Friday, July 30, 1999
More Summer Outings: Canoeing on nearby waterways
"Look here!" [said the Water Rat.] "If you've really nothing else on hand this morning, supposing we drop down the river together, and have a long day of it?"
The Mole waggled his toes from sheer happiness, spread his chest with a sigh of full contentment, and leaned back blissfully into the soft cushions. "What a day I'm having!" he said. "Let us start at once!" Kenneth Grahame,
There is no better way to spend a hot summer day than in a boat on a river. The river offers cooling temperatures, wonderful scenery and wildlife, and sometimes the opportunity for a refreshing swim. Fortunately Carlisle has several rivers and bodies of water nearby for spectacular day trips in a boat, canoe or kayak. Remember to wear life jackets, a hat, sunscreen and bug repellent at all times. Snacks, a picnic and lots of water or drinks should also be included. The exercise and sun can make you extremely thirsty and hungry. It is also important to check the water current, the wind direction and weather for any of these trips. The current and the wind can make a huge difference on the timing, the degree of difficulty and the pleasure experienced on the entire river.
Great Brook Farm
Near the scenic dam in the Great Brook Farm State Park in Carlisle there is a canoe/boat launching area on North Road about 1/2 mile on the right from the ice cream stand parking lot off Lowell Road. There is a five-acre pond with islands and inlets to explore.
Concord River and others
In Carlisle's back yard off Bedford Road there is the Concord River and the Carlisle boat landing cleaned annually by Carlisle Scouts during the Mosquito trash party. One can paddle either way towards Bedford or towards Concord and the Old North Bridge. A visit to the Old Manse near the Old North Bridge in Concord can be a pleasurable and an historic destination for everyone.
The place to begin in the Concord area is the boat landing off Lowell/Concord Road in Concord or, if you would like to rent a canoe, the South Bridge Boat House on Main Street ( Route 62) in Concord. Telephone number 371-2465. From here you can enjoy three rivers; the Sudbury and the Assabet, which merge to form the third, the Concord. All these rivers have numerous stretches to explore and enjoy.
In Lincoln off Route 117 there is a boat landing on the Sudbury River. From here one can find wonderful birding and paddling in the marsh area of a Wildlife Refuge towards Sudbury or downstream the other way in Fairhaven Bay, Concord.
The Assabet River can be accessed in the Gleasondale area of Stow off Route 62 to a takeout place above the dam in Maynard. This stretch of the Assabet has great variety of terrain and lots of opportunities to view both land and water birds and wildlife. These rivers are not for swimming but do provide a cool and scenic respite from the hustle and bustle of surburbia which surrounds them.
The Charles River has numerous areas to explore. There is the famous Magazine Beach off Memorial Drive where one can have a more urban and "large water" experience. Further up the Charles River by Route 128 and Route 109 east at Tropicland Marine and Tackle, 100 Bridge Street, Dedham, one can go down river about 9 miles to a waterfall in Newton or upriver about 14 miles to a waterfall in Dover. Canoes may be rented from this center. Millis also has an outfitter on Route 109 at a cove near the Charles Restaurant on the Millis/ Medway line. The attraction here is a flat water canoe through scenic open marshes, the Rocky Woods Reservation, rural areas and large open land holdings.
Merrimack in Lowell
In the other direction from Carlisle, the Merrimack River in Lowell has areas to canoe and sail or take an historic canal boat ride through the waterways of the Lowell National Historical Park. Call 978-970-5000 for information about the canal tour. On the other side of the Merrimack River from Carlisle, off Pawtucket Boulevard upstream from the dam there are launching areas as well as sailing programs for children and adults run by Lowell Community Sail. The telephone number is 978-970-3336 and the organization has an interchangeable arrangement with the Community Boat House (near the Hatch Shell) on the Charles River in Boston.
The North Shore
The supreme experience can be found an hour's drive away towards the North Shore. Spending a day in the village of Essex, Massachusetts one can experience the combination of the ocean marsh and sand bars of outer Cape Cod and the quaintness of a Maine fishing village. This picturesque village has numerous antique shops, The Essex Shipbuilding Museum, several old houses and lobster eateries and it also has ERBA ( Essex River Basin Adventures telephone number 1-800-kayak-04 or 1-978-768-ERBA). There are other organizations offering rides and trips on the Essex River but ERBA is an experienced outfitter which provides a variety of guided tours for all abilities in double and single sea kayaks. Although you can canoe the Ipswich River, the kayak is the recommended boat because of the tides, the wind and sea currents.
The Essex River enters the ocean and Ipswich Bay behind Castle Neck and Crane's Beach. The water is salty and the sandy flats and beaches are great areas to swim and explore. The tidal estuary with its dunes, beaches, protected islands and marshes of the Essex River basin provide many opportunities to view wildlife and sea birds in their natural habitat.
This is a wonderful trip for couples or a family with older children. ERBA offers instruction, guided trips and a Youth Sea Adventure Program for boys and girls. Other trips regularly scheduled include sunset tours, moonlight tours and a Hog Island paddle where you can paddle and walk on the Trustees of Reservations property, Hog Island and the island in the Essex River Basin. ERBA also offers natural history, private and corporate tours.
Enjoy your day in a boat on the water. Any one of these trips offers a wonderful way to explore new areas, experience the outdoors, and keep cool in the summer heat.
© 1999 The Carlisle Mosquito