Dirt Rag magazine calls it “the best mountain biking in the United States.” A Boston Globe reporter “felt like shouting ‘Wahoo’ like a kid.” The media raves are coming in about Kingdom Trails in East Burke — a huge, mapped, marked mountain-biking network in the Northeast Kingdom. About 90 percent of the pedaling paradise is on private land. Bikers come from as far as Maine and Ontario to ride the singletrack on trails called Poundcake, Todry’s Tour, Jaw, Beat Bog and — get this — Coronary Bypass.
There’s no rest for the wannabe Olympian here. Once the snow melts, the cross-country skis are replaced with skulls. Boaters come from all over to ply the waters of Big and Little Hosmer lakes at the first-ever rowing camp in North America. They work with world-class coaches, eat good food and take classes in related disciplines such as yoga. Runners, too, flock to Craftsbury to improve their technique and hang with other hoofers. The vast network of trails, groomed for marathon cross-country skiing, are just as inspiring in the summer.
The Fairbanks Museum is Vermont’s Smithsonian. Founded in 1889 by St. Johnsbury industrialist and amateur naturalist Franklin Fairbanks, it was an outgrowth of his own personal “cabinet of curiosities”: 175,000 items, as it turned out, that included more than 2500 dolls, 55,000 archival photographs and North America’s largest collection of stuffed hummingbirds. Don’t leave without seeing John Hampson’s patriotic bug art. Once apprenticed to inventor Thomas Edison, Hampson created nine works of art composed entirely of colorful beetles and moths.
The days of the annual “Domestic Resurrection Circus” are over, but Bread and Puppet is still using its political puppet pageantry to fight the power. The current president has certainly given them plenty of material. B&P perform stage shows in a barn with bleacher seats. See the website for a schedule. Leave time to tour the museum of papier-mâché masks and puppets. PHOTO: JORDAN SILVERMAN
This small island offers remote camping only — that means no potable water. Reservations are competitive and you have to be prepared to schlep your stuff — in and out. The “Island Runner” ferry leaves from Kill Kare State Park at the southern tip of St. Albans. Can't get in? Try the Burton or Woods Island State Parks.
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