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Change in pace leads Florida women to outpost
The new owners of Florida's Nobleton Canoe Outpost hope to revitalize the canoeing business and get more people interested in recreation on the Withlacoochie river.
Adapted from article by Brittaney Kiefer - Times Correspondent
NOBLETON - Corinne Berry and Marsha Warner thought they'd found just what they were looking for when they saw the ad in the newpaper.
For Sale in Florida: the Nobleton Canoe Outpost.
'I'll always remember the day I saw the ad - it was Feb. 5, 2005," Berry said. "We were looking for a change in careers, and a change in pace."
Berry, a medical sales representative, and Warner, a teacher, were neighbors on Lake Eckles in Tampa and have been friends for nine years. Both have years of boating and canoeing experience and love the water, so they decided to visit the canoe outpost in Nobleton Florida.
Located on the Withlacoochee River about 12 miles northeast of Brooksville, the Nobleton Canoe Outpost immediately enchanted Berry and Warner.
"We saw its potential right away," Berry said.
On June 10, Berry and Warner bought the business and moved into their new home adjacent to the canoe outpost. They say they have big plans to revitalize the 15-year-old outpost.
Nobleton Canoe Outpost was opened by Bob Meers in 1990. For the past 10 years Meers, 78, has run the business with his son, Charlie. Last winter, they decided to sell.
"I really enjoyed working there, and everything worked good till I got up in years," Meers said. "When I wasn't able to help customers the way they needed to be helped, I knew it was time to sell."
Since moving in, Berry and Warner have been busy cleaning and renovating the outpost. They've replaced old canoes and have been fixing the trailers used to transport the canoes upriver.
"We want our customers to be happy, so we're taking the time to fix everything," Warner said.
People who come to the outpost can rent a canoe, kayak, bungalow or meeting room. Berry, Warner or one of the outpost employees drives customers to one of the campgrounds in the Withlacoochee State Forest. Customers then paddle down the river back to the outpost. Depending on which campground customers choose, trips can range from 5 to 16 miles. Paddlers also have the option of beginning their trip at the outpost.
The outpost currently has 120 canoes and 15 kayaks. Berry and Warner want to add to their inventory by purchasing more kayaks.
Berry and Warner also plan to reopen the concession stand that has been closed for three years. Within two months, they will open a small dining area, which will have inside and outside seating. The menu will include appetizers and maybe sandwiches.
The outpost rents a furnished bungalow for people looking for a longer vacation. The bungalow sleeps four and includes two bathrooms and a kitchenette.
Despite all of the additions they are planning, Berry and Warner said they will maintain the peaceful atmosphere that first drew them to the outpost.
"The outpost offers a unique experience for paddlers because it is so quiet, and there's a lot less boat traffic on the Withlacoochee River than there is on the Weeki Wachee," Warner said.
"We want our customers to enjoy the wilderness, the wildlife, and Florida canoing to the extreme," Berry said.
Business at the Outpost has been slow durning the summer, but Warner and Berry predict it will pick up once the thunderstorms stop and the weather cools down.
"We hope a lot of people will come out to the outpost and love it here as much as we do," Warner said. "To us, this is heaven."
Main Points of Interest:
Within an hours drive from Tampa, Orlando and Ocala
We cater to both families and adults.
We are pet friendly (dogs must have leashes).
Lodging on site.
Clean bathrooms and all the amenities in both bungalow and fifth wheel cabin.
We take all major credit cards.
Plenty of wildlife: egrets, alligators, bullfrogs, many varieties of turtles, tortoises, deer, raccoons, song birds, falcons, monarch butterflies and more. This is a secluded rural spot on the fourth largest river in Florida and there is MUCH wildlife here.
If your'e interested in canoeing in Bushnell Florida, go to Riverside RV Park - Nobleton Outpost is Closed at present, but all the canoes are right across the Withlacoochee River, less than a half a mile away.