Are you signing up to participate in The Grand Hike on Champlain Area Trails on May 3? Or maybe you’re just going to celebrate with those who cross the finish line at the block party in the Essex Inn Courtyard?
The Grand Hike begins at the Westport Hotel and Tavern at 9:00am with a breakfast available at 7:30 and check-in at 8:00. The route hikers travel will take them along 14 miles of beautiful CATS trails and back roads until they reach the Essex Inn on the Adirondack Coast. Participants are encouraged to walk as much or as little of the hike as they are able, and it is possible to begin or end at one of four “oases” along the trek. (See the full schedule at end.)
At the Essex Inn hikers and friends will join the block party from 5:00-8:00pm and enjoy local bluegrass music from the Wadhams Waddlers. Other activities will include: restorative yoga and chair massages provided by Lake Champlain Yoga & Wellness, face painting for the kids, food and drinks at the Essex Inn, a photo booth provided by Overtime Photography, and much more! Those who hike the whole route are entitled to a complimentary drink from the Essex Inn.
We hope that you’ll join in the block party whether you’re celebrating your own successful inn-to-inn adventure or the success of your friends and neighbors who tackled the hike. All are invited to participate. Learn more details about The Grand Hike on Champlain Area Trails.
“The creation of this walk is the fulfillment of a great stage in the dreams that the CATS founders envisioned for the region,” said Chris Maron, CATS executive director. “We’re looking forward to this springtime ramble that will link communities and connect people with nature and each other.”
Encouraging Community Connections and Tourism
What will this event and the inn-to-inn hike concept do for local communities? Creating these trails and encouraging their growth will ultimately strengthen the connections between communities in the Champlain Valley. Right now people of both Westport and Essex are working together to organize The Grand Hike, and that cooperation is creating and enforcing bonds between the two communities. The success of this event will inspire a repeat of this hike, treks between other communities, and other collaborative events.
Michelle Maron of Lake Champlain Yoga & Wellness is involved in this process and enthusiastically supports the collaboration. She says, “The Grand Inn to Inn Hike is such an energizing idea for this area that showcases our beauty on the trails and in the towns, and gets everyone working and moving together in ways that benefit the entire community!”
The CATS trails and the promotion of the inn-to-inn hike create a recreational activity that will draw more tourists to the Champlain Valley who will enjoy rambles through the wilderness with stops at local shops and sights connected by the trails. Inn-to-inn hiking has been popular elsewhere, even in Vermont, so why not here? It will provide another way to connect tourists with nature and support the hospitality industry and other businesses in our region—especially when they work together to offer special deals to those who partake in the hikes.
As George Davis, founder of the Essex on Lake Champlain Blog says, “The Grand Hike is exactly the kind of forward thinking, community initiative that we’ve been encouraging, celebrating and showcasing on the Essex blog. It marries multi-town, business and community collaboration with smart, strategic destination marketing. It leverages our rich natural resources in partnership with some of the most innovative and successful businesses and organizations in the Essex-Westport-Wadhams region. And most important? It’s going to be a blast!”
The trails that CATS is creating and maintaining are a treat for both residents and visitors to enjoy year-round. Their expansion will only increase the attractiveness of the Champlain Valley as a beautiful and adventurous place for all.
Register for CATS Grand Hike
There is still time to register for The Grand Hike! Everyone is welcome. The entrance fee is $5/individual or $10/family. The block party is free. You can pre-register here.
All who participate in The Grand Hike will receive a reusable eco-friendly bag with registration and 4×6 keepsake photo taken at the end of hike courtesy of Overtime Photography. Those who finish the hike will also earn a free cocktail at the Inn.
Parking is available in Westport at the Westport Hotel and Tavern and at the fairgrounds. There is also parking available in Essex. Park your car in Essex, meet in front of the Essex Inn, and take the free shuttle (provided by Pok-O-MaCready) to the Westport Hotel to begin the Hike, or leave your car in Westport and take the free shuttle back to your car at the end of the day.
For those who decide to begin the hike at an oasis, please meet a shuttle in front of the Essex Inn at the designated time below and the shuttle will bring you to the oasis to begin your adventure.
The Grand Hike Schedule
May 3, 2014
- 7:30 am – Breakfast becomes available at The Westport Hotel
- 7:30 am – Pok-O shuttle from Essex (meet at Ferry Parking Lot) to Westport for those who want breakfast
- 8:00 am – Pok-O shuttle from Essex (meet at Ferry Parking Lot) to Westport
- 8:00am – Registration and check-in for those pre-registered begins
- 8:30 am – Shuttle from Essex (Ferry Parking Lot) to Westport
- 9:00 am – Hike begins in Westport
- 10:00 am – Meeting time for those beginning hike at Oasis 1: Shuttle brings hikers from Essex Inn to Oases 1, returns to Essex with people who stop hiking there, shuttle also returns hikers to Westport
- 11:00 am – Meeting time for those beginning hike at Oasis 2: Shuttle brings hikers from Essex Inn to Oasis 2, return to Essex, shuttle also takes people back to Westport
- 1:00 pm – Meeting time for those beginning hike at Oasis 3: Shuttle brings hikers from Essex Inn to Oasis 3, return to Essex, shuttle also takes people back to Westport
- 4:00 pm – Meeting time for those beginning hike at Oasis 4: Shuttle brings hikers from Essex Inn to Oasis 4, return to Essex, shuttle also takes people back to Westport
- 4:30 pm – Shuttles from Oases 4 to Essex and Westport
- 5:00 – 8:00 pm – Block Party in The Essex Inn Courtyard
- 7:00 pm – Last shuttle from Essex back to Westport.
Please be patient because these times are organizer’s best estimates considering logistics and multiple participant paces. If you have any questions, please call 518-962-2287.
- Westport Hotel to Essex Inn: The Grand Hike on Champlain Area Trails (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)
- Bridging Champlain: A NY-VT Celebration (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)
- Essex-Charlotte Winter Ferry Crossing with Lea Coggio (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)
- Champlain Area Trails Contest Winners (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)