The snow is disappearing after a long, cold winter yet ski resorts are welcoming skiers for spring skiing. Mud season is at its mid-point. Crocuses are starting to pop up, and early daffodils making their presence known are great to see. NCAA brackets, torn asunder early on, have seen the champions. Baseball is in full swing and is now being played in somewhat warmer ballparks. The Masters will take us all to Augusta and pimento cheese sandwiches this week. All of this adds up to one thing: Spring has finally arrived. Soon we will be enjoying the broadest spread of our tourism season.

Last week, tourism was a focus at the State House at the Vermont Tourism Summit. Congratulations to Karen and Brian Zecchinelli, owners of the Wayside Restaurant, Bakery & Creamery, who received the Vermont Chamber of Commerce’s 2019 hospitality award for Best Restaurateur of the year! This award recognizes restaurateurs for their outstanding restaurant operations and management.

According to the Vermont Chamber, which presents the award, “Karen and Brian’s commitment to their staff, buying locally produced foods, the environment, community service and serving their valued customers has been unwavering at this iconic restaurant for over 20 years. Harriet and the late Eugene Galfetti entrusted their daughter and son-in-law to follow in their footsteps. Brian and Karen have carried it forward, now reaching 101 years, keeping the family traditions at The Wayside alive and well.”

More importantly, Harriet Galfetti, who, with Eugene, won the award in 1995, was heard to quip, “It’s about time!”

Maple sugar season welcomed the vernal equinox. Spring is the peak time for the maple sugaring season. Vermont has many maple sugar farms, but no one does it quite like our Central Vermont maple sugar masters. “Sugar on snow” was the first sign of warmer weather visitors trekking to our area.

The opportunities to enjoy the outdoors are virtually endless in Central Vermont.

Check out the covered bridges. Although the region is rich with these relics of an earlier time, they are most prominent in Northfield Falls. There are four covered bridges there, and unique to New England, two can be seen from one vantage point.

There are hiking trails throughout the region. From Camel’s Hump in Duxbury to White Rock Mountain in Middlesex, there are enough trails to challenge the most expert rambler. Think of the network at Millstone Trails in Barre or Skyline Trail in Plainfield. Head out and take a tramp through the country.

Perhaps you prefer to see the sights while touring on a bike. Central Vermont has some of the best biking terrain in the nation. Many of the trails offer varying degrees of difficulty. Get out there and enjoy the ride.

It may be a little early, but it will soon be time to get the camping gear out. Our great outdoors lends itself to some of the most pristine camping found in the United States.

No matter what you like to do, take it outdoors this spring. There are hundreds of venues and places to explore throughout Central Vermont. The Central Vermont Chamber has recently published an updated visitors’ guide that can help you map out activities for your family and guests. Our guide is free, and you can stop by our office any time to get yours, or if you prefer, check out the digital version at www.centralvt.com.

Spring is here; the warmer weather could not be more inviting or welcomed. Get out there and enjoy it.

William Moore is the president and CEO of the Central Vermont Chamber of Commerce.

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