Dave Lennon, a long-time Norton resident, founded the Norton Kayak Company in 2008 so that he introduce others to kayaking and help locals appreciate the Norton Reservoir. He is also a parent, Tri-County Saints hockey coach, and outdoor enthusiast. We find Dave to be a knowledgeable, gracious, fun, and personable host who is great with kids–ours took to him immediately.
Norton Kayak Company offers a number of services to introduce kids and families to kayaking and fishing. During the summer, kayaking camp is wildly popular. Sessions they fill up quickly–we recommend checking his website in late April for information about sign ups. You can also arrange a kayaking birthday party, go on a guided fishing tour (the kayak and all gear are provided), or book an evening excursion for a relaxing paddle around the reservoir.
HOW TO GET THERE
237 Mansfield Ave
Norton, MA 02766
Parking is available in a small lot. Walk around to the back of the house to find Norton Kayak Company.
EXCURSION DESCRIPTION & MAP
After welcoming us warmly to Norton Kayak Company, Dave handed out life jackets. Then, he gave us a brief history of the reservoir. We won’t spoil the fun by giving away too much information, but the Rumford River feeds the reservoir, which does not provide drinking water. The reservoir is 530 acres and pretty shallow in most spots; in fact, you can see and even feel the bottom in most places we kayaked. The shallow water made us feel comfortable taking our 6, 8, and 9 year olds out on the water. After we learned about kayak safety, we practiced paddling. Dave held our kayaks steady for us, we got in, and we were off.
During our trip, we were accompanied by Dave and his assistant Andrew. We all had single kayaks, but Dave asked us if we wanted to attach tow ropes to the two kids that had never kayaked before. This way, they were able to practice their paddling while feeling confident they wouldn’t drift away. Dave and Andrew were great about untying and re-tying the kids as we went. Our excursion lasted a little over two hours. We circled most of the reservoir, exploring beautiful coves and islands. We saw numerous birds, which Dave identified for us. There are hawks, osprey, heron, swans, and even bald eagles around the reservoir!
As we finished up, the sun was starting to set. The lighting was absolutely breathtaking and the water sparkled. The kids were tired, but content. They loved the experience, and, as parents, we loved the fact that the kids were far enough apart in the kayaks that it kept them from bickering and putting their hands on each other! That’s a win! 😉 This was Amy and family’s second time going out with Norton Kayak Company and Jim and family’s first trip. We had such a good time that we already know this will become a family tradition!
Rated on a scale of 1 (difficult/not good) to 5 (easy/awesome!)
P – Parking & Access – 3 (There is a lot with plenty of spaces.)
I – Interest Level – 5 (Kayaking itself kept the kids’ interest because they had to pay attention to navigate and stay with the group. They certainly were not bored and had smiles on their faces the whole time! Dave also showed us fresh-water muscles and pointed out all the birds. Last year we went later in the season, and Dave showed us where to find a few blueberries on one of the islands!)
N – Navigation – 5 (Well, it’s a guided tour…so no worries here!)
T – Terrain (or in this case, the roughness of the water!) – 5 (The reservoir is relatively calm and quiet. While motor boats are allowed, every boat we came across was anchored so people could fish. We love that the water is shallow around the perimeter, and although the wind was blowing during our visit, it was not a challenge that our rising third grader couldn’t handle on his own.)
The P.I.N.T. Score represents our opinions of this trail. It reflects our experience, perception, and physical health. Therefore, the scores are not intended to be expert advice, nor will they be accurate for everyone: we cannot judge what may or may not be appropriate for each individual’s different abilities. Consult a physician or medical expert before attempting any new physical activity. Hiking contains inherent hazards, so hike at your own risk. You should always make your own decisions about what level of physical activity is appropriate for you and your family. Weather and other factors may affect trail conditions. Remember, trail conditions may change suddenly and drastically at any time.
For a really quick adventure, check out King Philip’s Cave. We don’t think this site merits a trip on its own, but if you’re in the area and you like local history, it’s a quick hit. For ice cream after your kayaking excursion, don’t miss Flannel Cow Creamery in Mansfield Center. They have special, limited-time flavors that are incredible. When we went, they were featuring Purple Zebra, which was black raspberry ice cream with Oreos and white chocolate chips. We had it in one of their oversized waffle cones, and it was sooooo delicious. For a craft beer afterward, try Bog Iron Brewing.
Some of Dave’s recommendations are Moose Hill in Sharon and Joe’s Rock in Wrentham for hiking and Langwater Farm and Ward’s Berry Farm for berry picking. If you need a recommendation for anything else in the area, just ask Dave! He’s a wealth of information!
Full Disclosure: Norton Kayak Company did not charge us for this excursion, but our opinions are our own, We were fans of Norton Kayak Company before this trip, and we cannot say enough good things about Dave and his company!