Why Canoes Are the Quintessential Vehicle for Escape

From Postwar 'Canoedling' to Unplugging from Our Smart Phones, the Timeless Boat Takes Us Back to Simpler Days

A canoe is like a banjo—it makes everyone happy. Propelled with paddles, sleek, long, narrow, lightweight—mostly open—and fast: Every canoe I’ve owned makes me smile at its memory. I remember my oldest daughter, at age 10, mimicking the cry of a loon, and the loon crying back, while on a Boundary Waters trip. Or that one big fish that one time in that one hole whose location I’m never going to disclose because then it won’t be my memory alone.

Originally, canoes were made from trees nearby the rivers, …