Any parent knows that a “Year of Wellness” ought to include a night away from the kids. Todd and I got that last week, and we made the most of it with our new touring kayaks.
Todd found the perfect place to stay: Lockhouse 6 on the historic C&O Canal. Less than two hours from Richmond, Va., the lockhouse is precisely what we’d sought. After discovering it online, Todd burst into my home office in such a way that I was sure some Lady Diana car crash thing had happened. (“Is your computer on?!”) It took me at least 20 seconds to realize that no catastrophic world event had occurred. (“It’s on the canal! On the canal!”)
Built in 1829, the restored lockhouse has witnessed the travels of millions. That fact is made abundantly clear by the fabulous photographs, gallery, scrapbooks and library inside. I’ll tell you what: some volunteer out there loves Lockhouse 6. And their passion for its historical significance is infectious.
The canal was mucky with algae at Lock 6, so we put in at Lock 5, just down the way.
Off we went, in the direction of Georgetown. We’d hoped to paddle to Georgetown for dinner, but were advised by former Olympic kayaker (who helps to oversee Lockhouse 6) that it was probably too long a paddle. On his recommendation, we headed for Fletcher’s Boathouse.
The canal is lovely, but initially there seemed a lot of noise pollution from the adjacent Clara Barton Parkway and screaming jets above, tracing the Potomac into D.C. The din was less noticable, however, after encountering four noble blue herons with speckled breast feathers that, up close, resembled a chieftain’s regalia.
We reached Fletcher’s after about 45 minutes of easy paddling. From the maps we’d seen, we knew that the boathouse was about halfway to Georgetown.
So… should we grab a snack at Fletcher’s, paddle back and then drive to Georgetown for dinner? Or should we exceed the expectations of an Olympian and go for bust – paddling to dinner in Georgetown?
Georgetown it was.
Paddling to dinner
We spied steeples as we approached the city and wondered how many people on the historic canal had identified Georgetown’s skyline that very way.
After being photographed by half a dozen surprised pedestrians, we reached Lock 4, in the heart of Georgetown. Todd locked up the kayaks, as you would a bicycle.
Minutes later, we emerged onto M Street – Todd in cut-offs, I in my workout clothes clutching a half-eaten quart of blueberries and a life vest. Not exactly what you wear to split the vegetarian sampler at Zed’s Ethiopian Cuisine. Damn…
So we went someplace else that I can’t mention because my new dietitian knows about this blog. (We had lunch at Zed’s the next day.)
Over dinner we concurred that paddling into Georgetown for dinner is exponentially better than driving in.
After perusing an art gallery, we raced the sunset “home,” paddling those 4½ miles like mad and stopping only to stare down an urban doe.
GUEST KAYAKERS: 3