If you love to eat and want to experience the U.S. National Whitewater Center in possibly the most relaxing way possible, check out their Paddle to Table experience.
Paddle to Table is a flatwater paddle tour on the Catawba River at sunset followed by a three-course outdoor dinner at the Whitewater Center.
The experience costs $55 per person which includes your choice of flatwater kayak or paddle board, the guided tour and dinner (beer and wine cost extra and are available for purchase).
There are five more sessions in 2019 — July 10, August 7, August 16, September 4, and September 27. These sell out, so book in advance.
The Paddle to Table experience
When you arrive around 6 p.m., head to the Kayak Center to check in and choose your mode of transportation. I went with the kayak, because there is absolutely no way I would survive a paddle board ride without falling off.
You’ll be paired with a tour guide and a small group of other attendees. We were lucky enough to be led by Don, a fifth generation Charlottean who has incredible knowledge about his hometown. From the moment he introduced himself, he began feeding us with history about the Whitewater Center and the city (which I won’t give away here in case you meet Don, too.)
After securing lifejackets, we took a short walk to the Flatwater Dock to grab our vessels and enter the water.
We then cruised around the Catawba River (fun fact, we actually entered on Lake Wylie) while listening to Don teach us a few tips and tricks and continue his Charlotte lesson. The weather was absolutely perfect, and we were out on the water for about an hour.
After docking, we walked up to a pavilion where the table was set for dinner. The night’s menu, curated by Chef Montae, consisted of coconut shrimp with Thai chili sauce, shaking beef with rice, quinoa and pickled carrots and three-berry shortcake for dessert. Here are the menus for each session.
Advice: I brought my phone along to capture the experience for you all, but I highly recommend disconnecting. You’ll eliminate any risk of drowning your device and be able to fully appreciate your surroundings. Also, whether you fall in or not, you’re gonna get wet. If you kayak, water will enter the kayak as soon as you hit the river, and I splashed myself every time I used my paddle. So, yeah, bring a change of clothes. And get your phone ready for a photo of the sunset. We exited the water before the magic happened, but I snuck away to grab a shot over the main concourse.
Related Agenda guide: 50 best outdoor activities within 2 hours of Charlotte