Historical Roots, Lowell Boat Shop

Lowell’s Boat Shop preserves the art of handcrafting skiffs in Amesbury.

At the edge of the mighty Merrimack in Amesbury, where a small bend in the river makes the water seem almost like a harbor before rushing out of sight toward Newburyport and the Atlantic Ocean, sits Lowell’s Boat Shop. The river sparkles in the soft spring sunlight, providing a striking blue backdrop against the red shop. A wooden skiff, seemingly plucked from a Winslow Homer painting, bobs in the water.

Any sense of being part of a placid painting is erased the moment you step through the shop’s narrow wooden door. Inside, the place is alive, heaving with the sounds of sanding, hammering, and pounding, exhaling sawdust and the smell of cedar.

“When you come here, this place attacks all of your senses, and that would include your heart, in my case,” says Pamela Bates, executive director of Lowell’s Boat Shop.

Lowell’s has been building wooden boats since Simeon Lowell established the shop in 1793, making it the oldest continually operating boat shop in the country. It is credited with introducing the Surf Dory in the late 1700s and the Banks Dory in the 1800s. Bates says the Banks Dory revolutionized the fishing industry by allowing fishermen to stack multiple boats on the deck of a schooner and launch them all at once, rather than going out one by one in individual boats.

Today, Lowell’s is a National Historic Landmark and a nonprofit working museum. But don’t let those distinctions fool you; Lowell’s might not be cranking out over 2,000 dories like it did in 1911, but it is still an operating shop, building custom dories and skiffs for people around the country. The place is heavy with history, yet the past and present live side by side. The tools have changed over the centuries and the techniques have been refined, yet the end result is still the same: handcrafted wooden boats that are the gold standard in the industry.

“Lowell’s is to wooden boats as Hermes is to handbags,” Bates says. “We make the highest quality wooden boats that you can buy.”

Taste Buds Kitchen Summer Camps

Summer & Holiday Cooking Camps

From week-long camps to single-day adventures, our kitchen is always active with opportunities for budding chefs. When school is closed, we are open!

A new and unique menu is offered each week. Space pending, week-long camps will open for single day registrations three weeks prior.

Every day we make two to three recipes – always one savory and one sweet – while whipping up batches of fun. Younger chefs focus on the basics along with kitchen games while the older camps tackle advanced techniques and culinary challenges. Professional Culinary Instructors and Kid Experts lead the way for a camp your budding chef won’t soon forget! A TBK apron is included for each full-week camper as well as flexible drop-off from 8:30-9:00am for a small fee. Children ages 10+ can apply to be a Counselor-In-Training for a full day experience, learn more. In Massachusetts we are operating an educational summer program and not a recreational camp; therefore we are not licensed by local Boards of Health/Health Departments in the cities or towns where these programs are located.

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