Over Columbus Day weekend, my family and I headed up to Burke Mountain, a mecca of sorts for mountain biking. Seriously– I have never seen so many mountain bikes (and mountain bikers!) in one location! We are always excited when we get to head up to Vermont, especially in the fall when the foliage is GORGEOUS.
We left on a Friday afternoon and managed to catch some of the foliage in Franconia Notch before it got dark. Since we arrived around dinner time, we stopped off in St. Johnsbury to grab a bite to eat at the Kingdom Taproom. If you find yourself in the area, the food was DELICIOUS and they have an unbelievable sampling of local beers. The underground atmosphere is cozy, and the restaurant was kid-friendly. It’s popular though, so it’s best to make a reservation or get there on the earlier side if you’re headed there on a weekend!
After about a 10-15 minute drive we arrived at the beautiful Burke Mountain Hotel & Conference Center. We settled into our 2 bedroom suite (one king and split king in the second bedroom). It was perfect for our 3 boys, and they were quite excited to spend 3 nights in their new room (complete with their own TV!). The suite had a kitchen, dining table, and gas fireplace along with gorgeous views of the mountain area. I love that the bedrooms had their own views as well.
The boys’ favorite attraction at the hotel was the arcade, and they spent time there each night of our stay! The heated outdoor pool and hot tub ran a close second. I loved soaking in the hot tub and looking up at the foliage on the mountain!
On Saturday morning, we woke up and grabbed breakfast at Edmund’s Coffee Shop in the hotel before heading out to rent our mountain bikes and hit the Northeast Kingdom trails. My husband brought along his bike, but we rented full suspension bikes for myself and my 2 older boys from East Burke Sports (the youngest rode his balance bike!). It was so crowded that weekend, and we were lucky to snag some last-minute rentals! The helpful staff got our bikes set and ready to ride and within a half hour, we were on the trails.
Burke Mountain – Mountain Biking on the Kingdom Trails
To ride on the Kingdom trails (over 100 miles of mountain biking trails!), you check in at the Kingdom Trails Welcome Center and purchase a day pass ($15) or year-round pass ($75). It’s like a ski pass, you just attach it to the back of your bike and you’re good to go. There are trails for beginner, intermediate and expert riders (with similar trail markings to ski mountains). There were plenty of trails for us to cover as a family, complete with a kids’ bike park, pump tracks and other obstacles. We were all pretty tired by the time we took a break for lunch (my 3-year old did 3.8 miles on the balance bike!).
We had a bite to eat at the Northeast Kingdom Country Store and then headed back to the hotel for a little downtime, while my husband went out for some more riding. That night we opted to eat at the hotel and our meal (and view!) at the View Pub did not disappoint! The food was excellent, as was the beer and wine menu. We enjoyed great service, and I would definitely recommend dining there!
Day 2 in Burke
On Sunday it rained, so we went for a delicious breakfast at Juniper’s Restaurant (at the Wildflower Inn in Lyndon) and then my oldest and husband went out to ride while the younger boys and I hit the pool when the sun came out! For dinner that night, we tried the Foggy Goggle Osteria in Burke. It wound up being a beautiful night, so we ate in the outside seating area under a tent. Since it was still a bit chilly at night, I was happy for the outdoor heating lamps!
I must say that the Foggy Goggle Osteria has the best children’s menu ever! What makes it so great? Well, aside from pizza and steaks, the kids can get a 1/2 order (at half-price) of anything on the menu! Rather than being stuck with just chicken tenders, grilled cheese or pizza, they got Pad Thai with tofu instead! We shared a slice of chocolate cream pie for dessert, and it was SO GOOD!
The next morning we woke up, had some coffee and then got ready to get on the road. It was tough to leave Burke, and I can’t wait to return for some skiing. The Burke Mountain Hotel & Conference Center was a fantastic place to take the family, and I would wholeheartedly recommend it! The boys really enjoyed their stay and can’t wait to go back!