Breaking News Bar
posted: 12/14/2013 5:45 AM

New musical renews interest in Von Trapps' Vt. lodge

hello
Success - Article sent! close
  • After a televised live update of "The Sound of Music" aired on NBC recently, the hills of Vermont were alive with phones ringing at the Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe, Vt. Three-quarters of a century after the singing family arrived from Austria, they're still in demand at the 96-room chalet style inn they started.

      After a televised live update of "The Sound of Music" aired on NBC recently, the hills of Vermont were alive with phones ringing at the Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe, Vt. Three-quarters of a century after the singing family arrived from Austria, they're still in demand at the 96-room chalet style inn they started.
    Associated Press File Photo

  • In 1984, the Von Trapp family gathered at the new Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe, Vt., to celebrate the birthday of Maria Von Trapp, center.

      In 1984, the Von Trapp family gathered at the new Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe, Vt., to celebrate the birthday of Maria Von Trapp, center.
    Associated Press File Photo

 
By Lisa Rathke, Associated Press

STOWE, Vt. -- Even if it's good for business, NBC's revival of "The Sound of Music" wasn't one of the von Trapps' favorite things.

Three-quarters of a century after they arrived from Austria, and in the week since the televised version of the musical classic became a national topic of conversation, the singing family and the vacation lodge it runs in the hills of Vermont are in high demand.

Order Reprint Print Article
 
Interested in reusing this article?
Custom reprints are a powerful and strategic way to share your article with customers, employees and prospects.
The YGS Group provides digital and printed reprint services for Daily Herald. Complete the form to the right and a reprint consultant will contact you to discuss how you can reuse this article.
Need more information about reprints? Visit our Reprints Section for more details.

Contact information ( * required )

Success - request sent close

And yes, the family was watching as Carrie Underwood, in a widely watched and panned performance, took over the role of Maria von Trapp, made famous on Broadway by Mary Martin and on film by Julie Andrews.

Kristina von Trapp, granddaughter of the real Maria von Trapp, who died in 1987, visited guests as it was shown at the inn in Stowe. And in a blog post, Francoise von Trapp, daughter of Maria von Trapp's stepson Rupert, questioned the casting.

"For everyone who thought the whole thing was wonderful and that NBC did a spectacular job, I say maybe your expectations weren't high to begin with," she wrote. "If they hoped to have created a new holiday classic, I think they missed their mark."

But they aren't denying the musical is helping business, even if the majority of callers are merely curious and not making reservations.

"It definitely stirred up a lot of conversation wanting to know was the family watching, things like that," said Jennifer Vincent, the lodge's marketing director.

It wasn't entirely unexpected. Whenever the movie starring Andrews and Christopher Plummer airs on television -- typically around Christmas -- the lodge gets a lot of traffic on its website and social media, Vincent said.

More than 18 million people tuned in to the revival, according to the Nielsen company. NBC plans an encore broadcast at 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14.

The musical and movie are a fictionalized account of the life of Maria von Trapp and tell the story of a 1930s Austrian governess who teaches her charges to sing and falls in love with her employer, naval captain Georg von Trapp, and the family's flight during World War II.

They moved to Vermont in 1942 after visiting during a singing tour and vacationing in Stowe.

"They enjoyed the kind of quality of people that were here in Vermont," said Sam Messer, who gives tours of the lodge. "They loved kind of the work ethic and stick-to-it-iveness."

They built a rustic farmhouse and started taking in boarders. As a ski industry developed in the area, they expanded. Fire destroyed it in 1980, but the family rebuilt.

One of the captain's daughters, also named Maria von Trapp, would play accordion and teach Austrian dance with sister Rosemarie at the lodge. Rosemarie also taught her sons how to play the recorder, said Phoebe Everson, of Plattsburgh, N.Y., who has been a visitor for decades.

Four of the 10 von Trapp siblings are still alive, although none live at the lodge anymore. At least three are still in Vermont.

The 96-room chalet style inn is the height of charm during the holidays. With its wide views of the mountains that reminded the family of their native Austria, the lodge is decorated with Christmas trees and poinsettias. In the restaurants, Wiener schnitzel and apple strudel are on the menu, as well as the family's beer and some dishes coming from the Scotch cattle and egg-laying hens they raise.

Photographs line the halls showing the von Trapp girls in Austrian-style dresses, or the family pouring concrete for the foundation and doing the haying and maple sugaring -- which they still do.

Aside from a large network of cross-country ski trails, the inn offers fitness and yoga classes, snowshoeing, mountain biking, summer concerts and wine tastings, as well as occasional harp lessons -- and frequent music.

On Christmas Eve, guests get a special treat: The von Trapp family sings Christmas carols with the guests. But no songs from "The Sound of Music."

Share this page
Comments ()
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.
    help here