What could be better than a day spent paddling along the beautiful Housatonic River in the Berkshires? Many of the guests of the Staveleigh House Bed & Breakfast pack their own gear for a day on the water, taking advantage of the many Housatonic River access points to launch their own equipment. But if you haven’t yet invested in kayaks or canoes of your own, you’re new to kayaking or simply prefer to have the expertise of a local guide or outfitter, floating through the beautiful countryside of western Massachusetts is easily accomplished by simply hopping in the car and heading out to one of the nearby Berkshire outfitters.
Guided Canoe Tours
Perhaps the best known outfitter is Berkshire Canoe Tours. This family-owned and operated company, located just a half hour journey from the Inn in Lenox, MA, offers fun-filled guided canoe trips with experienced paddlers who will gladly point out the natural beauty of the area and the abundance of native wildlife that populate the riverbanks of the Housatonic River. Often spotting painted turtles, red-tailed hawks, owls and herons, it’s best to be ready with camera in hand to capture the spectacular scenery that awaits you around every bend in the river.
Plan on spending 1 ½ to 2 hours out on the water, so it’s good to have sunscreen, a hat, sunglasses and plenty of water along with binoculars and a camera. Current rates are $30 for children and $50 for adults, although rates are always subject to change. You’ll depart from Decker’s Landing in Lenox, MA. It’s best to make reservations in advance for these popular trips. You can find directions to the departure point on their website or call them directly at (413) 329-6017.
Kayak, Rafting, and Canoe Rental Outfitters
Berkshire Canoe Tours is not the only game in town however. Traveling south on Route 7, about 35 minutes from Staveleigh House, you’ll find Clarke Outdoors in lovely West Cornwall, CT. The section of river that you’ll paddle here is a combination of moving flat water and easy whitewater. Choose canoe, kayak or raft for your journey down river, but remember the trip is not guided. Instead Clarke provides the equipment and transportation to the departure point in Falls Village along with pick-up at the end of your trip 6 or 10 miles downstream. The halfway point of your adventure will find you at the Covered Bridge in West Cornwall, where you can pause to enjoy a picnic lunch if you’ve remembered to pack one. Other items to consider bringing include suntan lotion, bug spray, towels, plenty of water, a hat and perhaps some water shoes. Current rates are $60 on weekends and $50 weekdays. Trips last anywhere from 1 ½ to 5 hours depending on your mode of transportation (canoe or raft) and chosen length of journey (6 or 10 miles). Reservations are recommended, especially for large groups. For information on departure times and directions to their location visit them at Clarke Outdoors.
Have you ever paddled down the Housatonic River? If so, please share your experience or any tips with us by commenting below.