Gorgeous earthy tones. A base near pretty ski routes. A distinct European atmosphere. This Vermont town, Stowe, ticks all the boxes for those looking for the authentic New England experience. Nestled behind this town, within a leafy New England grove, is an Austrian-style chalet situated on 2,500 acres of abundant woodland. This bucolic homestead is the historic home of the Von Trapp Family, yes, the same family featured in The Sound of Music. This pretty countryside lodge accepts visitors to stay on its peaceful grounds, so we invite Sound of Music aficionados to make the pilgrimage to New England on a guided tour. You’ll walk in the footsteps of the Von Trapps by staying at their family house, after cruising through New England’s gorgeously quaint scenery.
HOW AN AUSTRIAN FAMILY MOVED FROM SALZBURG TO STOWE
Though much of the musical is exaggerated and fabricated, as is common in showbusiness, the story of the von Trapp family is as inspiring in reality as it is in fiction. One can only admire the family’s tenacity and grace in the face of difficult obstacles. First came financial ruin, spurred by the Great Depression. With the aid of chaplain and musical mentor Father Wasner, the von Trapp family went from hobbyist singers in their local Salzburg church to performing in European tours, bringing them back from the throes of financial instability.
Next, oppression. In 1938 Nazi Germany annexed Austria. Captain von Trapp refused an invitation to join the German forces due to his vehement contempt for Nazi ideology. The family soon realized it was time to leave. They fled through Europe to eventually arrive in America. Accompanied by Father Wasner they became ‘The Trapp Family Singers’ – a moniker under which they toured professionally throughout the United States. After years of expired visas and bouncing in and out of the country, they finally settled in Stowe, Vermont. They built their new home ‘on an enchanted farm with sweeping mountain vistas reminiscent of their beloved Austria.’
THE SLEEPY VERMONT TOWN THAT LOOKS STRIKINGLY LIKE AUSTRIA
Indeed, the small, sleepy town of Stowe and its surrounds have a distinctive European quality that calls forth pictures of Austria. Take Mount Mansfield, its undulating hills could easily be mistaken for those found in the musical’s opening scene, shot only 30 minutes from Salzburg. Several streams meander through the countryside, winding through the peaceful woodland just like in the Alps. Even the architecture is remarkably European – take the Stowe community church, whose steeple mirrors the church spires found in typical Austrian towns, such as Hallstatt. After months of being on the road, the von Trapp family had found their home.
STAYING AT THE VON TRAPP FAMILY HOUSE
On your tour through New England, you’ll live out your Sound of Music dreams and experience a slice of Austria in this little corner of the USA. As you stay two nights at the Von Trapp Family House, you’ll notice the resort is designed like a typical Austrian ski lodge, with vaulted ceilings, a bierhall and kaffehause, and a warm, homely atmosphere inside.
You can amble through the lush countryside on hiking trails, take rural wagon and sleigh rides, and explore cross-country skiing routes. You’ll enjoy an indoor and outdoor pool, several restaurants, and a fitness club on-site. During your stay, you may even meet one of the children or grandchildren of the original family, such as Johannes, who runs the Lodge and is the youngest of the original Trapp children. The lodge hosts a working farm raising Scottish Highland cattle, pigs, chickens, and fresh vegetables to be used in the on-site restaurants. The farm also creates its own produce, such as maple syrup and Austrian-style beers. With the lush countryside, coupled with the quaint European-style lodge with its little farm, one could for a moment believe they really were in a quiet corner of the Alps.
Take your Sound of Music adventure and discover the vibrant beauty of New England’s Fall Foliage.