As his kayak group floats down the Susquehanna River, one of Chiques Rock Outfitters' guides points out some of the area's most scenic features—rocky hillsides dotted with trees, denser forests near the water's shore, and a bald eagle perched on a tree branch. Then, just as the watercrafts round a bend, the guide bursts into song, eliciting applause from his group and nearby fish that have really big flippers.
These musical guides are just one of the signature touches Chiques Rock Outfitters adds to its trips down the Susquehanna River. After the shuttles lug canoes and kayaks to launch points, customers embark on guided trips, unguided floats, or team-building exercises. Additionally, Chiques Rock Outfitters encourages more than just leisurely floats, inviting customers to bring along fishing poles and pre-prepared questions for local wildlife. Back on shore, the staff partners with Starrk Moon Kayaks and Gear to sell equipment ready for future aquatic jaunts.
Framed by unfiltered wilderness and the occasional supports of a crossing bridge, the Schuylkill River is a secluded getaway for water lovers looking to float down nature?s slow-motion roller coaster. Reading Rivertribe shuttles aqueous adventurers to chosen points along the river for leisurely kayaking, canoeing, or tubing, with each trip ending where it started: in the stomach of a dreaming whale or next to a CPR-certified shuttle driver.
Marsh Creek Lake, lined with verdant shores and rolling hills, bobs with fishing boats, kayaks, sailboats, and windsurfing boards. About 535 acres of azure waters bejewel the surrounding 1,705 acres of hiking trails and picnic areas. Throughout the day, Marsh Creek Watersports leads one-hour pontoon-boat excursions that take guests through a history lesson of the park and surrounding region, leaving time for peaceful moments spent gazing at the natural wildlife. During the summer months, Marsh Creek also hosts kids' sailing camps to acquaint young ones with the techniques and safe practices of aquatic navigation, such as defending against Peter Pan attacks.
Just a short walk from the colonial-era fieldstone barn, a sea of green sprouts up around a small pond. Inside this self-sustained ecosystem, turtles leisurely perch on fallen tree limbs that float atop the cool water. Scenes like this are common at Great Valley Nature Center, which stretches 10.5 verdant acres across streams, ponds, wetlands, fields, and woodland habitats. The center fosters an awareness of the land through educational programs for all ages, including kayaking trips, geocaching adventures, or Owl Prowl dinner expeditions. Along with enjoying access to 500 partner museums and gardens throughout the world, members can tour a replica Native American Lenape village, or visit raptors on the mend at the Bird of Prey center. The center’s wildflower garden blooms yellow and white in the spring, and its maple-sugar house preserves the artisanal technique of boiling down flannel shirts from sweet-smelling lumberjacks.
Cuisine Type: American casual, seafood
Handicap Accessible: Yes
Number of Tables: 25?50
Parking: Parking lot
Most popular offering: Maryland crabcakes, crab pretzels, scallops
Alcohol: Full bar
Delivery/Takeout Available: Takeout only
Outdoor Seating: Yes
In your own words, how would you describe your menu?
[It's an] American-casual menu with many seafood options and classic dishes; [there are] no crazy or hyped-up ingredients.
What is one of your most popular offerings? How is it prepared?
Our crab cakes are the most popular and, along with our crab soups, are the oldest recipe. We've been featured on a Maryland public-television special about the best crab cakes in the Baltimore/Maryland area.
What is one fun, unusual fact about your business?
The building was built in 1928 as a dancehall and picnic grove for [the] residents of Baltimore to enjoy. There was also a speakeasy in the basement during Prohibition. The dance floor is still [the] original. Also, we have one of the oldest liquor licenses in Baltimore County. [It was] issued when Prohibition ended.
Is there anything else you want to add that we didn't cover?
The property is on a point overlooking the Chesapeake Bay. The cove for kayaking is a protected calm-water cove with a sandy bottom. There are beautiful sunsets, Chesapeake Bay wildlife, ospreys, and bald eagles for sight seeing.
Chesapeake Bay is home to legendary beautiful waters, diverse flora and fauna, and Paddlefest, an annual paddle-sports event organized by the team at Ultimate Watersports. Held on the Gunpowder River, which flows into the bay, the festival shows off the industry's latest toys, allowing attendees to try out brand-new kayaks and paddleboards on the sparkling fresh water. For the rest of the season, Ultimate Watersports brings its know-how to the shores with kayak tours, paddleboard lessons, and sailing trips that have remained a bay fixture for more than 26 years. Waterfront enthusiasts seek out the company's reliably well-maintained and up-to-date watercraft to do everything from gain a windsurfing certification to practice heckling standup paddleboard comics. Additionally, seasonal kids' camps help youngsters to stay active while gaining an appreciation for watersports and the splendor of the outdoors.