Area businesses get behind CATS Grand Inn-to-Inn Hike

— The business communities in Westport and Essex see potential benefits coming from the upcoming Grand Inn-to-Inn Hike on Saturday May 3. The 14-mile excursion will be on CATS hiking trails and scenic back roads from the Westport Hotel and Tavern to the Essex Inn where there will be a “block party” celebration featuring the Wadhams Waddlers band, restorative yoga and chair massage provided by Lake Champlain Yoga & Wellness, and a photo booth to commemorate the event.

Emily Phillips, co-chair of the Committee for Economic Vitality in Essex, said, “This hike is a great opportunity to bring attention to our area. It is right before the summer season so people will hear about the hike and look for opportunities to use CATS trails to see our beautiful landscape and then patronize local businesses.”

Dee Carroll, president of the Westport Chamber of Commerce, added, “It is inspiring to see the Westport Hotel and Essex Inn join with CATS and others to develop this hike. It is a big step in creating more events like this to attract outdoor enthusiasts to our area instead of just passing through on their way to the High Peaks. I look toward a future when there will be winter hamlet-to-hamlet ski or snowshoe events to make a more year-round tourist economy.”

The hike starts at 9 a.m. at the Westport Hotel where breakfast is available at 7:30 and check-in begins at 8. Participants can park there or in Essex where a free shuttle will take them to Westport. The block party begins at 5 in the Essex Inn courtyard. People can hike the whole route, join at designated “oases,” or stop at the oases and ride the shuttle, provided by Pok-O-MacCready Camps, back to their cars. Everyone is welcome for the hike and block party, which non-hikers can attend. There is a registration fee of $5/person or $10/family for the hike. The block party is free and open to all. To preregister go to the CATS website ChamplainAreaTrails.com or call 518-962-2287.

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