Fireplace Whitewash DIY

So we moved into our home New Years Eve day. It has a fireplace and since I bought it I have been wanting to whitewash it.

The room has beautiful built-in shelves with squared off molding and the fireplace itself has a mantel and more molding surrounding it. The previous owner did not use it, but prior to her the owners did, leaving the brick with black spots. After months of other renovations and updates, it was time.

DIY, Whitewashing, fireplace, milk paint, miss mustard seeds, chalk merchantile

BEFORE

DIY, Whitewashing, fireplace, milk paint, miss mustard seeds, chalk merchantile

AFTER

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I reached out to my fellow CT Blogger and store owner Jayne at Chalk Merchantile in Old Saybrook. She directed me to a wonderful tutorial that outlined how to do it. And really… there was not that much to learn! The woman from Restore Stuff  in the video posted gave me every confidence I could do it as well as Jayne! 🙂 You can also check out the Chalk site for workshops on painting and all things creative at the above link.

So I picked up some Miss Mustard Seeds Milk Paint at Chalk Mercantile. Jayne had a ton of shades and we picked out the perfect shade of white.  I used Farmhouse White. The paint itself is non GMO, environmentally friendly and comes as a powder. I actually prefer the powder! So much less messy and you control the amount easier. The paint is equal part powder and equal part  water.chalk merchantile, white washing, destressing, furniture, DIY

DIY, Whitewashing, fireplace, milk paint, miss mustard seeds, chalk merchantile

Supplies and prepping

First thing that is a must is to do the all mighty prep. It is what I loathe the most when painting! Make sure the surface is clean and dry.  I used a tape that had the plastic already on it which was a big time saver. So much easier and I highly recommend getting it if you paint anything. Kept the stone and my floor free from paint.

After that I started from the top and worked my way down using left and right swipes with the paint. It is important to stay in the same direction so you don’t have paint marks going in all directions when it dries. You will see very quickly the paint will get absorbed a bit and separate. But that is the whitewash look magic! If you want a more solid look than rustic, paint an additional coat. I only did one coat and liked the distressed look that emerged.

DIY, Whitewashing, fireplace, milk paint, miss mustard seeds, chalk merchantile

Just keep painting!

I am hoping to use this paint again on furniture or a piece of decor once inspiration hits again. For now, I will be enjoying the furniture getting delivered this week to finish off the room. The room has a whole new feel and I feel the brick looks much more cohesive with the white molding and shelves.

Has anyone used Milk Paint or whitewashed brick or furniture before? Please share!

Low- Carb Buffalo Chicken Cauliflower Pizza

Today it is easier than ever to eat low-carb for those looking to shed some weight or just rid yourself of the carbohydrate bloat that often comes with eating too much sugar or carbs.

low carb, cauliflower pizza, buffalo chickenPizza has got to be the one thing that you could miss on a low-carb lifestyle. It is the go-to food at football games, kids parties and an easy pick up dinner on a Friday night, so thankfully cauliflower rice makes having pizza a bit easier.

I recently started a low-carb eating regime. Although at first it was a bit daunting, I easily found a wealth of information on the web in regard to recipes, tips and hacks on how to do it properly and reap the health and fitness benefits.

Now I am not saying making this is easy. It will take you an hour for sure between cooking the rice in the pan and getting all the moisture out and baking the crust on both sides. However, the more you make it, the easier it will come to getting it done quicker and more efficiently. This is a recipe I would only really make on a weekend when I had extra time.

It is also a much more cost effective way to make cauliflower pizza. Some of the frozen versions are $15 each for the crust alone. For the same cost in making this version, you can have the whole pizza made.

I find that taking your time cooking the rice to dry it out is key. Don’t rush it! A good 15 minutes of stirring and cooking the rice will be important to having your crust stay together and firm up after cooking off.

Low-Carb Buffalo Chicken Cauliflower Pizza

 low carb, cauliflower pizza,

  • 2 cups cauliflower rice
  • 1 TBSP oregano
  • 2 TBSP coconut oil or ghee
  • 3 TBSP your favorite buffalo chicken sauce
  • 2 ounces of blue cheese
  • 1/4 cup cooked chicken cubed
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella
  • Parchment paper
  • baking sheet

Mix cauliflower rice with salt and pepper. Add coconut butter and oregano. On the stove top on medium to light heat, constantly stir and cook rice for 15 minutes. Rice should brown just a little and this will help get the moisture out of the cauliflower so that it will firm up in the oven.cauliflower pizza, buffalo chicken, low carb, keto

Once mixed, spread on several paper towels, fold over rice and press down blotting all the water out. Be careful as it will be hot. Do this several times until much of the moisture is out.

