Launched from the town of Essex on the west side of the CT river. The boat launch is next to the marina downtown (see directions section below).
Headed north into a shallow cove and turned left into the Falls River. You must stay to the left of the white polls or else you will run aground. Give way to slow moving power boats. Nice views of large homes on the shore, Blue Herons and White Egrets (I think). The river is relatively short and winding, a very nice paddle.
Headed back and cut through a small opening at the north end of a small island. Turned north to cross the CT river. You must do this quickly because of boat traffic on the river. The day we went, it was quite because of overcast weather. We are on the east shore now heading north. Stopped at a very small beach for lunch just south of Hamburg cove. Headed up river and turned right into Hamburg Cove.
This is a fantastic place to paddle. Very quiet water and well protected from the wind. We passed through two marina's and enjoyed viewing the shore line and various hawks in the area. Going farther into the cove, stay to the right and go under a low road bridge and explore a small area. Continue farther and go under an even lower bridge which is rt 156. This will take you to the end of the water or at least the end of what you can paddle. Head back under the two bridges and turn right to continue up the cove. We went around an island and under a cement bridge under Joshuatown Rd. You are now in a narrow river. Keep going upstream, the current was very weak and easy to paddle in a 17 foot kayak. You can continue around several bends in the river until you reach a stream that feeds the river from the right. You can't go any farther. This is a great place to eat because you are in still water with over hanging trees. There is a summer cottage on the right with friendly occupants. The ride back is easier because a weak current pushes you along.
We stopped at the same beach on the way back to rest then headed back across the river. Continued south and took a right around the island and through the large marina in downtown Essex. The whole trip took about 4.5 hours. We took our time going out and sped up a bit coming back. I would do it again. Hamburg cove is a VERY nice paddle, especially when you explore under the bridges and up the river to the end.
We ate dinner at the Black Seal restaurant in town. A nice place for sandwiches and fish and chips. Most meals are $12 and under.
From Exit 3 (off route 9), go to stop light and go east on West Avenue in to Essex Center - to the rotary at the head of Main Street and then go north (left) on North Main Street for 1 short block and turn right onto Bushnell Street. Just before entering the Dauntless Boat Yard there is a dirt road to the left, leading a short distance to the boat launch and parking area.