If you're not really the outdoorsy type, walking through the L.L. Bean store can make you feel like a bit of a hypocrite -- bypassing the kayaks and fishing rods in favor of the ice cream balls and monogrammed totes.
If any of this sounds a little too familiar to you, here's a way to get some real 'trail-cred' without committing yourself to the weekend warrior lifestyle.
The L.L. Bean store at Colonie Center is offering $15 Walk-On Adventures (or what I like to call "Nature for Dummies") on Saturdays and Sundays for the rest of the summer. Here you can try your hand at kayaking or fly casting with the benefit of some really knowledgeable and patient instructors who are used to the more, let's say, casual outdoorsman.
Since I had no idea what fly casting was (I actually had to look it up...you don't want to know what I was imagining), I chose the kayaking option. You can sign up for the 'adventure' you want at the 'Walk-On Adventure' kiosk located at the front entrance of the L.L. Bean store. From there you fill out some paperwork, pay your $15 bucks, and wait for the fun to begin.
An L.L. Bean shuttle picks you up at the store and transports you to the 6-Mile Waterworks, part of the Albany Pine Bush Preserve. Once there, the instructors give you some brief safety and technical instructions, get you suited up in your life vest and water-shoes, and then you are off paddling in a colorful kayak on the placid waters of Rensselaer Lake (which can be seen from the less placid I-87 on-ramp).
The courses are great for individuals and families with children over the age of eight, and the best part is that no previous experience is needed. Even if you do have experience, it's still a great (and cheap) place to get out on the water and paddle around for an hour and a half with no strings attached. And who knows, after this first lesson you might even make a hobby out of it. I am guessing that's exactly what Leon Leonwood Bean & Co. are hoping for.
For schedules and more information you can check out the L.L Bean walk on adventures web page.
Dawn is the author of Small-bany, a great blog about stuff to do for kids and parents.
Albany, NY 12205
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