In a medium size bowl, add egg white, mozzarella and Parmesan. Add rice and mix well. This should form a dough.

Put the rice on parchment paper and using your hands flatten to shape a circle. Diameter should be 1/2 inch thick. Brush lightly with more coconut oil.

Bake 15-20 minutes until puffy and golden

Take pie out and using another sheet or parchment to lay over the pizza, flip the pie onto the keto, buffalo chicken, low carb, cauliflower pizzabaking sheet. Brush with coconut oil. Cook this side for another 10 minutes.

In a small bowl mix chicken and buffalo sauce. Crumble blue cheese onto pizza and put chicken on top. Add some extra Parmesan if you like.

Bake for another 5 minutes until melted.

Cool for 5 minutes on cutting board. Slice and enjoy!

“The Big Life”- A badass book review!

I love to read but am horribly slow at it! I wish I could carve out more time to do so. When I do get into a book, I love to share the ones I enjoy the most. Many are self-help, inspirational or teach me something. Once in a while I will get into a good non-fiction novel but I tend to gravitate more to the books that I can learn from.

Ann Shoket, hustle, big life, determination, blogger, CT, books, reading

The Big Life by Ann Shoket (photo by Charging You Up)

This one hit me straight on at the library. Author Ann Shoket, The Good Life. What a title? As if no one wants that right? Ann goes right into her busy 20 something life years ago as a wanna be editor in NYC working a menial job at an attorney’s office. That menial job ended up teaching her a lot about what kind of life she didn’t want and catapulted her to where she is now as Chief Editor of Seventeen Magazine and inspiring millennial woman everywhere.

As I look back on the many  of the first jobs I had, I totally learned what I wanted next and what I know I never wanted to do again. Our experiences shape us. Pain, agony, stress and determination are sometimes necessary to getting to where we belong in life. Says me, not Ann. 🙂

Ann tells countless tales of young woman going beyond the grain to get what they want in life. And by no mean does this mean they are missing out on life! If anything this book outlines that you can go for what you want professionally and still have a valuable social life and romantic life. It is about going against the norm and being consistent and persistent in your beliefs and dreams. Not letting others get in your way and carving out the new norm for professional woman on your way to the top.

Much of what I like about this book is that it inspires young woman to not settle. Have a hustle! Do something on the side that is inline with your passion. And this does not even mean it has to earn you money. This spoke to me greatly as a blogger. I am no famous author, but by all means use blogging to share my thoughts, inspiration and life hiccups with the world. It’s my side hustle. My little passion and my happy place.

I wish I had this book in my twenties. However, I feel like I did a pretty good job finding my own grit and confidence as I got older with the experiences I took chances at and a role model professional for a mother who instilled in me confidence to create my own path. Great recommendation for a new female grad or a young female setting off on her first big move!

If you want to learn more, you can find Ann Shoket at http://annshoket.com/   

Click  on the link to join the Badass Babes community and carve out your own path!

Call Me.. Maybe?

Have you ever tried to call someone for a service or business and after multiple times your call does not get returned? I have a post for you! That Carly Rae Jepsen song has been ringing in my ears! Being desperate to get someones attention and doing all you can to hope you get a call from them. Sound familiar?

call me maybeIn the real world, I work as a Sales Rep. My sole job is to engage the customer, follow-up on leads and by all means return emails and phone calls from my accounts. Maybe it is just the whole wedding planning thing I am going through right now or the fact that I provide customer service every day but in the last 3 months  have never had such bad experience with poor customer service.

It first started on a weekend trip to Rhode Island. We had a great time and stayed in a fantastic hotel. However the phone did not work, the lamps near our bed and we were rudely awoken by a wedding party who brought locals to the hallway to keep the party going. After calling for security and upon check out the next day we were told to contact the Manger on Monday about the complaint. So I did. 3 days go by and nothing. I emailed her, nothing. A week and a half goes by I call again and am told she is in a meeting and to leave a voicemail. I never heard from the manager.

