kingdomexperiences

Best Breakfast in the Kingdom – Travel Guide Vol. 1

Kingdom Experiences, Mountain Bike Skill Camps and Tours in Vermont

By: Caitlin Daulong

Our first travel guide seeks to answer a question that we get all the time. Where is the best spot for breakfast? Below we have outlined several of our favorite options for a variety of tastes and preferences.

The whole shebang

Juniper’s at the Wildflower Inn

2059 Darling Hill Road, Lyndonville, VT

Looking for a spot that has it all? Well, Juniper’s is for you! From the delicious, local coffee that is poured steaming hot the minute you sit down, to the stunning views from the porch and deck, to the divine breakfast options, you can’t go wrong. A few not-to-be-missed dishes: their pancakes! They are so fluffy and heavenly, you will be hard pressed to find a better pancake anywhere. Topped with maple syrup from just down the road, the pancakes are a sublime Vermont experience. For the more health conscious eater, their Paleo option (veggies topped with poached eggs, hollandaise sauce, bacon, and sweet potato spirals), and the fruit and yogurt parfait are a sure bet. If you have young kids, ask for the kitty eggs (summer) or snowman pancakes (winter)!

 

Pastries so good, you might as well be in Paris

Auntie DeeDee’s Homemade Baked Goods

185 Mountain Road, East Burke, VT

Auntie DeeDee’s is quite possibly the most delightful small bakery you can find outside of Paris. Anything you order will be exceptional, but our favorites are the almond croissants (genuinely out of this world) and the Belty Bun (a delicious pastry packed with veggies , eggs, and/or meat). Be warned: this place gets crazy busy on weekends, so plan accordingly.

 

Local, Organic Goodies & organic food shop

The Freighthouse

1000 Broad St, Lyndonville, VT

The Freighhouse is a fantastic spot for healthy, locally sourced, organic food, beverages and baked goods. Some of our absolute favorites are their avocado toast, vegan chocolate chip cookie dough bites, and affogato during the sticky summer months (affogato is a shot of espresso over a scoop of gelato – if you haven’t experienced this phenomenon yet, TRY IT and thank us later!)

Authentic Espresso & more

Cafe Lotti

603 VT – 114, East Burke, VT

The coffee is so good here, even if they offered nothing else at all people would still flock to them. Luckily for us, their breakfast and lunch options are a delicious and added benefit to their exceptional coffee. If you are a coffee snob (and even if you’re not), Cafe Lotti is going to be your new favorite spot.

Trailside treasures

The Hub Brew Counter and Feed the Pour

2099 Darling Hill Rd. Lyndonville, VT

Looking for a fun trailside vibe ready to fuel you with delicious coffee beverages and quick breakfast food? This is the place! Beyond their breakfast and energizing drinks they have a full array of apres ride libations to reward yourself with.

A unique Vermont experience

Bread & Butter

139 Eastern Ave, St. Johnsbury, VT

Where else in the Northeast Kingdom can you order shakshouka or banh mi, with a side of chaga tea? Bread & Butter is utterly charming and completely inviting, and even though it’s slightly farther from the trails (a roughly 15 minute drive), it is well worth the drive!

 

Italy Calls!

Kingdom Experiences, Mountain Bike Skill Camps and Tours in Vermont

By: Karen Wilson

Traveling to Italy isn’t just a line item on my bucket list to check off- it’s a calling from deep within. Most travelers inevitably seem to be tantalized to discover her beauty and way of life. This dream is soon to become true as my husband and I follow the calling and celebrate 25 years together!
 
Rather than going the easy route with a bike touring group, I’ve decided to create my own tour. It’s taken months and countless hours of research but I’m confident that the places and experiences I’ve mapped out will be fruitful:
 
1, Red Eye from Montreal to Rome (great airfare from Montreal)
2, Rental car for two weeks (cheap)
3, Drive to the Almafi coast-2 nights and hike “The path of the gods”.
4, Drive to Puglia (the heel of the boot) to Ostuni -La Citta Bianca (the white town) and stay in the heart of the city for two nights.
5, Drive farther south in the boot to Borgagne and stay at a Masseria (old fortified farmhouse) for two nights.
6, Long road trip north to Citta della Pieve in Umbria near the Tuscan border for one week on an organic farm.
 
