Growing up I was always an Adirondack girl. My aunt and uncle owned a lakeside cabin about two hours west of Lake George, so we never had to venture too far north for a serene vacation in the woods.
But this year, I learned that you can be an Adirondack AND a Vermont girl. I went with my boyfriend and his family to Stowe, VT where we stayed at the historical Von Trapp Lodge. I’m hesitant to admit this, but until this visit, I had not seen The Sound of Music. If you haven’t seen it yet, do yourself a favor and go watch it before reading on. For those of you who have seen it, I’m sure the Von Trapp name sounds familiar to you.
In the early 1940s, the von Trapp family toured the United States as the Trapp Family Singers before eventually settling in Stowe, Vermont on an enchanted farm with sweeping mountain vistas reminiscent of their beloved Austria. In the summer of 1950, they began welcoming guests to a rustic, 27-room family home/lodge. After a devastating fire in 1980, the original structure was replaced by the new Trapp Family Lodge, a striking, 96-room alpine lodge situated on 2,500 acres offering magnificent indoor and outdoor resort amenities. The entire property is owned and operated by the von Trapp family.
Our trip was everything we could have asked for in an autumn escape. Check out some of our recommendations below!
At The Lodge:
Von Trapp Brewing Bierhall: This place is the perfect location on the resort for a bite to eat or a flight of brews. They have a wide selection of fresh lager beers and several Austrian inspired lunch and dinner selections. You do have to make a reservation in advance for this restaurant and any others on site. We learned this the hard way showing up on a Saturday for lunch only to be told the next reservation wasn’t until 8 p.m.
Check out their beer list here: https://www.vontrappbrewing.com/von-trapp-lagers-and-beers.htm
On-Site Activities: The lodge offers an extensive amount of activities for guests to take part in that change weekly depending on the time of year you visit. When we visited in late October they were offering sugar maple tours, guided hikes, and morning visits to their farm animals. Our lodge was conveniently located next to the sheep pen, so we were able to enjoy our morning cup of joe with some friends. We also took a walk one morning to go spend some time with the Scottish highland cows. They were just the cutest!
Full calendar of events: https://www.trappfamily.com/activities-calendar.aspx
Breweries + Cideries: It’s no secret that Vermont is home to a large selection of micro-breweries and cideries to choose from. In the town of Stowe alone, there was a handful on our list that we wanted to try out. Our first stop was to Stowe Cider, a long time favorite of ours that we were dying to finally try on-site. In addition to their classic dry, semi-dry, and sweet ciders they have year-round, there’s also a selection of rotating flavors to try. I decided to venture out of my comfort zone and try their Vermont Grown Blueberry Maple Syrup Cider and it was incredible. I was a bit hesitant with the maple as I steer toward dry ciders, but they managed to get the flavor without all the sweetness.
Another favorite of ours was Idletyme Brewing. We cozied up next to a fireplace and enjoyed a flight of some of the best-tasting beers I’ve had in a while (and that’s saying something as I’m not usually a beer drinker). When we go back again, we’d like to get the full experience at The Alchemist. Unfortunately, they were closed for indoor seating due to COVID, but that didn’t stop Rory from getting his favorite brew the Heady Topper IPA to go.
Downtown Shopping: I still cannot stop raving about the Stowe Mercantile! I stopped by this store at least three times during our stay and highly recommend cutting out enough time to explore every corner of this place. There’s something for just about everyone here and it’s the perfect place to get your holiday shopping done. Located right above the Mercantile is Cafe on Main, a cute shop offering delish coffee that’s conveniently located next to Bear Pond Books. You can’t get much better than a cup of coffee and a good book. A few other stores we loved include Country Store on Main and Remarkable Things.
If you’re interested in exploring beyond Stowe, we have a few additional recommendations for you.
If you have the afternoon, stop by Waterbury:
Michaels On The Hill, a small farm-to-table restaurant just 20 minutes away was just divine! It was the perfect destination for a special evening out. Our meals included: Truffle Mushroom Gnocchi, Skillet Chicken, and Smoked Maple Syrup Glazed Pork Shank.
Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Factory: Chilling temperatures didn’t deter us from visiting the famous Ice Cream Factory. Although we weren’t able to take a tour of the factory, we enjoyed our cones while exploring the property. A trip here wouldn’t be complete without a stop by the flavor graveyard. It was here I found my once all-time favorite flavor Creme Brulee buried. I had been searching the shelves for it for years, and had no clue it was laid to rest over 8 years ago!
Vermont Artisan Coffee & Tea: We passed by this coffee shop on our way to the lodge that first day and we knew we had to stop by. I’m so grateful we did because this place was super cute and they had the most delicious pastries. I bought some coffee beans to go and we tried a raspberry bar and a lavender muffin.
If you have the entire day, head up to Burlington:
Where to Eat: There are many dining locations to choose from in the heart of the town center. We decided to stop by The Farmhouse Tap and Grill since they had a lovely outdoor seating arrangement on their patio with heat lamps. Our meals hit the spot and kept our bellies full for the long day of exploring ahead. Pictured is a Cheddar Ale Soup, onion rings, and one of their seasonal salads because it’s all about ~ balance ~ right?
Downtown Shopping: You need the day to make it in and out of every store down Church Street. This is the main strip of shopping and we stopped in as many as we could before our feet tired out. Some of our favorites include Earthbound Trading Company, Homeport Vermont, and Lake Champlain Chocolates.
On your way home, stop by Woodstock:
If you’re in no rush to go back home and are open to a bit of a detour we highly recommend paying a visit to Woodstock. Nestled in the backwoods of Vermont, this historic village is something straight out of a movie scene. Or some may argue a scary movie scene as we hit random dead zones with zero bars of service as we were exploring. We stopped by a cute coffee shop and a few stores while we were here all while taking in the beautiful buildings.