Planning Canoeing trip next weekend, suggestions?

I’m planning on taking a canoieng trip next weekend (fourth of july weekend) with my girlfriend, and I would like fellow doper’s opinions and recommendations.

Preferably I’m looking for some sort of outfitting service in NY and PA, something I can get to within a couple of hours from NYC and that will rent us the equipment and pick us up down river.

I’m also looking for lots of wild scenery, mountains, forests, calm water, wild life, etc. I really don’t want to be canoeing through heavily populated areas in other words, I don’t want to see houses, I want to feel like I’m in some remote wilderness area miles from civilization.

Minor white water is ok, but nothing scary, my SO probably wouldn’t like that. We’re also planning to take to ground somewhere along the way of the trip and have a light picnic (maybe even swim a little). Should be lots of fun, but I want to make sure we get something truly special in terms of scenery.

So far I’ve found the following two places which look really good, any of you outdoors enthusiasts have any suggestions or opinions on these places?

For bonus points and a cookie, what do you guys/gals suggest for a light picnic we can take in a small cooler? I was thinking along the lines of pasta salad and bruschetta.

Two words - mosquito repellant.

Not kidding here, I think I would have forgotten about that had you not just mentioned it. Adding it to the top of my list right now. ::scribbles on a of papaer::

Tie your icechest down to the canoe and put a bungee cord across the lid. It doesn’t take much to tip a canoe (and Tyler, too!) over, and your icechest will either get loose or spill. If taking camping gear (dry clothes, sleeping bag, etc.), double bag then in cinch top trash bag and put that in a duffle bag that is tied to the canoe. Even water splashing into the canoe will get that stuff wet. Those big Tupperware tubs work OK, but aren’t as easy to cram into an out of the way space.

Don’t want to sound doom and gloom, but neither of those suggestions will take much effort and will make the trip a LOT more enjoyable should your canoe take even a minor spill.

Go to Home Depot, buy the most comfortable pair of kneepads they stock and kneel in the canoe with your butt resting against the seat (the way God meant for 'ya to!) This drops the canoe’s center of gravity, puts your knees where you can control the rocking and puts your hips at the center of rotation. It will also put much more power in your stroke.

This was how I was taught as a kid, and the only time in years of canoeing that I flipped on calm water was when our group leader jumped from the bank onto a gunwhale and I didn’t see her coming. Canoes are stable watercraft (but I’d still secure everything.)

Beyond that, it would help if whoever is in the stern (or yourself, if you’re going solo) learned how to do a J-stroke, so that the paddlers don’t have to change sides to correct course. The “Inside Turn with J Stroke” (we called it a C-stroke) will help if you’re paddling solo from amidships, but I’d just paddle from the stern for flat water.