“Rowing, Rowing, Rowing on the River!”

It has been a long hot summer in Lancaster County. When my nephew Jesse visited us, we decided that a cool way to spend an afternoon would be on the river. I had long wanted to go kayaking at Shank’s Mare.

Getting there was easy. It’s located in a historic building that was once a general store – right on

the banks of the Susquehanna. We each opted for our own kayak – a decision I thought about later since I could have sat in the back while Jesse (a football player and senior in high school) would have paddled me around! Instead, I struggled to keep up with him after two hours of rowing.

This part of the Susquehanna is dammed and the water is calm. Except for the occasional speedboat pulling a water-skier or a jet ski going by, we pretty much had the river to ourselves. We explored a small offshoot of the river that led to a stream, crossed the river at the 1 ½ mile point, paddled out to an island and saw about 10 great blue heron sunning themselves on an old tree branch. And when we got tired, it was so relaxing to dip a hand in the cool water, lie back in the kayak, and watch the treetops and clouds pass by. If you get disoriented, just head to the pretty little white church that is across from Shank’s Mare.

Sometime we hope to get back and try one of their tours and explore the river even more.

We highly recommend this for a morning, afternoon or evening excursion – it’s only about 40 minutes from The Artist’s Inn. Even better, we have discount coupons for 10% off rentals.

Here are my tips if you go:

1) Wear old tennis shoes – the launch area has a lot of rocks.
2) Wear a hat – there’s very little shade!
3) Bring a bottle of water – being around all that water made me thirsty!
4) Be careful that you apply sunscreen everywhere. (I thought that our kayak would be the kind you slip your feet into but they were open – so for about two weeks I sported the reddest ankles this side of the Susquehanna).
5) Take your camera in a waterproof bag. I didn’t trust that we wouldn’t capsize, so I left my camera in the car, and didn’t get any pictures while on the water. But the kayaks are very stable, and next time I’ll take my camera along.
6) Lastly, have fun! Shank’s Mare’s motto is “Go Play Outside”. Who could argue with that?

Here’s a picture of Bruce and Jess posing by the “sign”.

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