Look, I get that we all don’t want to bother with disgruntled customers, but that is your darn job as a manager! I do it everyday. I apologize, deal with service complaints, smile and we do better next time. Plus, I was going to be nice about it and just wanted to be compensated a bit for everything not working in our room.

The second time had been my experience with vendors for our wedding. First, I had hotels that would not return my call to get information about blocking rooms for our guests. At least two voicemail messages. No return call. The third was a florist that asked me after our appointment for my Pinterest pictures of what I envisioned.  I sent them and waited patiently. They got back to me 4 weeks after we met and I even had to call in between to ask again for the quote.

Lastly, I was looking to set up my bridal hair and makeup appointments. I called a few reputable salons and some personal artists that were referred to me by my own hair stylist. At least 2 out of the 3 salons or makeup artists I called never returned my call. So frustrating! I can only imagine that business is booming and they did not need my business. After a few weeks of hoping I would get some call backs, I decided to go back to a local Facebook friend who is a professional makeup artist and already had promised me she was available and willing. Such a better choice. I did end up finding a salon as well to get my hair done, finally.

I always thought that the customer is always right. I also know that in order to have a good business, you better be calling potential customers back. With the social media boom, customers are only a FB post or Tweet away from giving their thoughts on their experience with you. It’s a scary thought for a business owner really.

The hotel ended up getting a negative Facebook review from me. The florist and salons just never got our business for our wedding and the hotels were skipped on to ones who were interested in having their rooms booked.

call me maybeI get that we are all busy. And wedding season is high in the summer. But gosh darn it ,my little winter wedding with no attendants is just as important that a huge summer bash.  And you can bet I will never go back to that hotel. Which is a shame because we love the town, but there are others for us to visit and stay at by all means.

A little goes a long way and if I have to chase you down for your service, something is wrong you better put your energy elsewhere.

Glad to say we secured a wonderful florist who has our vision and great hotels blocked off for our January wedding. Now, I’m just hoping our cake baker is attentive and can call me… maybe?

 

Terra’s Kitchen Popsicle’s Beat the Heat!

 

When this Terra’s Kitchen recipe bounced into my inbox, I just had to share! Many of my readers know I love healthy food, but this was a yummy recipe especially for kids. And BIG KIDS! 🙂

Who says popsicle’s are only for kids? Grown-ups can enjoy them too with this healthy Ginger-Cantaloupe Popsicle recipe! These cool treats will help you beat the heat during the summer months courtesy of Terras Kitchen!

 

Healthy Ginger-Cantaloupe Popsicle

Photo & Recipe Credit: Terra’s Kitchen

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What you need:

  • 3 slices of fresh ginger
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 ripe cantaloupe
  • Sliced strawberries (optional)
  • Popsicle forms and popsicle sticks

What to do:

  1. In a small sauce pan, add the sugar and 1/2 cup water over medium heat. Cook just until the sugar has melted. Remove from heat and drop in ginger. Set aside until cooled. (Remove ginger when ready to use!)
  2. Slice cantaloupe in half and scoop out seeds. Spoon cantaloupe flesh into a blender. Blend until smooth.
  3. Add just enough of the cooled ginger syrup to sweeten as desired. Save the remaining syrup for another use.
  4. Pour into popsicle molds and freeze overnight. For a variation, push a few sliced strawberries down into the popsicle molds before freezing.

For more variations, visit Terra’s Kitchen at https://www.terraskitchen.com/

Say Yes to the Dress… Maybe?

The quest for a bridal dress is the pinnacle experience for a bride. I should know. I just experienced it. And I learned a lot.

I had the biggest Pinterest board with all the dresses and styles that I thought I would want to look for. When I actually got to the bridal shops, it all went out the window. The 3 things I that did not change was the style/fit I knew would look best on my figure, what I believe my fiance would like and what I believe would be appropriate for the kind of event we were planning. In keeping those things in mind, I believe I made a great choice. If I just kept in mind what I had thought I wanted to wear, I would have spent much more than I wanted and I do not think it would be what my fiance envisioned or what would be appropriate for the style of our wedding.

