Three months ago, Rick Dalton, owner of the Essex Inn, and Chris Maron, executive director of Champlain Area Trails (CATS), sat down to talk about creating an inn-to-inn hike that would be the first of its kind in the Adirondacks.
The hike would be on trails that CATS is creating to link communities, connect people with nature, and promote economic vitality in the Champlain Valley. They discussed how the hike would bring attention to the area and benefit the hospitality industry and other merchants in the Essex-Westport corridor.
“Inn-to-inn hiking is big in Europe and even across the lake in Vermont. Why not here?” said Dalton. “We have some of the most beautiful countryside in the world and gorgeous places for hikers to stay.”
During their initial conversation, Dalton and Maron identified a task force that could further the inn-to-inn concept. Building on last fall’s successful Wadhams to Essex hamlet-to-hamlet hike, they conceptualized and organized a new special event known as The Grand Hike.
“The hamlet to hamlet hike was fabulous,” said Maron. “Over sixty people came out on a beautiful fall day to hike from Wadhams to Essex. The inn-to-inn hike will build on that and help attract people to visit this area throughout the year to hike or ski on trails that connect our communities.”
The Grand Hike on Champlain Area Trails will take place on May 3, 2014! Beginning at the Westport Hotel and Tavern in Westport, NY with breakfast available, this 14-mile trek will take participants along CATS trails and back roads through the Champlain Valley’s picturesque landscape to Essex, NY where they can join in celebrations at the Essex Inn on the Adirondack Coast. Join in for all or just part of the hike—shuttles will whisk you back to Westport or on to Essex. You can pre-register now.
The Grand Hike: Journey and Block Party
Join your friends and participate in the first Springtime Ramble through the beautiful Champlain Valley from the Westport Hotel to the Essex Inn on CATS hamlet-to-hamlet trails. Beginning at 7:30am, breakfast will be available at the Westport Hotel. Registration begins at 8:00am, and those pre-registered can begin check-in at 8:30am. The walk will start at 9:00am. Park your car in Essex and take the free shuttle to the Westport Hotel to begin the Hike, or leave your car in Westport and take the shuttle back to your car at the end of the day.
While the entire walk is 14 miles, participants are encouraged to walk as much or as little as they would like. Along the route are four oases—spots to use porta potties, eat lunch, grab a snack, rest, or take a complimentary shuttle, provided by Pok-O-MacCready, back to your car or to the end location on Main Street in Essex, NY. The shuttles will also take hikers who parked in Westport back to their cars from Essex.
The length of The Grand Hike is itself adventurous but for those who feel even more so, the trek has one split juncture a little past the halfway point that will allow more physically fit hikers to travel through a more difficult section of woods (to the left) while an easier path can be continued on (to the right) for the rest. The two routes intersect at the north end of Leaning Road and continue for the final two miles into Essex. There will be volunteers at each oasis to direct participants along the correct path and maps will be provided.
The Grand Hike will end at the Essex Inn with a block party featuring the music of the Wadhams Waddlers. Other activities 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 photobooth provided by Overtime Photography, and much more!
Hope that you’ll join your friends and neighbors and share in the celebration. Everyone is welcome to attend the block party!
Register for The Grand Hike
The entrance fee is $5/individual or $10/family. 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 Jim Carroll of Overtime Photography. Those who finish the hike will also earn a free cocktail at the Inn.
You can pre-register here.
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.
See more about this event in the article: “CATS Grand Hike Promotes Region.”
- Essex Inn’s Room 12 Featured in Strictly Food for Thought (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)
- Westport moves revitalization plan forward (pressrepublican.com)
- Bridging Champlain: A NY-VT Celebration (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)
- Hiking Hamlet to Hamlet: Wadhams to Essex (adirondackalmanack.com)
- Hiking Hamlet to Hamlet: Wadhams to Essex (adirondackexplorer.org)
- CATS Grand Hike Promotes Region (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)