Family Weekender: Boston

Family Paddle on the Ipswich River
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It's a maze of the best kind. Zig to the left, and you encounter a ripplylittle patch of river. Zag to the right, and you enter a labyrinth of marshycanals that may — or may not — lead you back to the main waterway. You neverreally get lost on the Ipswich River, though. There's always a landmark,like an old bridge, to remind you of where you are. And, some of those"oops!" detours lead to a beauty spot you might have missed — a stand ofvelvety cattails, a red-winged blackbird crossing your bow.

The serpentine curves of the Ipswich River are a powerful lure for north shore kayakers and canoeists; everybody puts in at Foote Brothers' launch, or farther down Topsfield Road off Bradley Palmer State Park. You're notalone, but so what? Once you're headed upstream along this sinuous river, you'll have stretches of it all to yourself. The kids will happily ridemojo, the better to point out the splendid details you might have missed: the jumble of pencil-point tree limbs, noshed by beavers; the rat-tat-tat of woodpeckers in nearby forest. Pull over anytime and have a picnic on the riverbank. On this meandering river, you can go for hours (Foote Brothers will shuttle you all the way to Middleton's Thunder Bridge, if you wish), ormake it a short, gentle jaunt through the marshlands.

Foote Brothers, 230 Topsfied Rd., Topsfield, rents canoes from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. Day-long rentals are $20 weekdays; $25 weekends and holidays. Call (978) 356-9771.

Kayakers might try contacting Ipswich Bay Ocean Kayaking. Call Carl Spanger at (978) 356-2464.

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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