Finding places off the beaten path with options to bike and hike are the focus. Living close to the locals is accessed with airbnb and planned well in advance for the best options. Most offer breakfast and the Masseria offers bikes as well. In Umbria I’ve booked 3 different bike tours with 3 different companies. I like having a balance between planned tours and spontaneous adventure. Spring is prime time for biking so reserving in advance won’t leave us high and dry. No cross-country, single track tours have been on my radar via online searches, but I’m good with riding through the vineyards, olive groves, hidden ancient ruins and coastal paths along the Adriatic Sea! Save the single tracks for the Dolomites on another trip…
 
Being a tried and true non-motorized Kingdom Trails rider, I’ve surprised myself with reserving one tour using e-bikes. I figure we can cover more territory in hilly Tuscany. I expect the scenery to be pleasantly a little more serene on that day. On the other days we can scope out one of their thermal hot springs for some ancient healing powers!
 
So stayed tuned next month for a follow up blog reporting on the ups and downs of the itinerary, the challenges of driving and communicating with bare bones Italian and the highlights of fresh, flavorful foods and vino. Hopefully my shared experiences will inspire you to respond when Italy Calls!
 
Ciao….
Photo Credit: Tour Radar

The Silver Linings of April

Kingdom Experiences, Mountain Bike Skill Camps and Tours in Vermont
By: Karen Wilson
It’s an ugly picture outside my window regardless of the great view. The steady rain and intermittent cries of wind make even an outdoor enthusiast want to stay in. The garden in the back yard still has measurable snow in mid April in contrast to the front where I can see large areas of grass and dirty snowbanks. This bleak image of April in Vermont happens to awaken the laden indoor enthusiast with endless possibilities.
 
I hear the phrase “carpe diem” as I consider this window of time to embrace the indoors while not being tugged by outdoor callings. This is the time to comb through all that clutter and purge! Losing hundreds of pounds of accumulated, unused stuff from my living space can have remarkable effects on my psyche! Knowing that I can drop off stuff down at the Burke Clubhouse for their annual Memorial Day yard sale has added motivation.
 
Anticipating the opening of the Kingdom Trails in just a matter of weeks has prompted me to get my bike in the shop to be prepped for the season. It’s good to know it will be ready when the time comes. April is a time to embrace indoor yoga sessions and consider taking a spin class or actually put to use those weights in my basement.
 
One of my favorite April traditions is visiting a spa where I can purge in a sauna and steam bath built up toxins and indulge in a tranquil space of stillness. The off season rates are irresistible and the experience is priceless. There are quite a few options out there!
 
The best part of April is that it can change overnight. The temperature can swing like a pendulum and when the sun breaks  through it’s a gift to be celebrated! Walking through the woods on a warm spring day is special because there are no bugs- I love that!
Although April is considered “off season” in the NEK, I like to flick  my attitude switch to “on” and seek out the silver linings that are calling me to seize the day!

Last Call for Chaga!

Kingdom Experiences, Mountain Bike Skill Camps and Tours in Vermont

By: Karen Wilson

As I slipped in and out of the mud ruts driving down Brook road this morning, I saw two guys shoveling snow off a gathering tank for sap. This scene didn’t trigger fond thoughts of french toast drenched with maple syrup as one would expect. Instead it signaled my inner mycophile (a devotee of mushrooms; especially : one whose hobby is hunting wild edible mushrooms) to consider the image as “Last Call For Chaga”. 
 
One of the many rewards of meandering through the frosty, winter, woods in northern Vermont is the opportunity it lends to foraging for the coveted friendly fungus known as Chaga (just do a search to discover it’s many health benefits). Wether on fat bikes, snowshoes, back country skis or those motorized monsters I prefer to avoid, it’s an invitation to exercise your visual discrimination skills. Hunting for chaga is like going into an “I Spy” or “Where’s Waldo” book and living it out with the woods as your backdrop. In general, chaga is hard to find, so when you discover some it’s a rush!
 
Timing is a key element when harvesting chaga. Since the trees are dormant in the winter, all the good stuff is drawn into the trunk that the fungus is growing off of. This in turn feeds the chaga with all the goods that make it a healer. That’s why it’s prime time to forage. Once the sap starts running, the concentration of its magic lessens. There are different schools of thought on this, but it sure sounds logical to me. 
 
If your curiosity is calling you to search out a chunk of chaga to claim as your own, then take note that time is running out. When you see the sap buckets hanging from the maples, remember that means “Last Call For Chaga”.