Bostonista Loves: Rowing in Vermont

1220642156 Sometimes we Bostonistas wander a little further north of Boston than Cambridge. this past Labor Day weekend, we explored Vermont’s Northern Kingdom where, tucked up close to the Canadian border, is the fabled Craftsbury Outdoor Center.

This rustic retreat sits on a long, narrow lake, surrounded by verdant farmland, and is the perfect place to explore the rarefied world of sculling. Craftsbury offers an intensive program for experienced rowers or newbies, so we signed up for the weekend course, and mentally prepared to get our butts kicked by a corps of rowing zealots.

Arriving on Friday afternoon, we hopped on rented mountain bikes and explored Craftsbury’s scenic back roads and then reported to the water’s edge for our first lesson: getting into a boat from the water. Our first day ended with Adirondack chairs around the campfire, mosquitoes, and staring at the stars.

Saturday started at 7 a.m., again on the dock. Like a fleet of insects, 40 of us launched our little boats and headed out onto the placid lake where the coaches corrected, tweaked, and cajoled us into looking like real scullers. We went out two more times that day, and by dinnertime, we felt like National Team champs—with sore butts, raw hands, and satisfyingly achy muscles to prove our dedication.

After a day like this, it’s hard to find a fork big enough to shovel the food in, and we went for seconds, then thirds, and wondered whether they’d run out of the brownies before we could grab one.

On Sunday morning, we slept in, which in hindsight was a bad idea. The second outing of the day, at 11 a.m., was windy and miserable. With that kind of chop, it was impossible for neophytes like us to look good on the water, and we knew that too much time out there would definitely end in an inadvertent dip. And so, we packed up and drove back to
Boston, where we could show off our new blisters, no doubt, the hottest fashion accessory of the season.

Craftsbury Outdoor Center, 535 Lost Nation Rd., Craftsbury Common, VT, 802-586-7767,