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How to have a magical “canoe” breakfast anytime

By The Aloha Team

Three campers in a canoe smiling on the lake.

Canoe breakfasts are a beloved tradition at Hive.  While we seem to be the only folks doing it, I’d love for everyone to have the opportunity.  It doesn’t take a lot of imagination to know that it involves eating breakfast in a canoe.  But describing a canoe breakfast doesn’t quite do justice to what we get out of it.

How do you go on a canoe breakfast at Hive?  Make a plan with your tent family, reserve a slot for the day you like, and submit a food requisition. On the appointed day, you go down the hill early in the morning and swing by the Trip Kitchen to collect your food, bowls and spoons. At the Boathouse, sign in, remove your shoes, put on a PFD (life vest) and find a paddle that fits you.  Figure out how to maneuver a canoe into the water, fill it with people (don’t forget the food), and start paddling toward the swim area.

When you arrive in a spot that seems good, stow your paddles and start passing the food around.  If you are inspired, you could shout “Aloooo-HA” toward the dining room, or even start the birthday song.  Start passing the food around.  You’ll probably find cereal and milk, a piece of fruit, some juice and a donut in your bag. You might tie a few canoes to each other and float around together — extra bonus points for passing food across canoes without spilling.  And at some point you’ll have the realization that you are eating breakfast IN THE MIDDLE OF THE LAKE!  Then you paddle back, clean the donut crumbs and spilled milk from the bottom of the canoe, put the gear back and deal with the trash, then go sign up for activities.

Here are some things that might happen:  there is an incredible mist on the lake that you get to glide through as you paddle through the still water;  the person in the stern can’t steer very well;  you get to see some loons or water skimmers up close; there are two glazed donuts, a plain and powdered, but everyone wants the powdered;  you get inspired by the dining room songs to sing some of your own;  it’s raining.  And this is where the magic comes in.  If it’s all going smoothly, hurrah!  You can enjoy a Nature Moment and a fun time.  If there are some challenges, you can work it out.  Maybe you split the donut, play rock-paper-scissors, or horse and goggle for it.  Maybe you decide to make a “canoe” out of benches in the Comb (our assembly hall at Hive), and eat picnic-style instead of getting drenched.

I went on my first canoe breakfasts as a camper many years ago.  I went with my tent and shack families as a counselor.  In my current role at camp I don’t have my own tent family, but I still love to go on canoe breakfasts. And every time, I feel lucky to eat breakfast in a canoe in the middle of the lake.

Unfortunately, we have neither a lake nor a canoe at my house, but I could still start the day with something more fun than my usual breakfast, and invite my family or friends to join me for a meal outside.  Sure, the grass might be wet, one of us might be grouchy, or I might wish we could make a donut appear out of thin air.  It doesn’t have to be perfect, but it just might be magical anyway.


Recipe for a “canoe” breakfast anytime


  • 1 or more family members or friends
  • Something delicious and portable to eat and drink (donuts are always good)
  • Ideally: A canoe, paddles, PFDs, and a body of water. Alternatively: A special place to sit (outdoors is preferable but a seat by a window or even a blanket on the floor will work)


  1. Wake up earlier than usual when it is still quiet (maybe even early enough to watch the sunrise).
  2. Gather all ingredients in your special place.
  3. Sit for a moment and just listen to the sounds of nature or your neighborhood waking up or anything else that you hear.
  4. Enjoy your delicious treats with healthy portions of love, laughter, and conversation.
  5. Take time to appreciate the morning before heading into your day.
  6. Repeat as often as desired.