So.. I  invited my best friend, mother and soon to be mother in law to come look at dresses. We started with a chain bridal store. Davids Bridal. I have to say. The nicest staff, no pressure and beautiful selection of dresses. I think they had a lot to choose from for variety of price points as well. Some of the dresses I did not think were the nicest material or quality but like anything, it depends on the designer. I have at least one dress there that I thought I would try on again.

My second stop was a small boutique bridal shop. Much smaller with much smaller selection. The quality ( and price tag) much higher. Gorgeous dresses to choose from. Staff was very kind but I definitely felt the pressure as I was asked if I wanted to “Say Yes to the Dress” and that if I wanted this dress it would have to be ordered in the next day to come in on time. The $1550 lace sleeved to die for dress for a winter wedding. So I felt the pressure, but did not buckle and said maybe? Yes. Maybe. Maybe I can take 2 days to marinate in all the dresses I tried on that day. It is not like the dress could not be ordered 2 days later right? So, I left with a maybe and looked forward to reviewing all the cell phone pictures that we took.

Now money was not the issue. My loving  and generous parents decided to give me any dress I wanted. But, I knew I needed to look at both dresses and sit on it.  I mean, you also wear this dress once. Once! Then it sits in your closet aging like the creases around your eyes. It bothered me. I went over  in my head the venue of our wedding, what my fiance would be expecting and what I felt I would be most comfortable in as a bride.

After the weekend passed, I decided I needed one more store. The Savvy Bride in Stratford. After a simple Google search, I found the small boutique that opened in February. The premise of the experience is that you are buying a designer never worn sample dress from all the larger, big bridal stores at a fraction of the price. In fact, all the dresses are under $2000 and 30-60% off retail!  I thought interesting. I guess I did not care if I waited 6-8 months for my dress or walked away with it that day.  One benefit is that I could start looking for shoes right away and see the seamstress for any alterations now. And if I found what I wanted at a fraction of the price, score!

wedding dresses, savvy bride, ct bride, weddingsavvy bride, wedding dresses, ct bride, wedding, bridal salon

Once I got to the store I just had that feeling. Meeting Erica Laferlita the owner and having the store to ourselves was very special.  She was easy-going, fun and very helpful in giving an objective opinion. Plus the selection of gowns was amazing!  All so different in an a huge array of sizes. I believe I picked at least 12 to try on. Some I put on and did not have to even leave the dressing room because I knew it was a no. Some I had to turn in, walk around the salon and get my mom’s opinion. All in all I had two very different dresses that I just loved. One stood out and one was the winner! Erica gave us a great deal and a fantastic experience.

Aside from dresses, Erika has veils, antique jewelry and hair accessories for all your bridal needs. If you have gone to the big box stores or even small bridal boutiques, instead of saying Yes to the Dress right away, do yourself a favor and say Maybe and make an appointment with Erica.

 

 

And yes, we said YES TO THE DRESS! If you do, Erica will take your picture on the Love Couch and post on social media. Fun!

Grilled Shrimp Bowl

Nothing says summertime like grilled shrimp! Shrimp is so versatile. You can make it spicy, fruity, mild, smoky or eat cocktail style!

The summer just does not make me want to be in the kitchen for extended periods of time. The grill only comes out a few months our of the year so best to utilize it when you can!

Sometimes the easiest dinners are those that contain things already in your fridge. Rice, scallions, canned pineapple, salt and pepper is what was added to the shrimp to make a delicious shrimp bowl. Don’t like shrimp? This can easily be substituted for chicken or pork. And don’t worry if you don’t have a grill. A cast iron grill pan on your stove top works just as good for cooking both shrimp or chicken.

 

Grilled Shrimp Bowl (Serves 2)

grilled shrimp bowl

2 cups cooked Basmati rice. ( whole grain rice is also fine)

10 shrimp, devein and shell

1/4 cup chopped scallions

4 canned pineapple rings

1 small zucchini

salt and pepper for taste

wooden skewers

Cook the rice as instructed on the box. Set aside. Devein and shell shrimp and rinse well. Slice zucchini and cut into medium chunks. Cup up pineapple rings into small chunks. Skewer shrimp, zucchini and pineapple. Lightly salt and pepper. Grill until shrimp are pink.

Evenly distribute rice into two bowls. Add desired shrimp skewers to the rice and mix well. If desired you can add a curry or jerk sauce for a tangy bite.

