The story of the von Trapp Family is quite possibly the most well-known story in history. But for the von Trapps, their story didn’t end with the closing credits of a blockbuster musical or in the hills of Austria.
Maria and Captain Von Trapp had an amazing love story and a unique family that inspired one of the most memorable musicals of all time. Here, you get to go ‘behind the scenes’ and find out the real story behind Hollywood’s version. Most of the story is true…with just a few discrepancies. The family’s rich history took them on a fascinating journey as world famous singers that led them to name their eventual new home in Stowe, Vermont for its Salzburg like vibe.
The Trapp Family Lodge is a little bit of Austria with a lot of Vermont. It’s a magnificent 2,500-acre resort in the European tradition, combining the charm and elegance of an Austrian alpine lodge with the comforts and conveniences of a modern resort (including wood burning fireplaces everywhere). The hospitality here is really above and beyond—a few days at the Lodge and everyone will be greeting you by name.
Sam Von Trapp came to help his father, Johannes von Trapp, run the Lodge a couple years ago after a decade long stint as a ski instructor through Chili, Brazil and Aspen. Sam takes pride in his family’s history and the past he’s been handed down; he dedicates himself entirely to making sure it continues to be the legendary property it is today. Sam hangs out at the breakfast buffet every morning, chats up guests on the trails and is always involved with the intense maple sugaring process, the traditional ‘von Trapp’ way. That involves using a gathering sled, a team of horses and lots of muscle—every 40 gallons of sap creates one gallon of absolutely perfect maple syrup.
Gain respect with the locals by telling them you skied to the ‘cabin’; they’ll know exactly where you mean.
Sam’s dad, Johannes, has his own legacy as the man responsible for putting cross country skiing on the map when he opened America’s first commercial ski center here in ’68.One of the rites of passage in these woods is a trek up to the Slayton Pasture cabin, an authentic hideaway cabin with no easy access that you really get to earn your trip to—3.1 miles of scenic uphill forestry. Waiting upon your frozen arrival is the cabin keeper, Mike, who has hot chili and warm cider for you to refuel before the snowshoe trek or cross country flight downhill.
The Trapp Family Lodge has a very farm to table attitude that they’ve inherited from their ancestors and keep alive in every meal. They have their own herd of Highland Cows, a beautiful, furry, ‘hairy coo’ from Scotland that does well in the Vermont winters, and use their own produce from their vegetable gardens when possible, or buy local. The Highland Cows are a sight to see—strange, beautiful creatures happily grazing in the middle of cow heaven. They taste pretty good in the chili that Mike serves at the cabin, too.
The formal dining room is very hearty cuisine with a sophisticated touch, and the Lounge is similar lighter fare for a more laid back dinner by the fireplace. But after a long day on the trails, when you’re achy and cold and have earned a good bite and a beer, the deli/brewery is where it’s at. Johannes von Trapp opened the family brewery two years ago and it has just taken off—traditional Austrian style lagers that take a little longer to create than the typical ale but are so worth it. Their current seasonal winter lager is a delicious espresso laced stout called Trösten (meaning comfort in German).
Harmony is a simple word that captures the essence of what makes Trapp Family Lodge and resort such a special place. The entire family is dedicated to preserving their legacy and living off the land the way their grandparents did. It’s a mountain escape to remind you of what is really important—family, history, and a true connection to the land. It’s a New England treasure.