kingdomexperiences

Non-cyclist’s guide to the KT/Burke area

We get asked ALL THE TIME for suggestions on things to do for the non-cyclists. Maybe you are traveling with your SO or another family member that doesn’t ride, maybe you are injured and need to take a break from riding, or maybe you are just heading to the area and aren’t necessarily interested in the cycling element. Read on for some great things that the area has to offer!

A day in the neighborhood  

Start the morning with pancakes and  local Vermont coffee at Juniper’s at the Wildflower Inn. If you can, get a table on the porch right by the window – the views are gorgeous no matter the time of day.

Head over to Burke Mountain and prepare to take in the sprawling vistas from the top. If you’re feeling up for it, hike up the toll road, taking in the numerous look out spots the road offers. The hike takes roughly an hour to an hour and a half, from top to bottom. It is not particularly beginner-friendly, though, so avoid it if you’re not up for the challenge. Email us if you’re looking for a more beginner friendly hiking route; we’d be happy to point you in the right direction!

On your way back down the mountain road into town, do not miss stopping off at Auntie Dee Dee’s for some truly exceptional baked goods.

Take a drive to Sanderson’s Wooden Bowls, located on an idyllic farm. The owners are super friendly and will gladly go into detail regarding their woodworking process. An added bonus is that their farm also houses donkeys and Nigerian dwarf goats, making this stop fun for the whole family.

Next up is Burke Mountain Confectionery, a delightful chocolate shop in East Burke. Their truffles are out of this world, so be sure to take some home!

Just up the road is D-N-D Stables, which offers guided horse rides for those with no experience, and also non-guided horse rides for those 12 and older with previous horse riding experience. It was also named a “quintessential Vermont experience” by Trail Riding Magazine, so definitely not be missed for horse lovers!

After all that activity, it’s time for a drink! Head to the Hub Trailside, and sit outside (preferably just around sunset) overlooking the Willoughby Gap. It’s a truly perfect spot!

For dinner, take your pick of one of several great restaurants in the immediate area. Some of our favorites, in no particular order are:

Juniper’s (their salmon is delicious and we can never resist a slice of Elaine’s daily pie)

Cafe Sweet Basil (rotating specials, delicious burritos, and insane drinks & dessert)

The View Pub at Burke Hotel (delicious pub fare with creative drinks)

Foggy Goggle (their pizza is our favorite!)

Day 2 – A little R & R

Start your day with a delicious, local, and organic breakfast from the Freighthouse. We love their avocado toast topped with an egg, and their vegan protein balls. They also do delicious smoothies and have a great organic market for some goodies to being home with you.

From there, head to the Serenity Spa for a facial treatment and massage. Their facilities are brand new and their massage therapists are fantastic and can help you choose the perfect treatment for you.

After your massage, grab a good book and head to Cafe Lotti. Hunker down for a few hours  – their coffee, espresso, tea, baked goods, and panini are fantastic!

If you’re meeting up with your significant other after their ride, surprise them with a unique experience at the Willoburke Nordic Spa. You can book a private experience for two, which begins in their Finnish wood barreled sauna to stimulate blood circulation. The next step is immersing yourself in your own private cold tub, which closes your pores and helps boost the immune system. The final step is to take a dip in your private hot tub, then repeat the process!

Thanks for joining us on our weekend guide to the Burke area for non-cyclists! Please let us know what you would like to see next.

Biker’s Backache

By: Marie Vaine

You may have felt that horrible lower back pain as you hop off your bike after a long ride. You know, that lower back pain that makes you feel like you are ninety years old as you to take an extra minute or two to stand up straight. What you’re feeling is biker’s backache and believe it or not, you don’t have to endure the pain just to ride your bike. Here are a few tips to help ease that pain and keep you riding for longer!

Most of the pain that you are feeling begins with the tightness of your hip flexors, glutes, and piriformis muscles. This tension lessens the mobility you have in your hip and causes your lower back to compensate for the movement. By increasing hip mobility, your lower back can stay more stable and will prevent it from taking all the pressure.

Be careful how much you put in your backpack. It’s easy to plan for the worst and load up on water, snacks, lunch, clothing layers, spare bike parts, and tools, but every ounce you put in your pack puts a little more pressure on your mid back. As you lean forward, your lower back has to work extra hard to hold up your backpack. A lighter pack means less pressure on your lower back.

A few extra lines of defense that you can do are to build core strength and stretch! It takes a lot of core strength to stay bent over on a bike, with or without a pack. Strong core muscles support your lower back on those long hours of leaning forward. Stretching helps increase mobility throughout the body and release tension in the muscles. Yoga is a great way to stretch, build core strength, and relax those muscles that work hard all the time. Here are a few suggestions for poses that are great pre- or post- ride:

Reclined Butterfly
Reclined Pigeon
Sphinx
Bridge
Half Split
High Lunge Twist
Low Lunge Twist

“The young learn from the old”

By: Quinn Campbell

I always tell people that East Burke and the riding community which surrounds Kingdom Trails is the best place to live or play if you love mountain bikes. And I realize, you may read that statement and think to yourself, “Everyone says their hometown riding location is the best.” But I’ve visited and sampled some of the premier cycling meccas on our continent, and I really, truly, mean it. Nothing compares. And here’s why: There are the obvious reasons– more than 120 miles of pristine single track which straddle Darling Hill and circle the town of East Burke, filling the woods with lines of rich dirt that snake between sugar woods and pine forests. Locally sourced burritos as big around as your fist, which can be devoured no more than a minute from the trail head, and the only outdoor tiki bar in the Northeast. But all of the best riding locations have a similar composition, what’s special about East Burke is the multigenerational group of skilled local riders. 

The small mountain town is called home by riders from the ages of 50 to 10 and they contribute something positive to the area. I like to simplify the generations into three larger categories. There are the “OG’s”, those in their 40’s and 50’s who witnessed, supported, and created the first legitimate mountain bike trails in the North East Kingdom. They know everything about the region and have provided a foundation for the growth of every generation to follow. Many of them have invested their lives in the area and remain deeply involved in the continual growth of Kingdom Trails and the mountain industry which revolves around the riding mecca.

The 2nd age group makes up the largest portion of East Burke’s riding population, as is the case with most mountain towns that center themselves around a bike or ski culture. The cyclists in their 20’s and 30’s provide the majority of the driving force behind the area’s industry. Running bike shops, bars, restaurants, and hosting events which allow Kingdom Trails and the Burke Bike Park to deliver a well rounded tourism experience for those traveling to sample pristine dirt, and a vibrant mountain town lifestyle.

Finally, there’s a gaggle of kids who chase the rear wheels of the area’s more experienced riders. Ranging in age from 10 to 18 most have grown up in or near East Burke amidst a community that’s focused on enjoying where they live by way of two wheels. All members of the youngest group are wildly talented in their own right, which comes naturally with a wide variety of terrain at their fingertips. They’ll eventually be responsible for the direction and structure of the North East Kingdom mountain bike culture. But for now they’re focused on doing better wheelies than their friends and riding uphill as little as possible.

I’ve spent time in both Whistler, British Columbia and Durango, Colorado– among others– and they’re riding is unarguably fantastic. The mountains are massive and everyone who lives there is in pursuit of an outdoor adventure lifestyle. But, almost everyone that lives there is 28. I have yet to visit a riding destination that possess a similar multigenerational connectivity to East Burke, Vermont, and that makes the East Coast town special. There’s a grain to the culture because people of all ages ride together. The youngest learn from the oldest, which cultivates a community that’s wholeheartedly devoted to the mountain town we call home.