Sounds, Sweets, and Lessons in Vermont


We took the opportunity on Tuesday the 26th to travel into northern Vermont.  Our primary destination was the Trapp Family Lodge in the mountains of Stowe.  This Lodge is owned and operated by the Trapp, a family which gained world wide attention via the movie ‘The Sound of Music’ (though they were of course well known singers too).  While we have been driving on this trip we have been listening to ‘The Story of the Trapp Family Singers’, a book written by Maria Von Trapp.  Wendy has been doing a wonderful job of reading this book while we drive between our various destinations.

The book tells the real story of this family. Though the Sound of Music does a pretty good job of expressing the spirit of their journey, it is as one might expect, not completely accurate.  A simple example is that the Hollywood rendition changed all the children’s names and even their birth order, and in fact, the family did not flee over the Alps to escape the Nazi’s (they actually took a train and then eventually a boat to America).

We took part in a history tour at the lodge, where we learned about numerous other differences between Hollywood and reality, and what role the farm, and eventual lodge in Vermont that we were visiting played.  We watched a video interview with the real Maria Von Trapp during her last visit to Austria, and visited a private cemetery where Maria, the Baron, and most of the children are buried.   At the end we met Kristina Von Trapp, Maria’s grand daughter, who answered numerous questions from the group.  The tour was extremely interesting, even for the kids, after having spent so much time lately reading the book.  The grounds of the lodge were incredible and the the view from where we stood was amazing, in fact this location was selected by Maria because the surrounding mountains reminded her of their old home in Austria.

After leaving, we stumbled upon the Ben & Jerry’s factory, took part in the factory tour, and of course got some amazing ice cream.  One thing we didn’t totally need, though it was no surprise for us, was the subtle (or not so subtle) political message that was presented in various ways at the factory and in a video shown during the tour (like a video on marriage equality playing in the lobby).  The tour proved to be quite a disappointment (especially after having to stand in a long line) and you only saw the ‘factory’ for a couple minutes, and it was essentially just one large room.  One fun little spot they had was the flavor graveyard.  Here they lay to rest flavors that didn’t make the cut, complete with tombstone and epitaphs.

The trip to and from these destinations proved interesting as well because of the side streets we had to take on the over one and a half hour drive each way.  We felt like we really got to see some authentic New England mountain villages and homes and again.. the waterway where amazing!

This day proved to be one worthy of a bit of reflection.  In reading the book on the Trapp family, and then visiting the lodge, you learned how many ups and downs this family went through.  First losing their fortune as local banks when bankrupt as a result of the growth of Germany, then loosing their property when they fled (with only backpacks of belongings) the Nazi’s.  Later after arriving in America they had but four dollars to their name (though it goes a bit further back then) with nothing but vague promises of concert dates.  Later in life their home, lodge, and main income source went up in flames and were it not for an ahead of it’s time business idea from one of the children they wouldn’t have been able to rebuild.

Maria tells the story of their constant dependance on God, and though yes, they were Catholic, we can certainly learn a bit from their story.  Our families situation is a bit uncertain at the time, professionally I’m not exactly sure which direction to head, we are approaching home schooling for the first time with children of this age, and there are a lot of transitions that are going on.  I am thankful that God has provided for us, and though that buffer won’t last forever, I know that He has a plan for our lives.  It was a good reminder learning of the Trapp family, knowing that He has a plan even when I don’t see it is very comforting.  Our faith is in Christ, and we step forward seeking Him, and His will for our lives.

Lastly, having visited the Ben & Jerry’s factory and being reminded what is happening to this world, it was an important reminder that we are called to be set apart as we are ‘not of this world’.  We belong to our Father’s Kingdom, and need to represent it by seeking Him and allowing us to be used by Him to reach those around us.

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