Nestled away in the green mountains of New England lies the little ski town of Stowe, Vt.
Located in Mount Mansfield, Vermont's highest peak, the picturesque village has charm, personality and beauty. Visitors won't find flashy commercial chains here; the community consists of lifelong residents, proud of their humble Main Street, covered bridge and historic buildings.
Founded in 1763, Stowe is most famous for its world-class ski resort.
"Stowe has over 2,000 vertical feet of top-to-bottom skiing and snowboarding," says Stowe Resort communications director Jeff Wise. With more than 100 different trails, the mountain provides 485 acres of skiable space. Although Stowe gets more visitors in the summer, the winter months provide families with ample outdoor activities including horse-drawn sleigh rides, snowmobiling and cross-country skiing.
"Our cross-country ski trail system is phenomenal," says Sam von Trapp, operations director at Trapp Family Lodge. "My father actually started the first commercial cross-country ski resort in the United States back in 1968."
The resort offers guests more than seven miles of trails for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. "People head up to the Slayton Pastor Cabin. It's about a three-mile hike and a great workout. People can dry out in front of the fireplace and get ready for the exciting ski back."
The Trapp Family Lodge, a 96-room Austrian-style hotel, sits just a few miles down the road from the village of Stowe on a breathtaking 2,400 acres. The same family of "The Sound of Music" fame, the von Trapps made Vermont their permanent residence in 1942 because the mountains reminded them of the home they fled in Austria. They started the hotel in 1950, and today Sam von Trapp runs the lodge with his father Johannas, the youngest child born to Maria and Captain Gehrig von Trapp.
Stowe, Vt., Represents Quintessential New England
"Most people who know the movie knew of the seven children from the Baron and his first wife. But in reality there were 10 children in total, my father was the youngest of three born to my grandparents after they were married," says von Trapp.
Christy Patt, a 40-year resident of Stowe and finance manager for Stowe Area Association, says she will never leave.
"It gives me peace and it's a place where I feel comfortable," she says. "The people are inviting, and the mountains are amazing. I get up every morning and feel like I am in a postcard."
Unique as Stowe is, the mountain landscape gives the town the quintessential New England feel.
"Stowe has the great natural beauty, and a Norman Rockwell-type of village with the white steeple church and the historic buildings on Main Street," says Neil Van Dyke, owner of the Golden Eagle Resort.
"There's something about this corner of Vermont that brings out the good in people," von Trapp says. "Stowe just attracts an amazing group of people. So whether it's those who live here or those who visit, you are guaranteed to have amazing interactions with very special folks."