Hidden Treasures: Northbrook Canoe Company

In what would appear to be more like central Pennsylvania than a suburb of Philadelphia, the Northbrook Canoe Company is nestled among windy back roads and small bridges along the Brandywine Creek in West Chester.

While sitting in a canoe for two hours with blisters forming on your wet hands from gripping an oar is not everyone’s ideal way to spend an afternoon, it is definitely something everyone should try at least once.

Yes, you will get wet and yes, it does seem long at times and your arms will probably get a little sore. Yet no matter how much discomfort you find yourself in, the memories you make are enough to make it worthwhile.

There are several experiences that will stay with you: splashing your friends with the oars, watching each other steer straight into a tree or even seeing your lunch float downstream once you have tipped.

Canoeing can also teach you a lot about communication and working together. Without both people rowing and doing their jobs, you will never reach your final destination, especially if you hope to stay dry.

If canoeing is not your thing, Northbrook also offers kayaking and tubing trips.

Most of all, canoeing is a great outlet to lose yourself in all the nature around you and truly relax. There really is nothing like gliding along peacefully through the smooth water, as long as you keep an eye out for rocks and branches.

The trip is somewhat of a cost; our group of five people, divided into two canoes, cost approximately $16 per person. Prices vary, with weekdays being cheaper, and of course, you can save yourself money by not losing any of the equipment along your journey.

Things not to bring:1. Electronics such as cell phones, cameras and MP3 players2. Food and drinks in a paper bag (make sure they are in a plastic or waterproof container)3. Flip flops and other slip on shoes-they may drift away should they come off your feet.

Things not to do:1. Do not attempt to go over the dam. However tempting it may be, the dam will win and you will fall in.2. Do not stand in the canoe for any reason. It will rock from side to side and then tip over.3. Do not remove your life jacket if you haven’t learned the fine art of swimming; a quick soak is inevitable.

Northbrook Canoe Company1810 Beagle Road, West Chester, Pa. Information compiled by Chelsea Zimmerman, Elaine Dube, Stephanie Weaver, Katy Baldwin and Alex Long.

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