Sunday, August 16, 2009
Down to the Sea in Kayaks
I've always loved landscapes where ecosystems meet, and none more than the seacoast of southern New England, where forests tumble down to salt marshes and the sea. Like many northeasterners, I've glimpsed such terrain from Amtrak trains running between New York and Boston. But in southern Rhode Island, you can get close to this beauty in a kayak.
Thanks to Narrow River Kayaks, in Narragansett, RI, you can paddle down the Narrow River to Rhode Island Sound at the end of Narragansett Town Beach.
Along the way you'll pass long stretches of marsh grass and the nesting places of birds. At the mouth of the river, you can beach your boat, paddle out into the Sound, or surf your kayak in the waves. I've enjoyed all three.
Most paddlers who rent from Narrow River Kayaks head downstream on the route I've just described. But you can also paddle upstream from Narrow River's base, past more residential river banks, to the birthplace of the painter Gilbert Stuart, who is best known for his unfinished portrait of George Washington. That makes the Narrow River one place where a kayak trip can combine natural history and art history.
I haven't yet made the upstream trip, but I've rented from Narrow River Kayaks several times and I've always enjoyed the experience. Their staff is knowledgeable and friendly.
I've paddled down the Narrow River with my wife and children and it has something for everyone--from bird watchers to bathers to kids and former kids who like to mix it up in the surf.
I can't think of a better way to enjoy the coastal landscapes of southern New England.