Fifteen years ago we moved to South Carolina from elk country, where Alycia was born and most of my family lives. This past month, we had a trip back home to Pennsylvania planned to visit family and do some camping at Sinnemahoning State Park. Knowing the path we would be taking to get there, I was perusing Craigslist for those areas looking for anything interesting. On the State College, P.A. pages I happened across a 1950 Old Town wood/canvas canoe listed at a fair price. The canoe looked to be in very good condition and upon further inspection was actually located in Ridgway (where Alycia lived most of her life). Actually, the street address listed was just down the road a few blocks from our good friends, Joey and Matt. It was still a few months until we headed north, so I e-mailed myself the link so I could keep an eye on it.
I have always wanted a wood/canvas canoe for their historic nostalgia and awesome design. After a few weeks of checking in on the canoe, one day the listing was gone. I had shared the listing with Alycia previously and after it disappeared, I mentioned to her that it must have sold. With her excellent research skills, she was able to find the listing on the Rochester Craigslist page. I was again happy to see that it was still available. About two weeks before we left for P.A., I emailed the seller to see if it was still available and if we would be able to take a look at it while we were in the area. Later that day, I received a reply from the seller stating that it had sold the day before. Just my luck that I keep track of something for months, only to have it sell just before I’m able to look at/purchase it. Oh well, I was still excited for our trip because we were actually stopping in Marysville, P.A. to take delivery on the Nova Craft Prospector 18 that we had purchased from Blue Mountain Outfitters (more on that in my next post).
We made our way to Sinnemahoning State Park in Austin, P.A. and set up camp. Our friends from Ridgway, Joey and Matt, surprised us the day after we arrived, having reserved the site right next to ours for the week. It rained most of the time we were there, but with the good company, we persevered. One day, since rain was once again forecast, we decided to head to Ridgway so we could visit with Joey’s Mom and get some pizza at the local pizza shop. After spending some time with Momma Bev, we headed for lunch. Joey asked if we could stop down the street to pick something up at a friend’s house. She told me which side street to pull in at as Alycia and I sat waiting for her and Matt to return. A moment later she returned, asking if I could help Matt carry something. As we rounded the front of the house I realized we were at a familiar address – an address where someone for two months had been selling a 1950 Old Town Guide 18 wood/canvas canoe. But not just any canoe… a canoe that had been sold just the day before I had contacted the seller about it. A canoe that was being gifted to someone as a 42nd birthday present by two wonderful friends and an awesome wife. A canoe that now lives on our dining room table until a proper storage rack can be built because those wonderful friends and awesome wife are my wonderful friends and awesome wife! I excitedly carried my 1950 Old Town Guide 18 to the Suburban and began strapping my new/old canoe to the rack, smiling from ear to ear. What a surprise it was! Now, to find a way to carry two canoes which are mid-30’s inches wide on a 65-inch wide rack from Pennsylvania back to South Carolina? I was definitely determined to find a way, but that’s another story.
Thank you so much to my beautiful wife Alycia and our great friends, Joey and Matt for the surprise of a lifetime.
I am honored to own such a classic canoe and am blessed to have such great friends in my life. Until next time, paddle true to paddle through.
4 thoughts on “How I Came to Own a 1950 Wood/Canvas Canoe for My 42nd Birthday”
What an awesome wife and friends you have.
Alycia, Matt, and I had such fun plotting out our little surprise! Let Matt and I know when it’s no longer living on your dining room table so we can come visit and paddle a bit. 😉
ugh, I mean Matt and ME! Let Matt & me know! (ugh, I couldn’t just let this go. ha!)
That was an awesome story! You have great friends and a wonderful wife, not to mention a classic canoe!!! 👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