The kitchen staff made the whole meal special, even our reserved table

When two obvious interests collide, why not make a weekend out of it? That cracking idea was not mine. A multi-year running camp athlete and a handful of big-thinking running coaches came up with the concept: an autumn weekend of trail running and local craft beer drinking. Less of a camp, more of a weekend blast of goodness. Trails2Ales was our first go at it and golly, it was fun. It was made all the better by holding it in conjunction with our social event of the year: Oktoberfest. Why not?

Coach Jo Jo and I stayed at the Center after the second Foliage and Running weekend. We gallivanted around the Northeast Kingdom in the rain sleuthing trail options, figuring out drive times and dropping in at Hill Farmstead Brewery ( and Lost Nation Brewing ( to investigate the offerings. It was a taxing assignment but we managed to put together the weekend schedule and get plenty of miles in during the week — over 100 for Jo Jo and 71 for me. We were ready!

Jo Jo and I ran in the rain figuring out where to run at Kingdom Trails. This was our starting point at Mountain View Farm.

Jo Jo likes the River Run trail overlooking the Passumpsic River

Nine inveterate trail runner/craft beer devotees plus four coaches showed up for the fun and the NEK had its best glorious autumn garb on full display with warm sunshine, blue bird skies and blazing leaves. We ran our full and fun collection of single track here at the Center on Friday afternoon followed by a raucous social Friday night before dinner. There were too many Hill Farmstead growlers to keep track of as we enjoyed the kitchen’s patented cheese board plus spiced nuts and grapes.

Before we set off to explore Burke’s trails, every runner had a map and a two hour window to run free. Most of us ran 10 miles with a few others logging more.

Those Craftsbury vans come in handy after a scintillating trail run!

Mike’s Tiki Bar was loaded with mountain bikers kicking back so we joined in with our picnic lunches. With 30 beers on tap and miles under our belts we were grooving.

Over lunch, Ashley and Spence compare notes on where they ran

Running buddies at home, Mac and Mike were happy all weekend

Frank returned to Craftsbury for a second time and brought along his sweetie pie wife, Stephanie

A plethora of memorable Mikes

Last pack lunches of the season — the kitchen always gives us the best grub

Dave and Caleb wait for manager Becky to assist — Jo Jo and I met her when we were trail sleuthing and she told us to bring the gang

Caleb and Ashley get extra mileage credit for toting the lunches back and forth while Dave keeps them company

Burke’s Kingdom Trails (kingdom drew us on Saturday with the big reward of Mike’s Tiki Bar ( post-run. The Oktoberfest social and dinner in the autumn-y bedecked Main Lodge of the AC was a treat on Saturday night. Our post-dinner Cedar social went into the night and the Cedar kitchen counter was getting overloaded with rinsed and drying growlers.

The AC was bustling, cheery and rife with superb food and company during the Oktoberfest feast

Sunday morning found us rousting out early to head over to Mount Elmore for the challenging uphill run/scramble up the Ridge Trail to the fire tower for the big pay-off view. 10k later we were swimming in Lake Elmore and finishing off another Lost Nation growler as well as enjoying yesterday’s picnic lunch snack leftovers.

Triumphant at the top of Mt. Elmore

Good beer at 10:00am — why not?

The weekend was far too short and far too fun. What about another try at it in 2016 but for four days instead? Give me a shout if you are interested at See you next summer and keep an eye out for the full 2016 schedule on our website

Trails2Ales was a fabulous end to the running camp season — let’s do it again in 2016!




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