan-worthy quips, so why not give him a few yuks for Dad’s Day? Live comedy venues are coming back, woot-woot, with COVID precautions in place. Shows to consider: Clean-cut, boy-next-door comedian Mike Birbiglia is bringing his show to the Cape Cod Melody Tent in Hyannis on Aug. 19 (www.melodytent.org; tickets from $52). This multi-hyphenate (author-podcast host-filmmaker) is a fantastic storyteller, and he won’t make you squirm in your seat next to Pops. Not quite so clean-cut, but roaringly funny, 2019 Mark Twain Prize-winner Dave Chappelle brings his brand of topical hilarity to the Grand Theater at Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, Conn. (www.foxwoods.com; tickets from $99) for five shows on June 24, 25, and 26. Masks are required, and rapid COVID tests will be given to guests prior to entry. You’ll have a blast, and dad will come home with some new material. Win-win.
*actual dad joke.
Is he still waxing nostalgic about the striper he caught in 1978? Give him some new fish stories to tell with a chartered fishing trip out of Gloucester. Connemara Bay Charters (www.cbcharters.com) is a great choice, because it’s operated by a father-son captain duo, Kevin and Kellen O’Maley. Plus, you can bring your siblings, and split the cost, since the 37-foot, Maine-built fishing boat accommodates up to six passengers. Dad Kevin has been running these trips for more than 35 years, and he promises a fun, high-energy excursion. The two have serious street cred: Kevin has landed a 1,007-pound bluefin tuna, while Kellen’s biggest striped bass measured 52.60 inches long. Trips run the gamut, from a two-hour lobstering trip (great for families with small fry; $400) to a nine-hour-long tuna charter ($1,350). On the lobster trip, you’ll help toss and pull traps, fill bait bags, and measure bugs (lobsters). Bass-and-blues charters (from $650) are a popular option; go for either four or five hours, and if you choose the latter, add a free lobster tour.
And, there’s a bonus: take your catch to Lobsta Land (www.lobstalandrestaurant.com) and they’ll cook and serve your catch. (A cover charge applies.) This one is splashy, for sure, but what a day to remember! 47 Crafts Road, Gloucester; 978-282-0197. Lobsta Land Restaurant, 84 Causeway St., Gloucester; 978-281-0415.
Are you ready, dad? Start walkin’.
Did your dad burn through several pairs of New Balance sneakers and a Fitbit or two making loops around the neighborhood during the pandemic? The man deserves a change of scenery, so treat him to a mountain hike and a picnic lunch with a view. Since he is the tops among pops, take him to the biggest (3,491 feet) and baddest mountain in Massachusetts, Mount Greylock. Mount Greylock State Reservation (www.mass.gov/locations/mount-greylock-state-reservation) offers numerous trails, from casual to difficult, so it’s easy to find one that suits his hiking ability. And it’s his day, so you can carry the backpack! And spring for lunch. Guido’s Fresh Marketplace (www.guidosfreshmarketplace.com) in Pittsfield is a handy choice, and dad will call it “a nice spread” — Guido’s Kitchen offers freshly made sandwiches (try the banh mi) and salads, packaged to go, along with desserts from Berkshires bakeries. You, the world’s best dad, a great lunch, and glorious views: This will be a dad’s day to remember. The park’s visitor center is located at 30 Rockwell Road, Lanesborough; 413-499-4262.
Tanks for the memories
Grab dear old dad, point the car toward Hudson, and take in an “automobile beauty pageant” at the American Heritage Museum (www.americanheritagemuseum.org). Yep, you read that right. Father’s Day weekend, June 19-20, the Collings Foundation’s classic automobiles will make a guest appearance, as part of the museum’s “Tanks, Wings & Wheels” weekend. (Some of these handsome vehicles are shown only during special events.) In addition, historic aircraft and tanks will be out and running. Vintage radio broadcast narration will add to the retro appeal. All three on-site museums will be open for this event: the American Heritage Museum, the Historic Aviation Hangar, and Classic Automobile Barn. Dads can admire some of the world’s rarest aircraft, extraordinary American classic automobiles, historic tanks, armored vehicles, and military artifacts, all in one place. Adults, $25; veterans and seniors, $20; ages 3-12, $15.
For the ultimate immersive, splurge-y experience, give your father figure the opportunity to ride aboard (or even drive) a real tank from World War II, the M24 Chaffee Light Tank or the M4A3 Sherman Medium Tank. Hourlong driving instruction, including 20 minutes at the controls, will be offered during the event. Put him behind the controls of one of these metal beasts, and he’ll be instantly transported to 1944. Tank rides start at $595 for two people. 568 Main St., Hudson; 978-562-9182
Hops with Pops
If the forecast looks favorable, take him out for tacos and a beer. Among several outdoor beer gardens that have sprouted around the city, the Cisco Brewers Seaport Pop-up spans 14,000 square feet, so there’s plenty of room to spread out, relax, and enjoy the cityscape. The liquid menu will feature Cisco Brewers’ favorites, like Whale’s Tale Pale Ale, Grey Lady Wheat Ale, and its seasonal Summer Rays Golden Ale, along with hard ciders, wines, frosé, and coolers.
Throughout the summer, Cisco will be serving small batch brews on draft — including a Mango Hazy IPA, and a Session Peach IPA — that will be available only at the beer garden.
This year, food is provided (with contactless ordering) by Rexicana Surf Cantina. Specializing in Caribbean- and Central American-influenced cuisine, Rexicana will serve up tacos, locally-made tortilla chips with fresh dips, and their signature Taco Tots, made with fried potatoes, cotija, salsa, crema, and chipotle aioli with a choice of protein. Rexicana uses locally-sourced and -produced ingredients, including meat from New England farms, corn grown in Hadley, and tortillas pressed in Plymouth. Per the guidelines from the City of Boston and Commonwealth of Massachusetts, all guests purchasing alcoholic beverages are required to purchase food when placing a beverage order. But what self-respecting dad wouldn’t want an order of Taco Tots? Follow @ciscobrewersseaport for current opening hours. No reservations required. 65 Northern Ave., Boston; www.ciscobrewers.com/locations
Let someone else do the grilling
Oh sure, he always volunteers to flip the burgers and slather sauce on the ribs, but why not let someone else do the grilling on dad’s special day? Especially someone who does it quite well — say, the New Hampshire Smokehouse and Bbq Shak (www.bbqshak.com) in New Hampton, N.H. This roadside barbecue stand wins raves for its smokehouse favorites (enhanced with their own rub), including pulled pork barbecued ribs, slow-smoked rack of ribs, brisket, hickory-braised chicken, plus mac and cheese and honey-butter cornbread. Now that’s definitely a menu meat-eating dads will dig. You’ll dine outdoors on the (dog-friendly) patio. Give him a bonus gift: a shaker of Smokin’ Salt Spice and Smokehouse Seasoning, made on site. It’ll up his home grilling game, and it’s a nice souvenir. Entrees, $10 and up. 599 Route 104, New Hampton, N.H.; 603-236-1600
Diane Bair and Pamela Wright can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org