In November 2011 I took advantage of a relatively warm and calm day to take a late-season kayak trip down the Jones River in Kingston, Massachusetts. The Jones flows for approximately 7  miles from its source in Silver Lake to Kingston Bay, between Duxbury and Plymouth Bays, and it has an interesting history.

Chart of the lower Jones River.

In the 1700s and 1800s, the river served as an important shipbuilding center where large whalers, traders and fishing vessels were constructed. Later, it served as home to the Shiverick Shipyard and the Mackenzie Company, builders of the iconic New England bass boat.

An early powerboat rests on the marine railway at the Jones River Landing. Photo\Kingston Public Library.

These last 2 operations were located at the Jones River Landing, now part of the Jones River Landing Environmental Heritage Center. One of the Center’s goals is connecting the local community to the historic waterway that flows through its heart, which it does through various boatbuilding programs, lectures and events.

To see a video on the Center and its programs, CLICK HERE.

The Jones River Landing Envrionmental Heritage Center occupies buildings once used by the Mackenzie and Shiverick yards.

The Center also provides river access to its members. For $50 a year, members can park onsite and use the Center’s small ramp and dock for launching of canoes and kayaks. It’s money well spent, and supports a good cause.

From the landing it’s an easy paddle to the river mouth, some 1.5 miles downstream through scenic marshes. And if you go during the off-season, like I did, you’re not likely to see another person on the river.

Wildlife is abundant on the river.

Of course, always use caution when paddling in cold weather and cold water. Wear a PFD and carry the proper safety equipment, and don’t venture far from shore. Also, keep a close eye on the weather, as it can change quickly in the spring and fall. For more cold-weather paddling tips and advice on equipment, see BoatingLocal’s article and video with Ed Duggan of the Kayak Learning Center in Salem, Massachusetts by CLICKING HERE.

SAT map of Jones River.


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