Family Travel with the von Trapp Family

By Melanie Nayer

soundofmusicWe learned about octaves with do-re-mi and fought our fears with a few of our favorite things, but the most important lesson taught by Captain Georg von Trapp and the Baroness Maria von Trapp was the importance of family. The lesson lives on through generations and no where is it more prominent than at the Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe, Vermont.

The 1965 movie, “The Sound of Music,” was made famous by Christopher Plummer and Julie Andrews and recounted the voyage of the von Trapp family as they sang their way through Austria to escape Nazi rule. A favorite family film, images of Maria running through the Salzburg hills during the opening credits will forever be burned in our memory. But when the von Trapps moved to America in the 1950s, the hills in Stowe, Vermont, really started to sing.

On a recent trip to the Trapp Family Lodge I had the pleasure of walking the hills with Sam von Trapp, grandson of Maria, and got a first hand look at how the family lodge maintains its family legacy, and welcomes families around the world into their hillside history.

The three-hour drive from Boston winds through some of New England’s most picturesque towns, including a drive through the sleepy town of Stowe. The turn onto Trapp Hill Road takes you up the mountain to the lodge. One step inside and you’re immediately taken by the Austrian-inspired decor and friendly faces eager to welcome you home. Don’t forget to turn around and get a view of the mountains behind you…

The sugarhouse

The sugarhouse

The day got underway as we set into our snow-shoes and trekked the hills toward the sugarhouse. Every March, the staff and von Trapp family members start the tradition of maple sugaring, using buckets to collect sap, and using a sled and a team of draft horses to gather sap. The sugar is boiled down in the sugarhouse and used to make the von Trapp’s own maple syrup.

I was scheduled to meet a group at the ski center for a historic tour of the lodge, which one member of the von Trapp family always attends. To my surprise, I was the only one who showed up and the pleasure was truly mine. Nelson, a local actor and Trapp Family Lodge staff member, started the tour with a moving rendition of “Edelweiss”. The words set the tone for what we were about to experience: “Edelweiss, Edelweiss, Every morning you greet me. Small and white, clean and bright; You look happy to meet me. Blossom of snow may you bloom and grow; Bloom and grow forever. Edelweiss, Edelweiss; Bless my homeland forever.”