Contoocook Canoe named New Hampshire's Best Urban Escape

Early this month, we received a letter in the mail letting us know we had been voted by Yankee Magazine as New Hampshire's BEST URBAN ESCAPE. We are humbled and incredibly grateful for the recognition.

We also agree, wholeheartedly. Not because it's us, but because a day on the river is the perfect escape from the daily grind. It's like water is the secret to a life well lived. Perhaps it is.

The writeup goes as follows:

Just 6.5 miles from the golden gleam of the State House dome, a broad lawn sweeps down to the banks of the Contoocook River. Bright kayaks sit stacked like chili peppers beside canoes and stand-up paddleboards at Patrick and Lisa Malfait’s family-owned business. But it’s the wide expanse of water that inspires you to ease that rental vessel into the river. You can take a nine-mile paddle (they’ll shuttle you to Contoocook Village) and steer your boat through Concord’s Lehtinen Park, or a shorter jaunt upriver to Daisy Beach.

We are the Malfait family and own and operate our family business, Contooccok River Canoe Company. We are incredibly proud that it has done well. At the end of the day though, as a husband and wife team one of our greatest joys has been sharing the summers with the kids as they have worked in business from a young age. 

We started Contoocook River Canoe in 1997, 19 years ago. Like most business ideas it began as what we thought was a crazy idea. A little younger then, we decided to muster up the gumption to see if we could make canoe rentals work. Each year, folks from the immediate area have continued to come back for summer fun on the river. As the years melted away, our business became a destination for folks travelling through. In just under two decades, it's safe to say that our original idea grew into a business that we wouldn't have predicted.

From rentals, guided trips, instruction, retail sales to weddings - we've have done it all and seen it all. We now have one of the largest demo days in New England, where our customers can try first hand all of the products we offer before they buy a boat. This year, we're even co-hosting a fishing derby!

So what does our family have to say about the award? 

I have a deep love of the state of New Hampshire, the Contoocook River and paddling. I can’t imagine a better combination and am very excited that the love of our little urban escape continues to not only stay relevant but to grow more popular with our customers each year.
— Pat
We’re a family business and it’s really been fun to have the whole family together working through the summers.
— Lisa
It’s neat to see so many families spending time on the river together.
— Jess
Spending your summers by the water, helping folks get out themselves is pretty much the best.
— Ryan

Urban escape is a pretty neat title, but the team has always known that they were a great resource for the community. Rentals are affordable and a great way to get out and enjoy the local waterways and if you own your own boat, you can launch from there beach on the Contoocook for a mere $3.

Thank you to everyone who has continued to make Contoocook River Canoe Co. the Urban Escape that it is.

Now, is it time to paddle yet?

The Malfait Family. From left to right: Pat, Ryan, Jess and Lisa

The Malfait Family. From left to right: Pat, Ryan, Jess and Lisa