Family Weekender: Boston

Quick Escapes from Beantown

Forget about playing the license plate game. Don't bother dragging out theCheez-Its. By the time your kids enter that dreaded "when will we be there?"zone, you're there — ready to bike, hike, or paddle through some of NewEngland's most glorious country.

Pick a weekend; pick any outdoor activity and we guarantee you'll find aplace to play within a Frisbee's toss of Paul Revere's house. So, what are you and your brood doing this weekend? Here are six of our top picks, all within an hour's drive from Boston.

Rips and Rapids on the Concord River

"Hold on!" our guide screamed as we hit a 10-foot wall of water.

We continued lurching up and over mountains of gushing whitewater, attackingrapids with names like Twisted Sister, Three Beauties, and Middlesex Dam(n).

White-knuckled, heart-pumping rafting just minutes from Boston? You betcha.The spring runoff on the Concord River in Lowell, Massachusetts, produces aseries of Class III and IV rapids. This urban thrill ride is considered someof the best whitewater rapid running in New England. Why travel further?

We took sopping plummets down the backside of exploding waves — some 50-footdrops — and in between, we floated beneath stone arched bridges and pastformer mill sites and power canals. Our guide gave us a quick history lessonof the area between instructions of"Paddle! Paddle! Paddle!" "Hold on! Holdon! Hold on!" The trip ended with a paddle into the heart of downtown Lowelland through an 1850s lock chamber, now a National Historic Landmark, wherewe were lifted 17 feet to a walkway. Then, we did it all again. (Two runsare made per trip.)

Contact the Lowell Parks and Conservation Trust, (888) 375-1115 forinformation and reservations. Trips are held Saturday and Sunday in Apriland May, last about four hours, and cost $75 per person. Minimum age is 12 years.

Published: 28 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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