Osprey Sea Kayak Adventures' aqueous instructors equip riders with the building blocks for surfing success with comprehensive courses and hands-on demonstrations. During the two-hour intro-to-standup-paddleboarding class, certified instructors help small classes of students brush up on body-boating basics atop the calm, protected waterways of the Westport River. Armed with top-of-the-line equipment, including boards, paddles, and masks shaped like each rider's favorite waterfowl, students learn how to keep their balance, paddle properly, and navigate eddying currents safely and quickly. Osprey's intro lessons shove off at high tide every Saturday and are calibrated to all levels of surfing experience. In the event of days marred by inclement weather or Loch Ness Monster impersonators, lessons may be rescheduled for cleared conditions.
As the sun begins to dip below the skyline, the Providence River’s surface flares up, tinged with its flickering glow. In the hazy sunset light, a gondola emerges cutting through the still water’s surface, though it’s just as easy to hear as it is to see; as it glides down the river, the boat wafts strains of song from its live accordion accompanist. Led by owner Marcello, La Gondola’s group of gondoliers row with the mission to only furnish passengers with romantic sojourns and to celebrate the riverfront and the city’s Italian ties. Each of his Venice-built gondolas gleams with intricately wrought ornaments and solid brass trim, and at 36 feet, they comfortably hold a gondolier, guests, an accompanying musician, and the occasional hitchhiking tugboat captain.
Each gondola trip his company takes gets Marcello’s custom touch, as he tailors every trip to passengers’ desires. “No matter who you are,” he says, “we strive to make you feel like the queen and king of the river.” In agreement with many other residents, Marcello considers Waterplace Park a city hub: “If the park is the heart of the city, the river is the lifeblood,” He says. He hopes the rebirth of the local riverfront parallels a local renaissance for gondoliering as well, which inspired him to plan the Gondolympics.
Steps from Phinney Harbor, visitors to The Paddler's Shop at Rivendell Marine can walk out with their lightweight boards and head straight for the shore. The folks at The Paddler's Shop outfit explorers and shoppers with rentals and purchasable equipment for aquatic recreation, including sturdy, lightweight fiberglass and kevlar kayaks and paddles. They also supply stand-up paddleboards, which are an ideal way for beginners to navigate nearby waterways, since they're lightweight and easy to balance atop.
As a kid, Nick earned his pocket money by working in the local marina, detailing and bottom painting boats. While time led to other careers, he ventured back to boats when a coworker asked for assistance, helping Nick rediscover a passion for the work. He soon opened his own boat-detailing business, Bottoms Up Detail, only he didn't stop there. One customer asked about a car. More wondered if Nick did motorcycles, trucks, homes, or trailers. Today, with four mobile truck cleaning teams and a state-of-the-art 2,000-square-foot cleaning facility, Nick and his staff tackle any job that comes their way.
In the depths of Cape Cod swim delicacies such as sea-bass and fluke. With backgrounds in both commercial and recreational fishing, the captains of Helen H Fleet lead anglers on trips for these catches, motoring to fishing grounds such as Nantucket Sound. The seven-boat fleet, which ranges from the 30-foot Sea Hawk to the 100-foot Helen H, lets the captains accommodate small charters of one to five anglers as well as party cruises. Crews rent out rods and reels, as well as sell refreshments in between anglers' bouts with feisty bass or boots stuck to the ocean floor. Targeted species change with the season, and Helen H Fleet's captains also charter whale- and seal-watching excursions whenever the creatures migrate along Cape Cod.
Those who follow Deerfield River westward from the Catamount State Forest to the Mohawk Trail State Forest travel through the hilly terrain of historic Charlemont. There, in 1989, the Berkshire Mountains and other geographical spoils caught the eyes of Bruce Lessels and Karen Blom—a medaling member of the US whitewater team and a public health nutritionist looking to make the outdoors more accessible. They built Zoar Outdoor on the river, establishing an 80-acre facility to be a base for ziplining, rock climbing, camping, and solar-powered lodging. Today, a staff of adventurers keeps that base running. They not only sell an arsenal of outdoor gear and continue those establishing activities, but also lead whitewater rafting and kayaking trips down their home river, slicing through the waves and rearranging a slew of fishes' living rooms along the way.