My husband, Morgen, and I bought a country house in Northwestern Connecticut. I wanted to get a canoe, specifically a basic plastic or Kevlar one that we didn’t have to be precious about – my husband is also an architect and is meticulous and I didn’t want canoeing to be a stressful experience.
He asked around and found out that our neighbor, Schuyler Thomson, owner of Thomson Canoeworks, restores Old Town wooden canvas canoes and suggested we take a look. I didn’t even want to see them, because I knew we’d love them and that didn’t fit into my ‘it’s okay to hit a rock’ narrative. He talked me into just looking because it would be interesting to meet the neighbor and see the shop where he also builds new wooden canoes, even if we weren’t planning to leave with one.
Once there, of course, we quickly decided we had to have a wooden and canvas canoe, but being architects, none of them were just right. We liked the color of this one, but the shape of that one, and so on. After a lot of vexing, we asked him to build us a new one. Wisely, he suggested we build it ourselves with his assistance.
That was the start of a productive and truly memorable winter project. On our weekends in Connecticut, we would trudge through the snow to his cozy shop with its wood-burning stove, listen to the radio, chat with Schuyler, and work on the canoe. We got to do all of the fun parts, and he’d fill in some of the blanks between our visits (like the additional 6 coats of epoxy and sanding).