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.
The merry mariners at H. P. Kayak & Boat Rentals provide prospective paddlers with a fleet of colorful crafts to explore the Connecticut River. Before your two-hour tour, choose to fly solo in a single-person kayak (a $30 value) or tote along co-pilots in a rowboat (a $35 value), dual-passenger kayak (a $35 value), or two-person canoe (a $35 value). Then push off shore and seize the open water, where you'll behold a real-life viewfinder's worth of scenic wildlife, including eagles and Frisbees, while advancing oarsmanship, teambuilding skills, and general awareness of water.
Westfield Water Sports and Wilderness Experiences—a kayak, SUP, camping, and scuba gear shop as well as a camping store and adventure emporium—dispatches a staff of certifiable adventure-seekers to lead sojourners into the great outdoors with scuba classes, kayak classes, dive and non-dive world travel, and rock-climbing excursions. An all-around outdoorsman, camp director T. Scott Cook leans on his doctorate of Leadership Development in Adventure Education to develop nature excursions, including far-flung trips where groups snorkel in the Cayman Islands or evolve gills in the Galapagos. Back home, the summer camp’s elaborate ropes course builds teamwork between coworkers, and caving adventures allow guests to delve into mysterious depths or apartment swap with a black bear.
From rock climbing, to kayaking, to camping, Tekoa Mountain Outdoors' founder Tim Vogel views the great outdoors as a combination of playground and classroom, a place where adults and children can learn by doing. Tim has been teaching and guiding adventure activities for more than 25 years, and his experience aids him as he plans adventurous exhibitions, such as hiking along the Appalachian Trail or searching for lost car keys in the Wards Gregory Cave System. During outings, Tim teaches his students both introductory and advanced techniques. Along with a team of certified guides, Tim advocates passion for the outdoors and love for every blade of glass, even the stubby crab variety. In addition to working with the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts of America, the staff leads several education programs that teach youth valuable team-building lessons. They also run the WOLF Program, which cultivates new crops of professional leaders within the expedition and adventure industry.
A relaxing day on the water shouldn’t be marred by the inconvenience of transporting bulky watercraft. Worcester Kayak Rentals maximizes customers’ leisure time by delivering its kayaks, standup paddleboards, and pedal boats to launch sites such as Webster Lake, Rutland State Park, and Douglas State Forest. Customers with a roof rack and proper tie downs can also pick up their rentals at the shop. The staffers pay close attention to customer safety, providing US Coast Guard–approved life vests with each rental and carefully inspecting each vessel for damage and stowaway mallards.
Red Rock Grill and Bar's chefs seek out seasonal ingredients, whenever possible, from local sources to craft homegrown favorites and American comfort foods. Using fresh meats and produce, they braise pot roast in a blend of Guinness and smoked jalapeños, make marinara sauce in-house, and infuse macaroni 'n' cheese with fresh lobster. At the bar, a selection of microbrews and cocktails keep patrons spacing out their mugs of ice water. Beyond the menu, Red Rock entertains visitors by hosting regular performances from live musicians and loaning out canoes and kayaks with which to explore the nearby waters through Good to Go Kayak Rentals.