 

 

 

New Summer Menu Debuts at Fresh Salt in Old Saybrook

OLD SAYBROOK, Conn., (June 28, 2017) – The Fresh Salt restaurant at Saybrook Point has introduced a new summer menu that features seasonal dishes inspired by the bountiful harvests of local farmers and fisheries. Named Best Upscale Dining in Connecticut by the state’s restaurant industry association, Fresh Salt works closely with its local farmers and day boats to ensure the highest quality of locally grown ingredients from land and sea go into its creative delights. Local partnerships include Medlyn’s Farm of Branford, Belltown Hill Orchard of South Glastonbury, Fair Weather Acres of Rocky Hill, Baggott Family Farms of East Windsor, and Rose’s Berry Farm of South Glastonbury, and Fresh Salt’s commitment to its cool native waters features oysters within a 99-mile radius. A catch-of-the-day from local day boats provides clams, oysters, mussels, shrimp, tuna, cod, swordfish, and salmon for the Fresh Salt menu. Herbs including basil, thyme, mint and tarragon are planted and picked by the Fresh Salt culinary staff in Saybrook Point’s custom herb garden. 

At Fresh Salt, guests will savor fresh, seasonal and local cuisine served in Old Saybrook’s most spectacular setting – the spot where the fresh waters of the Connecticut River meet the salt of Long Island Sound. It’s a treasured and historic place, rich in life, and the restaurant reflects that lively diversity. The new summer menu features the bounty of the season through unique pasta and vegan dishes such as Rotelle Pasta, which includes pine nuts, fava beans, radicchio, roasted cauliflower and Pecorino cheese served in a white wine sauce; and Cauliflower Steak, which is pan-roasted cauliflower served in a ratatouille sauce with sautéed escarole. Entrée prices range from $20.95. 

In addition, guests will enjoy Fresh Salt’s fresh seafood and day boats including Pan-seared Black Pearl Scottish Salmonserved with Roasted Cherry Tomato-and Sweet Pea ($29.95), Bacon-wrapped Monkfish served with Sugar Pea Risotto and Red Cabbage Coulis ($29,95), and Grilled Swordfish Loin served with Quinoa, Barley, and Spinach in a Passion Fruit-Ginger Sauce ($29,95). 

From the grill and oven, guests will experience Fresh Salt’s Free-range Natural Stuffed Chicken Breast with a Sundried Tomato-Spinach Risotto Filling, Pancetta Whole Grain Mustard-Morel Mushroom Cream Sauce ($28.95), as well as the 12 Oz. USDA Choice N.Y. Sirloin served with Sautéed Mushrooms, Pomme Frites in a Garnish Port Wine Demi-glaze ($39.95). 

And shoreline favorites include the Seaside Tempura Platter with Golden Brown Scallops, Oysters, Calamari Zucchini, Peppers, Fresh Salt Kettle Chips ($21.95), Custom-blend Hamburger on a Potato Roll, made with a half-pound outstanding combination of Short Rib Chuck and Brisket, topped with Lettuce, Tomato and Cole Slaw ($13.95) and Connecticut Lobster Roll made with warm buttered lobster on a grilled New England style roll and served with and Fresh Salt Kettle Chips ($29.95).

Fresh Salt is more than just a restaurant; it is a place to enjoy another’s company and experience the breathtaking views of the Long Island Sound – quietly intertwined with the Connecticut River. The venue’s fresh ingredients and vibrant tastes are available daily for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. And if guests are searching for an intimate evening, Fresh Salt offers light bites and handcrafted cocktails made to perfectly enhance an evening away. Reservations are recommended, and may be made by calling 860. 388.1111

About Saybrook Point

Situated along the picturesque shores of historic Old Saybrook, Connecticut, Saybrook Point features a collection of 100 elegantly-appointed guestrooms, a rejuvenating full-service SANNO spa, and casual fine dining restaurant Fresh Salt, as well as a unique waterside Lighthouse Suite. In addition, the historic Three Stories and Tall Tales luxury guesthouses offer exquisite rooms that convey the story of famous local residents. The pristine Saybrook Point Marina, a landmark boating destination conveniently located at the mouth of the Connecticut River, serves as a focal point for the Inn. More information is available at www.saybrook.com.

