ESSEX -- The Connecticut River Museum has teamed-up with a sporting goods giant to provide kayaking enthusiasts with a new opportunity to enjoy the water.
"We have a grant that we received this summer from the Cabela’s Outdoor Fund," explains museum Executive Director Chris Dobbs of the new paddle program. "Cabela's ended-up giving us ten canoes, kayaks, all the accoutrements you could possibly need."
And, the museum provides information about the area's history, tourism and wildlife. Folks can embark on self-guided tours with a comprehensive map, or sign-up for a monthly trip with an environmental educator like Bill Yule.
"You could talk all day about everything that’s happening here," Yule says. "We’re really fortunate to have this beautiful, pristine, natural environment."
The paddle -- through calm, shallow areas such as in North Cove -- is fairly easy. Gorgeous homes dot the shore, as do significant sites, such as Riverview Cemetery.
"The headstones there go back to the Revolutionary War, to the 1700s," says Yule.
Birders flock to the area to see osprey, swans and eagles, as well as the annual Swallow Spectacular.
"It is just breathtaking. You think of fireworks, well, this is fireworks in the air, of birds. They go up, they go down, they swoosh into the marshes and they really put on a great show," explains Dobbs. "For that, you can get up-close and personal in the canoe or kayak."
Escape with help from a relaxing activity.
"You’ve had a stressful week. Come on down to the Connecticut River Museum on Friday, Saturday or Sunday," says Dobbs. "Get out there, turn off your cell phone, and just enjoy."
Yule says the coast is a natural playground that's new and different each and every day.
"If you didn’t know that we were surrounded by huge population centers, you would think we’re in the wild somewhere and in a real sense, we are," says Yule. "It is a wilderness close to home. A wilderness in your backyard, really."
Click here for information about the paddle program including rental prices for 2, 4 or 7 hour excursions.
The Swallow Paddle is scheduled for September 10. Registration is required. Contact the museum to make a reservation.