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.
Boating in Boston drops oars in six locations—including local lakes, ponds, the Charles River, and Boston Harbor—sending visitors on watery adventures with a fleet of canoes, kayaks, sailboats, pedal boats, paddleboards, and festive and essential lifejackets. Whether navigating the peaceful waters of Hopkinton State Park's Hopkinton Reservoir—the place that, in 2002, started it all—or campus-adjacent eddies of UMass Boston's Fox Point Landing, visitors can hit the water untrained or sharpen skills with solo or group lessons. The crew of instructors also instills a love of boating in the littlest landlubbers with youth summer camps that teach basic skills and safety.
In the early ’70s, Boston-area resident Mike Farny dreamed of creating affordable outdoor recreational activities for his community to enjoy. Today, on-staff guides lead tours of the Charles River and Boston Harbor to educate participants in ecosystem conservation, view the skyline and sunset, or explore historic structures.
To prepare customers entering the water for the first time, instructors coach riders of all levels in private or group lessons at the paddling school, which draws on more than 30 years of instructional tradition. Staffers can also equip boaters in the shop—where P&H kayaks hang alongside paddleboards and Wenonah canoes, dreaming of one day being the inspiration for a traditional sea chantey. Crew members help clients choose their ride and accessories from these selections and others through free daily demonstrations.
Battenkill River Sports & Campground is a charming B&B in Cambridge that serves up tasty meals and offers a wide variety of relaxing amenities.
At Battenkill River Sports & Campground, drivers will appreciate the ample parking options in the area.
Located in the Berkshires, 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. The rafting and kayaking outfitter sits on a reservoir along the Deerfield River, where eagle, osprey, and beaver sightings are common. During the summertime, stand up paddle board rentals behind their base camp are also available. 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.
There's no shortage of outdoor activities at the solar- and wind-powered Berkshire East Mountain Resort. Whether visitors want to soar across the treetops or ski through the mountains, they're sure to find fun and adventure at this year-round destination. Read on to learn more about a few of its offerings:
Ziplining: Named one of the top zipline courses in the country by USA Today, Berkshire's three canopy tours feature several ziplines ranging from hundreds to thousands of feet in length, chairlift rides, and 45-foot-tall platforms, not to mention stunning views of the Berkshire mountains and the Deerfield River Valley.
Skiing: With winding trails fit for beginners and descents designed for experts, the
mountain resort offers terrain for all levels of skiers. In addition to skis, visitors can enjoy the area atop snowboards and snow tubes.
Mountain biking: Partnering with Gravity Logic, which has designed some of the world's most popular downhill trails, Thunder Mountain Bike Park also offers gravity flow trails for beginning, intermediate, and advanced riders.
Whitewater rafting: Berkshire East invites guests to explore the twisting and turning Deerfield River via whitewater rafting or kayaking. While traveling through the mountains' foothills along the Mohawk Trail, adventurers can take in the area's spectacular vistas.