The second Champlain Area Trails Travel Writing Contest has ended, and the winners were announced at the annual Celebrate CATS event which was hosted by Steven Kellogg at Blockhouse Farm in Essex, New York on Saturday, June 2.
The morning started with rain but gave way as the day worn on. By 4:00 pm when guests began to fill the tent overlooking Lake Champlain, the grass had dried and storm clouds had begun to rise. Although the sunshine never made it through, the afternoon was filled with excitement and optimism.
CATS Director Chris Maron debuted a new and improved trail map, offered an inspiring glimpse at the accomplishments of the last year and announced the winners of the contest. Guest speaker Brian Mann, the Adirondack Bureau Chief of North Country Public Radio, was introduced by CATS Board member Steven Kellogg. Mann extemporized about the unique work being undertaken by Champlain Area Trails, focusing on trails as literal and metaphorical connections and praised the young organizations ambitions and early success stories. After Mann’s inspiring words, guests enjoyed cocktails and delicious local food catered by Turtle Island Cafe.
And the Winner Is…
There were several strong essays, which made guest judge Brian Mann’s task challenging. In the end he chose “This Could Be Montmartre” by Elizabeth Lee of Westport, earning her the first-place prize of $500.
“I liked that it linked two incredibly disparate places in meaningful ways,” Mann explained. “Reading it will elevate the way people see things as they walk in both places.” When presenting Lee with her prize, Chris Maron, CATS Executive Director, told the attendees at its Celebrate Champlain Area Trails Event that Lee concluded her story by writing that “Montmartre, like Coon Mountain, is a landmark that both anchors us and watches over our daily errands, witnessing our troubles and our happiness.” (Champlain Area Trails)
People’s Choice Winner
Earning an impressive 148 online votes for her contest submission “Turtle Crossing”, the winner of the People’s Choice Award ($250 prize) was Jen Zahorchak of Essex. Her article describes relocating to their current home where turtles repeatedly cross the road. She features many local businesses and Lakeside School at Black Kettle Farm which her children attend. Her article concludes, “we came for the wilderness but stayed for the community.” (Champlain Area Trails)
More Champlain Area Trails Contests to Come
There will be more opportunities for others to share their Champlain Valley stories—and to win $500! If you missed your chance to enter this time, don’t worry because the next CATS Travel Writing Contest will be annoucned soon. While enjoying your summer remember to hike the Champlain Area Trails, visit local businesses and then write about your memorable adventures.
In case you haven’t had an opportunity to read these two winning essays enjoy all of the contest entries right now!
Photos from Champlain Area Event[flagallery gid=2 name=Gallery]