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Best New England Waterways

by in May 2008
Best New England Waterways
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Best New England Waterways

Looking for the perfect way to spend a summer day with your family? Here are our picks for the best New England waterways.

Best New England Waterways
The Farmington River (user submitted)

Farmington River.
There’s no better way for a family to spend a summer day than floating down the Farmington together on bright-yellow inner tubes. Although the river flows for more than 80 miles, we’re talking here about a stretch that begins at Satan’s Kingdom Gorge and ends some 2.5 miles later — after you’ve tumbled through three rapids and floated as languorously as a leaf through much of the rest. Memorial Day weekend through mid-September. Restrictions: at least 10 years old, 4 feet 5 inches, able to swim. Check ahead for weather and river conditions.

Farmington River Tubing. 92 Main St., New Hartford. 860-693-6465;

Belgrade Lakes. Alden Camps, established 1910, is among the few American-plan family camps left from the Age of Innocence. Eighteen little log cabins along the shore of East Pond in the Belgrade Lakes region provide quiet retreats with docks and motorboats, while the farmhouse dining room serves some of the best food anywhere. It’s both an experience of the authentic Maine and an indulgence you’ll remember. Memorial Day weekend-Labor Day.

Route 137, Oakland.

Best New England Waterways Canoeing Under North Bridge (user submitted)


Concord River.
Downstream from the South Bridge Boat House, operated by the Rohan family since 1949, just past where the Assabet and Sudbury rivers converge at Egg Rock to flow into the Concord River, lies Minute Man National Historical Park. Rent a canoe or kayak; then take the leisurely paddle to North Bridge, where on April 19, 1775, the “shot heard ’round the world” was fired, or upriver to meadows where Thoreau, Emerson, and Hawthorne once gained inspiration. Don’t want to paddle? Let Martha Rohan serve you homemade lunch aboard her pontoon cruise boat.

North Bridge Visitor Center. 174 Liberty St., Concord. 978-369-6993;

South Bridge Boat House. Call or visit Web site for pricing and schedules. 496 Main St. (Route 62), Concord. 978-369-9438; 978-371-1785;

New Hampshire

Northern Forest Canoe Trail. Paddle the Granite State’s 72-mile stretch of these designated waterways (740 miles in all, upstate New York to northern Maine) from Errol to North Stratford, and you’ll dip into three rivers: the Androscoggin, the Ammonoosuc, and the Connecticut. Along the way, you’ll discover springs once known only to the Abenaki, old mills, bridges, boom piers (from the region’s logging days), miles of undeveloped riverbank, and a variety of birds and other wildlife. Call or visit Web site for suggested trips, launch sites, camping info, and maps.


Best New England Waterways Castle Island, Massachusetts, In Fall (user submitted)

Please Note: This information was accurate at the time of publication. When planning a trip, please confirm details by directly contacting any company or establishment you intend to visit.

Updated Monday, April 28th, 2008

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