Family & History
Crab Apple is a three generation family business opened in 1983. Our family loves our rivers, our staff loves the adventure and the feeling is infectious on every trip. You will not find a group of people that are more friendly and genuinely excited about sharing a great experience than the crew at Crab Apple!
A bit of history:
In 1981, the Peabody family (Chuck, Sharyn, Jennifer (11), Robert (7) moved from suburban Boston to The Forks, Maine (population 30) to seek adventure and a new lifestyle. They bought an old farmhouse/inn called Crab Apple Acres Inn overlooking the Kennebec River and welcomed miners, loggers, hunters and fishermen. Chuck taught at a local high school for two years as well. It was a step back in time – gone was the above-ground swimming pool at the end of the cul-de-sac on the south shore of Massachusetts. Comfort and convenience was traded for a hand-driven ringer washing maching, no television for 5 years (many Red Sox, Bruins, Patriots, Celtics games were sadly missed) and a one room schoolhouse for the kids.
In 1983, Crab Apple Whitewater was born. Chuck had never been rafting so he took a training course from a local river guide who owned a leaky old raft. Chuck got the hang of it quickly and also fell in love with the Kennebec River. Early Crab Apple consisted of two rafts, an old van, the Inn and its most valuable asset, the Peabody family. Sharyn ran the office, prepared the food in the family kitchen and Chuck hired a small, dedicated guide staff. Jennifer also fell in love with the river and quickly became a competitive kayaker and the Crab Apple photographer. In the late 80’s, Robert followed as the company photographer and Jenn set out to open a new location on the Deerfield River in western Massachusetts.
The Deerfield River location flourished in the 90’s as water releases from two dams were secured and a wider variety of trips were added. Jenn married Frank and two boys (Ryan and Zachary) joined the family. In Maine, the 90’s were a period of growth that led to a large expansion to a beautiful new base camp and expanded lodging in 1997. Robert married Carrie, Courtney and Conner soon followed.
The 2000’s saw Crab Apple zoom to the top of New England rafting outfits by carrying 20-25,000 passengers each season and expanding river trip options. Chuck and Sharyn oversaw the growth from Maine as the second generation took on much of the day-to-day river operations and combined with the first generation to keep the Maine operation expanding into more amenities and paintball.
The 2010’s have seen the third generation fall in love with rafting and the positive, fulfilling atmosphere that comes from hosting great people on a wonderful river adventure. The feeling is contagious, infectious and permanent! Ryan and Zachary have become involved in summertime rafting as guide, photographer/videographer and livery workers on the Deerfield River. In Maine, grandchildren Courtney and Conner have practically grown up in the Crab Apple swimming pool and at the front desk greeting our awesome guests. Soon they will both be river guides!
Since 1983, Crab Apple Whitewater and our family have grown, but our philosophy has remained the same. We maintain a fun-loving, professional staff that work with our family to treat each guest as the most important guest of the year. We love what we do, our staff is psyched to be on the river every day and the attitude around Crab Apple is always positive.
Join us this season and become part of our growing family of rafters who know that Crab Apple Whitewater offers the finest service with a personal touch.
Chuck & Sharyn Peabody
Jennifer, Frank, Ryan & Zachary Mooney
Robert, Carrie, Courtney and Conner Peabody
A note on consolidation within the rafting industry: In the past decade or so, the owners of many of the original rafting companies on the East Coast have retired. They were the pioneers of rafting in Maine, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York, Massachusetts and other locations. These pioneers balanced their passion for running rivers with the risks associated with opening new rafting businesses when Adventure Tourism was in its infancy.
In the place of these grass roots organizations, many rafting companies are now controlled by outside entities – ski resorts, holding companies that bought out several outfitters in one area, etc. Can a Ski Resort with little or no rafting experience have the same passion for their rivers that the original owners and river pioneers possessed? Probably not. Crab Apple Whitewater remains a family business with three generations running the daily details and maintaining the personal focus and attention that has made Crab Apple special for nearly 40 years.