Foxwoods Resort Casino Partners with the CT Lottery on Innovative Foxwoods High Roller Scratch Ticket

$10 Scratch Ticket to Feature Exciting, Unique Prizes including VIP Property Stays and $125,000 Grand Prizes

MASHANTUCKET, Conn.– Foxwoods® Resort Casino and the CT Lottery announced today that they have entered a groundbreaking, exclusive partnership to launch the Foxwoods High Roller scratch ticket. The cross-promotional agreement marks the first time the CT Lottery has partnered with a casino in the state, and will provide lottery players and Foxwoods’ guests with even more ways to win.

“We are thrilled to offer a Foxwoods branded scratch ticket to the state of Connecticut in conjunction with the CT Lottery,” said Felix Rappaport, President & CEO of Foxwoods Resort Casino. “Through this partnership, we are bringing together two of the best gaming brands in the state to provide our loyal supporters with the opportunity to win exciting prizes only available through the Foxwoods High Roller scratch ticket. We look forward to building upon this relationship to continue providing our guests with innovative and fun ways to win in 2017 and beyond.”

The Foxwoods High Roller scratch ticket is the next step in Foxwoods’ mission to provide the premiere gaming experience in the Northeast. Available at multiple locations on property at Foxwoods (including Grand EffectsOutpost and Winners) as well as 2,900 CT Lottery retailers throughout the state, the lottery scratch ticket features thrilling, luxury prizes only available through the Foxwoods High Roller ticket including $125,000 top prizes, VIP overnight stays at Foxwoods and more.

“On behalf of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Government, we are thrilled to be working with the government of Connecticut and the CT Lottery on this exciting new initiative in honor of Foxwoods’ 25th anniversary,” said Chairman Rodney Butler of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation. “We greatly value our ability to give back to the local community, and the Foxwoods High Roller ticket provides us with an unparalleled opportunity to add to the nearly $4 billion dollars in revenue we have generated for the state.”

The Foxwoods High Roller scratch ticket provides 25 chances to win, in honor of the property’s 25th Anniversary. Players simply need to match any of their numbers to the winning numbers to receive the prize shown. Ticket bonus symbols and multipliers include a money bag to instantly win $50, a dollar sign to win double the prize shown and 5X or 10X symbols to win 5 or 10 times the prize shown, respectively. There is also an added bonus play option, which provides the chance to win all 25 prizes listed if the “win all” symbol is revealed.

However, players that don’t reveal a prize won’t walk away empty handed, as every non-winning ticket will be a winner at Foxwoods. Guests will soon be able to redeem their non-winning Foxwoods High Roller scratch ticket on property to receive an exclusive offer, which will include select discounts and prizes.

Including 25 Second Chance Drawings, players can enter non-winning Foxwoods High Roller tickets for a chance to win the “Wonder of It All” Weekend Experience. It includes a complimentary two-night stay at a Foxwoods designated hotel for the player and guest, round-trip limousine service, a $2,000 check from the CT Lottery and a $1,000 Foxwoods Gift Card to be used during the player’s stay for non-gaming purchases, including food and beverage, spa and entertainment.

For more information on the Foxwoods High Roller scratch ticket, visit https://www.foxwoods.com/lottery.

About Foxwoods Resort Casino

25 Years Proud: Since 1992, Foxwoods Resort Casino has offered guests The Wonder Of It All as the premier resort destination in the Northeast. As the largest resort casino in North America, Foxwoods offers a vast array of gaming in seven casinos, AAA Four-Diamond hotels, restaurants from gourmet to quick service, world-renowned spas, award-winning golf, state-of-the-art theaters, and exclusive retailers. Foxwoods is owned and operated by the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation and was the first full-service casino built on tribal land, pioneering a nationwide movement that now includes more than 400 gaming properties owned and operated by over 200 tribes across the U.S. For more information on Foxwoods and the property’s 25th Anniversary celebrations, visit www.foxwoods.com.

 

Vermont’s Kingdom Trails is Natures Playground

Biking on the roads in CT is nothing compared to some Vermont scenery and nicely groomed bike trails. That is all you will get in East Burke Vermont at Kingdom Trails.

