The town of Burke, VT is a quiet little town split into the two villages of East and West Burke. Home to just over 1700 people, this past weekend saw the population of Burke quadruple as legions of mountain bikers descended on the small town to take part in this years NEMBA Fest.
The Festival, located at the top of Darling Hill Rd. gave riders easy access to miles and miles of single track ranging from tame to outrageous. A small skills area adjacent to the Vendors expo was a hive of young shredders, buzzing feverishly around the dusty track all day Friday until the sun dipped over the rolling green mountains. When looking around the grounds of NEMBA Fest it is no wonder why the Festival has just signed on for another 5 years at the Kingdom Trails. The vendor booths tucked neatly in rows, the camping area extends on for what would seem like miles on either side of Darling Hill Rd. and there is a bike shop serving beer on the grounds.
While having the ability to test new bikes, eat food, have a couple beers with your pals is a wonderful way to spend the weekend, the highlight of events like NEMBA Fest is bringing the mountain bike community together as a whole. I will be the first to admit that I would love to be out in the middle of the Kingdom Trails on a Wednesday morning without a soul around but the little kamikaze ground squirrels and myself. However, there is something special about being around all kinds of different people that all share one thing in common.
Vermont has long owned a little sliver of my heart. There was a time when I dreamt of attending Marlboro College to study photography and writing, spending my winters sliding sideways down the mountains and my summers cycling around. Honestly, I still kind of dream about doing that and now after a proper taste of the Kingdom Trails, I am looking for any excuse to venture back. If you are looking for a reason to travel to the Kingdom Trails I suggest putting the NEMBA Fest on your calendar for next summer, you won’t be disappointed.