May 9, 2005

Adirondack Guide Boats

Adirondack Guide BoatsYou'll likely find these Adirondack guide boats absolutely gorgeous — even if you happen to be without a convenient lake to hand.

Our own introduction to Adirondack guide boats came a few years ago upon meeting our soon-to-be new friends, Jim and Lynn Cameron. As Lynn explained it, "from 1840 until the advent of motorized transport," adventurous sportsmen, their families in tow, frequented that vast forest of upstate New York known today as Adirondack Park. The wild unknown-ness of this dense forest riddled with many lakes made an experienced guide with a boat a requirement."

Apparently little actual history remains of the origins of the Adirondack guide boats, which were sleek, sturdy and light enough to carry from lake to lake, bringing to mind history classes and stories of "portage" (the act of carrying; see the carrying yoke near the top of the picture). And, although guide boats are still in use today, suffice it to say that the making of "the real thing" appears to be a disappearing art.

Boathouse Woodworks

A notable exception comes from our friends, the Camerons. Make your way to their Boathouse Woodworks, nestled at the end of a small lake in the Adirondack Mountains. There you'll find Jim Cameron, a premier Adirondack guide boat builder and restorer of traditional wooden boats. You'll find no quick-construct kevlar materials here, or glue of any kind — but, rather, Adirondack guide boats of the quality of fine furniture made by hand in the traditional way with traditional materials. Indeed, we think you'll find the hand-caned seating a quite beautiful feature.

Of course, you'll be lucky enough to find Jim's wife, Lynn (who, we're told, "never cooks the same thing twice"), and to find yourself entranced as she waxes poetic about the smells of the boathouse, the digging of the spruce roots and the painstaking hand-crafting of real Adirondack guide boats. And you might also be tempted into a stay at their Ted's Cabin, an uniquely scenic and peaceful vacation retreat that is truly away from it all.


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2 Comments for "Adirondack Guide Boats"

  1. Jim Cameron says:

    Hello Diane,
    The ice is coming in tonight, Thanksgiving Eve. In spite of unseasonably warm Summer and Autumn, it is right on schedule. All boats are put up Thanksgiving Weekend and other means of getting to and fro replace them. But, sometime after the ice goes out in May, you are invited to visit Boathouse Woodworks. You've done a lot to promote these traditional craft. If you need a guide, I have a boat.

    Comment posted on 11/23/2005 @ 9:01 pm
  2. Editor says:

    That's awfully sweet, Jim, though I don't need if you need a big-city-loving Web geek up there in the will-der-ness. Unless, of course, we can get a satellite connection accessible from the yurt. Hmmm. <grin>

    Comment posted on 11/23/2005 @ 9:15 pm

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