Kayak shop offers tours of the Blackwater

Published 9:58 am Wednesday, May 4, 2011

FRANKLIN—A new downtown business offers a way to take in nature one stroke at a time.

Barry and Toni Nolf, managing partners of Blackwater Outfitters and Nottoway River Guides in downtown Franklin, with son Jacob. -- DALE LIESCH | TIDEWATER NEWS

Blackwater Outfitters and Nottoway River Guides rents kayaks and canoes and offers guided and unguided river tours.

Avid kayaker Barry Nolf and his wife, Toni, opened the business after a foray into the building industry.

“Business has been encouraging,” Barry Nolf said. “We’ve had a lot of rentals and numerous tours. It’s everything we could have hoped for.”

Bobby Tyler owns the building near the banks of the Blackwater River, and Marshall Rabil helps put the tours together.

A guided tour consists of a trip down either the Blackwater or Nottoway River to check out wildlife and talk about the history of the river. Tours almost always include lunch. Guided tours range from $30 to $49.

The shop also offers self-guided tours, which allows a customer to travel an 8½-mile length of the Blackwater River from Joyner’s Bridge to downtown Franklin. Nolf said the tour takes three to five hours.

They would like to start putting together overnight camping trips on the river as well.

Kayak rentals cost $18 for two hours, $22 for a half day and $35 for a full day. Canoe rentals are $29 for a half day and $44 for a full day.

The shop also sells hats, T-shirts, backpacking gear and sweatshirts.

Blackwater Outfitters will offer classes for novice paddlers and also participates in Kid College at Paul D. Camp Community College.