Trip Report - New England Fall Foliage Sep 2022 - UPDATE 1/22/23

sayhello

Have Camera, Will Travel
Joined
Oct 28, 2006
ABD New England Fall Foliage Tour 9/23/22 - 10/01/22

Day 0 - pre-day in Burlington VT.


Hello there! Now that things have settled down, and the Forum formatting has decided to cooperate and let me start a new Thread (hopefully it will stay that way!) I'm going to start posting my trip report for my New England Fall Foliage ABD. When it came to booking travel for 2022, I just didn't quite feel confident enough yet to book an international trip, so I was very happy to see ABD offer a new domestic trip to New England (Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine). I had been to Burlington, VT before, but that was in 2002, so twenty years ago! And I had been to Portland, ME (which is not on the ABD) and *THAT* was in 1980, so a LOT MORE years ago. And that's the only time I'd been to any of those states. So I was looking forward to a beautiful domestic trip to a place I hadn't been and really would love to see, with NO TIMEZONE CHANGE!!

So I arrived a day early into Burlington. Thankfully, my flights were relatively OK, with the first leg slightly delayed, but I still made my connection OK. It took *forever* to get our luggage in the Burlington airport. It's a pretty small airport, so NO idea what the holdup was (well over half an hour). As soon as my suitcase arrived and I grabbed it off the belt, a lovely woman swooped in. Apparently I'd walked right past my driver on my way to the carousel, and she wasn't holding a sign as we all waited. But that bright orange ABD strap was a dead giveaway! Off we went to the Hilton Burlington Lake Champlain.

The room was quite nice, but the best thing was when I opened the curtains to the window and found *this* gorgeous view of the sun setting over Lake Champlain. Yes, please!

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I'd corresponded with some people on fb who were going to be on this ABD with me, and arranged to join a couple (the Davises) on a Ghost Tour that they were taking that night in Old Burlington. I love doing things like Ghost tours or Food tours in a new city. It's a great way to learn some history and some of the culture of a new place, as well as experience locals and just get a good lay of the land. The tour was a great deal of fun. We also walked to a local-ish brewpub afterwards, that the husband had researched, for some local brews and some late-night snacks. It had gotten rather windy, and rather cold on our walk, but was definitely worth it.

Our Ghost tour guide.

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A very haunted old mansion. Currently houses a business, but Strange Things have occurred there!

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Day 1 - New England Welcome!

I woke up the next morning at a normal time (YAY no Time Zone Change!!) to a really gorgeous morning. I got ready, had some breakfast, and then met up with our amazing Adventure Guides, Tiffany and Mike T., for questions and meal surveys and just general chit-chat. They are wonderful! After that, I headed out to walk around Downtown Burlington. There was apparently going to be a craft fair/market going on at the town square, plus there are a lot of nice shops right off of the town square on Church Street, which is a pedestrian only road. Very cool. I bought a scarf and a a cool, African-style fan and a lovely necklace. I also scored a free scoop of Ben & Jerry's ice cream that they were giving out over by City Hall. Then I wandered in and out the shops on Church Street, and bought myself a pretty little necklace in one of the shops. All in all, a VERY pleasant way to spend the morning.

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Church Street

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Continued in next post.
 
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sayhello

Have Camera, Will Travel
Joined
Oct 28, 2006
I then met up with the Davises for a lovely lunch on the outdoor patio of a brewpub, and then we wandered the craft booths some more, then headed back to the hotel to clean up for the Welcome Dinner.

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Ben's lunch. Not mine. Looked great, though!

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My lunch. I usually don't get to eat many salads while on an ABD, so try and get some nice salads in during pre-days.

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Church Street with (imagine that!) a church at one end!

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At the corner where the original Ben & Jerry's was opened in an old gas station. It's a parking lot now.

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The Welcome Dinner was a typical hotel conference room buffet, but the food was good and the desserts yummy. I found out that one of the women on the trip went to the same High School that I did, like 5 years before me. Small world!

Unfortunately, the "highlight" was me falling over backwards on my chair! I was talking to the folks around me about the horrible time I'd had on Pirates of the Caribbean in Shanghai, where the teeny-tiny Chinese girls on the bench with me insisted on pulling the lap bar so tight that I *literally* couldn't breathe. As I mimed how they pulled back on the bar, suddenly I was flying backwards! Turns out the legs on the chair were loose! Fortunately, I didn't hit anything on my way down (and wasn't wearing a skirt!) so all was well. But it was an interesting way to introduce myself!

Continued in Day 2 - Burlingtons of Fun

Sayhello
 
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Mathmagicland

Disneyland - the original since 1955
Joined
Jul 26, 2014
I then met up with the Davises for a lovely lunch on the outdoor patio of a brewpub, and then we wandered the craft booths some more, then headed back to the hotel to clean up for the Welcome Dinner.

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Ben's lunch. Not mine. Looked great, though!

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My lunch. I usually don't get to eat many salads while on an ABD, so try and get some nice salads in during pre-days.

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Church Street with (imagine that!) a church at one end!

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At the corner where the original Ben & Jerry's was opened in an old gas station. It's a parking lot now.

