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.

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”.