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Castner wins Champlain Area Trails travel writing contest

— At the beginning of the Champlain Area Trails “Welcome to Winter Hike,” Paula Castner, of Lancaster, Massachusetts, was awarded the $500 first place prize in the CATS Travel Writing Contest. 

Castner, whose husband’s family has long-time ties to the area, describes herself as a, “comfort-loving, city-bred gal.”  But after six summers visiting the Champlain Valley, she’s “converted.”  

Her essay described hiking the Wildway Overlook Trail in Essex, visiting museums and parks, going to church and the Elizabethtown Library, and getting food at the farmers’ market and local restaurants.  

“I just wanted people to walk with me as I went to all these great places,” she says.

High school freshman Julia Dixon of Lake Forest, Ill., won the $250 People’s Choice Award with 158 votes online. The 14-year-old has been spending summers at her grandparents in Westport. She wrote of hiking Coon Mountain, visiting Dogwood Bakery, and how much she loves coming here. 

“We are so pleased to see the number of entrees and people visiting our website to read the articles,” said Chris Maron, Executive Director of CATS. “These contests have been a great success in promoting year-round economic vitality in Champlain Valley communities.”

Readers can see read both essays—as well as the other top entries at www.champlainareatrails.com/contest.html.

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