The trails is a 501c3 non-profit ran by volunteers and a board of directors composed of local businesses and residents looking to preserve the ecologically sensitive landscape while encouraging the recreational use. Founded in 1994, the trails are used year round with winter fat biking, cross-country skiing and mountain biking.

If you are looking for breakfast, you might be looking for a while. It was not obvious where to get some fresh breakfast and coffee other than the gas station or leaving town. I was a bit surprised the staff at the resort did not have many suggestions either! We stumbled across East Burke County Store luckily and I am glad we did! They had breakfast made fresh from muffins and homemade bread to eggs and breakfast sandwiches along with local organic coffee.

After breakfast your first stop is to visit the Welcome Center to get your pass. The staff was super helpful and will map out a trail path for you based on your skill level, distance preference and landscape. This was great because if you are unfamiliar with the trails, you could easily find yourself on the black more difficult and steep trails fast. But not to worry. There are plenty of beginner and intermediate trails to be had if the faster and more difficult trails are not your thing.

When we arrived to get our bikes out of the car and gear up, we could not help but notice how many french Canadians were visiting from Canada all making the trek for this breathtaking bike mecca. We knew this most be a most special place if people came from another country just to ride!

We also saw a lot of families with kids just showing how diverse the terrain is and how you can find a bike trail at everyone’s skill level.

Vermonts Kingdom Trails, Biking, East BurkeOur first objective was to do a 3/4 mile uphill bike. Not how I wanted to start the trail, but it is the main entrance to start on the trails. Once you are on the top of the hill, you have options as to where you would like to bike next. It was hardest part of the ride for someone like myself that has not worn in my biking legs yet!

We proceeded to stay on mostly blue trails which are flat and hilly. The views along the first parts are of the trails are quintessential Vermont. Cows, silos, big green fields and beautiful ski’s.

Vermont Kingdom Trails, biking, East Burke

The part I enjoyed the most was when we were in the woods. Lots of small hills, some a bit fast if you do not control your bike and plenty of roots. Watch the roots! I have a hybrid bike so was not putting the pedal to the metal and biking more conservatively. The ideal bike for these trails would be a full suspension mountain bike. You can rent them at the bike shop which is a great option if you do not own or want to spend the money on a high-end bike. Rentals run from $70-150 depending on the model you rent.

One of the nicest spots was Heaven’s Bench. An open part of the trail filled with yellow dandelions and picturesque views of pastures and hills. Worth taking a minute to have a snack, water and take in the moment. Once you get there, you can descend back into the woods and take several different trail options.

Vermont Kingdom Trails, Biking, East Burke

All in all I believe we biked almost 4 miles. It does not sound like a lot, but when you are in the woods and going over small hills, mud and other obstacles, it takes a bit more time than usual to get through. An important thing to consider if you visit is attire. Please, PLEASE do yourself a favor and purchase biking shorts. Yes the ones with the padding. Your bum will thank you for it! Gloves are also essential in helping with grip and avoiding calluses. Lightweight breathable clothing layered is best. Don’t forget the sunscreen an eye wear and of course, a helmet!

Vermont Kingdom Trails, biking, East burkeAfter 3 hours of trail riding we were looking forward to checking out the bike shop and The Hub Trailside for some libations and views. The Hub offers beer, cider, wine and snacks overlooking a beautiful landscape. Grab an Adirondack chair and drink and relax your legs while taking in the scene.

Just up the street from The Hub is a beautiful Chapel. The Chapel is open to the public and offers an outside area for rosary as well as bathrooms for weary bikers. I found a beautiful poem inside offering prayers and safety for bikers on the trails and a breathtaking cross right outside. Worth the ride up the long driveway to take some gorgeous pictures.

Vermont Kingdom Trails, biking, East Burke

After visiting the East Burke bike shop and glass of wine it was time to indulge in some ice cream. It is hard not to stop at Ruby Lee’s. Right at the start of that uphill road to the trails is Ruby Lee’s Ice Cream. All the bike riders seem to end up there for some much deserved treats. Locally made and homemade, this was just what we needed after working so hard and a great way to cool off. But get ready to wait in line for your ice cream. It was packed!

Vermont Kingdom Trails, Biking, East Burke

If you are an avid biker and haven’t experienced Kingdom Trails in East Burke Vermont, it is a must for any adventure seeker. For more information on Kingdom Trails log onto http://kingdomtrails.org/