On the Connecticut River near the Canadian border in early June, the water is crisp and high on its banks. Packed with fishing gear, tents and other camping supplies, our cedar canoe eases its way south with the current as an eagle soars effortlessly above.
There are no engines here, no whiffs of gasoline or oil, and no rush to get anywhere fast. Just clean air, fresh water and a spirit of the outdoors that harks back to when Native American Indians and early settlers navigated the land's vast network of lakes, rivers and streams. It is a spirit based on tradition, simple pleasures and natural beauty. No motorboat nor Jet Ski belongs here. It's the place for a wooden canoe.
American Traders, of Greenfield, Massachusetts, knows the spirit, and for the last 20 years, the company has dedicated itself to the tradition of wooden canoes, while subtly incorporating modern innovation. Today, it is the largest builder of wood canoes in the world. A look through its catalog or a browse through its showroom and you,ll begin to see why.
American Traders offers canoes in a variety of sizes and styles for the avid outdoorsman or the recreational weekend user. There's the Skylark ($3,700, shown here), a square-stern canoe that can hold up to three people, or the Huron 17 ($2,915), a 17-foot recreational canoe built wide and stable with both the fisherman and a family in mind. There's also a selection of downriver canoes, such as the Algonquin ($2,870) and the Atkinson Traveler ($2,850), which are designed for longer journeys down rock-filled rivers.
All of American Traders canoes are made in Canada using high-quality red or white cedar and require as many as 100 hours of work. Canoes feature a wood-epoxy hull or a traditional wood-
canvas covering, the former using an invisible glass-fiber cloth for strength and durability and the latter a canvas for more flexibility, which allows the boat to better absorb the impact of rocks.
Whichever canoe you choose, for fishing, camping or a tranquil trip on the lake, American Traders canoes will bring you back in touch with the great outdoors and the spirit of the land.