Friday, May 2, 2008

Are you new to paddling?

Brand new to kayaking or canoeing and want to try it out before investing in any equipment? Maybe you're just visiting the area and looking to rent a canoe or kayak? There are a couple of great places here in central New England that offer rentals and tours. These outfitters don't originate in New Hampshire, but both will take you (either by boat or van) to New Hampshire waters.
Nashoba Paddlers in West Groton, Massachusetts is a great place to start. We rented here two or three times before deciding to buy our own kayaks. They have canoes and kayaks (both singles and doubles) and they're open daily from 9:30 to 6:30 and until 8:00 p.m. on Fridays in the summer.
From their rental site directly on the Nashua River, you can paddle for hours in either direction. One direction will take you through Groton and Pepperell, MA before crossing the border into Hollis and Nashua, NH. The other direction will take you through the Massachusetts towns of Shirley, Ayer, Harvard, Lancaster, and Leominster. Visit http://www.nashobapaddler.com/

Plum Island Kayak offers easy evening tours in the Portsmouth, NH area. They've teamed up with Kittery Trading Post in Maine to offer the tours. They're only offered on Wednesday evenings during the spring and summer -- but what you give up in flexibility of scheduling, you'll make up for with perks. For starters, Plum Island Kayak offers a 20-minute orientation and review of paddle strokes. Secondly, they provide all equipment AND they transport you by van from Kittery Trading Post to the put-in site just over the border in the Portsmouth area.

The guy I spoke with at Plum Island assured me that while you may encounter some saltwater (depending on which outing you select), you won't be fighting the tides. The first tour (May 28) takes place in New Castle, in an overflow basin of the Piscataqua River. These tours are classifed as easy "stillwater," with minimal currents. You'll need to register with Kittery Trading Post, but direct any questions beforehand to Plum Island Kayak by calling (978) 462-5510. Check out the Plum Island website if you're interested in tours outside New Hampshire.

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