With two lakeside marinas and a squad of knowledgeable staff, Saratoga Boatworks specializes in helping customers get out onto the water by almost any means necessary. They sell and repair new and used watercraft ranging from recreational and fishing boats to catamarans and jet skis, overseeing a fleet featuring nearly 20 brands such as Sweetwater Pontoons, Rinker, Stingray, and Sea Fox. They even take their service one step further, providing boat rentals that range from three hours to a full day.
River guides outfit each participant with a tube and life jacket before shuttling them to the Upper Hudson River, where they take in scenic views of the Adirondacks and float on water 2 to 3 feet deep that boasts an average temperature of 72 degrees. As the weather warms, the park shifts its focus to its four downhill tubing slides. To add more excitement, the company's crew revamped the colorful slides with snow-like surfaces that create increased speeds. This spirit for adventure echoes at nearby Lower Hudson Gorge, where Tubby Tubes' rafts and tubes explore the flat waters and tree-lined banks.
Since 1983, the seasoned river guides of Wild Waters Outdoor Center have been leading whitewater-rafting expeditions down the Hudson and Sacandaga Rivers. The outfitter also leads overnight rafting trips in which paddlers spend the day cruising the river and the night camping out beneath the stars and renaming the constellations after past winners of American Idol.
Crab Apple Whitewater sends adventure seekers on river-bound thrill rides daily from early April through mid-October using inflatable kayaks for Class I–II rapids and larger group rafts for Class II–IV rapids. Crab Apple Whitewater charts routes through the Berkshire Mountains on rivers such as the Deerfield, making use of natural flows and daily dam releases in order to control the challenge for kayakers and rafters of all skill levels. Trips are consistent due to dam control, but vary based on interpretations of fortunes found in the guide’s tea leaves the night before. All adventurers strap on provided helmets and life jackets and attend a safety lecture prior to casting off.
Hornet Marine President David Hartmann got his taste for boat design from his father, Hal, an engineer who helped create the smooth-riding deep-vee hull now included on each Hornet 17 speedboat. Today, the 17-foot seacrafts zip through the water with help from Mercury MerCruiser engines, each carrying up to five passengers perched on custom upholstery. Hornet Marine invites landlubbers on factory tours and test drives at its headquarters in Bristol, Connecticut, where a staff of nautical experts also keep ships shipshape with oil changes, detailing, and other boat-maintenance services.
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.