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The Welcome Dinner was a typical hotel conference room buffet, but the food was good and the desserts yummy. I found out that one of the women on the trip went to the same High School that I did, like 5 years before me. Small world!

Unfortunately, the "highlight" was me falling over backwards on my chair! I was talking to the folks around me about the horrible time I'd had on Pirates of the Caribbean in Shanghai, where the teeny-tiny Chinese girls on the bench with me insisted on pulling the lap bar so tight that I *literally* couldn't breathe. As I mimed how they pulled back on the bar, suddenly I was flying backwards! Turns out the legs on the chair were loose! Fortunately, I didn't hit anything on my way down (and wasn't wearing a skirt!) so all was well. But it was an interesting way to introduce myself!

Continued in Day 2 - Burlingtons of Fun!

Sayhello
Great to see you can start this, it is bringing back good memories. Can’t wait to read the rest of it.
 

happily single

Left foot first!
Joined
Jan 12, 2008
what beautiful pictures. I can't wait for hte rest of the report. I've lived in NE my entire life, but I still love to explore it
 
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sayhello

Have Camera, Will Travel
Joined
Oct 28, 2006
Great to see you can start this, it is bringing back good memories. Can’t wait to read the rest of it.
I'm hoping to keep going as long as the website cooperates! :)

what beautiful pictures. I can't wait for hte rest of the report. I've lived in NE my entire life, but I still love to explore it
Thanks! You live in a beautiful part of the country! More report soon!

Sayhello
 

AquaDame

DCL
Moderator
Joined
Jul 7, 2010
Between the sunshine and that yummy food, we're clearly in for a treat! Thank you for sharing, and I'm glad you were OK after that tumble!
 

sayhello

Have Camera, Will Travel
Joined
Oct 28, 2006
Between the sunshine and that yummy food, we're clearly in for a treat! Thank you for sharing, and I'm glad you were OK after that tumble!
The weather, for the most part, was amazing! And we certainly ate well! Everyone was pretty worried about the fall, but I was honestly fine, just majorly surprised! And very lucky!

Yay! A SayHello trip report! Looking forward to following along, but oh my goodness on the fall. So glad you are okay!
Thanks! Getting injured would not have been a good way to start! I was very lucky!

Sayhello
 

aggiedog

DIS Veteran
Joined
May 13, 2012
My huge extended family is all from NE Massachusetts and our reunions are up in New Hampshire. Not quite the exact same place, but your pictures are bringing me good memories! Looks like a great trip so far.
 

sayhello

Have Camera, Will Travel
Joined
Oct 28, 2006
My huge extended family is all from NE Massachusetts and our reunions are up in New Hampshire. Not quite the exact same place, but your pictures are bringing me good memories! Looks like a great trip so far.
Glad to bring you good memories! More to come soon!

Sayhello
 

sayhello

Have Camera, Will Travel
Joined
Oct 28, 2006
Day 2 - Burlingtons of Fun

Day 2 started out as a gorgeous morning, although the predictions were that we'd have rain by lunch time.

Enjoying the view from my room again!

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Now one thing I forgot to mention in my first post was that there was something different about this trip for me. For the first time ever, I did not bring a separate camera on this trip. I'd just purchased a new Samsung Galaxy S21 phone which was reported to have a really excellent camera. So I decided to move into the 2020s and just use my camera phone. There were a couple of things I couldn't do with the phone (really clear super-zoomed photos for one) but overall, I thought the phone did an outstanding job, and I'm really happy with the photos from this trip.

Anyways, we started out the day at the Shelburne Museum just outside of Burlington. Electra Havemeyer Webb, who was an *extremely* wealthy woman (her father owned 90% + of the largest sugar refining company in the US, and her husband was a Vanderbilt) over the years amassed a humongous collection of art, artifacts, Americana and buildings to display it all in. When they Summered in Vermont, she would see a building in the area that she liked, and buy it and have it moved to the grounds she'd bought. Then she would install her "collection of collections" in them. In a couple of cases, since she couldn't buy the buildings, she had them painstakingly re-created onsite. The Museum is humongous. It's fascinating to wander, look at the variety of Vermont architecture, and then check out the artwork/artifacts inside. The entry ticket is good for 2 days, and you could EASILY spend multiple days there and still not see it all!

This is the old Lake Champlain Ferry boat Ticonderoga. A FORTUNE was spent to move it to this spot over dry land (railroad tracks were laid, the boat advanced, then the tracks pulled up and moved in front, then the boat advanced, then the tracks pulled up and moved in front, etc, etc, until the ship arrived at it's present location.) Amazing what a boatload of money can do for you!

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We were split up into 2 groups for our tour of the Museum because a couple of the activities couldn't handle the entire group. I was in Mike T's group.

Our group's first activity was checking out the printer's office, which had a working printing press that we each got a turn to use to print out a souvenir post card. It took a *lot* of work to get that postcard printed!!

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We then walked around the grounds with a docent and learned the history of the Museum and of some of the specific buildings.

Some of the buildings around the museum.

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A land-locked historic lighthouse.

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The Shelburne Train Station.

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Continued in next post.
 
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sayhello

Have Camera, Will Travel
Joined
Oct 28, 2006
Our amazing Adventure Guide Mike T.

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They had a small train museum in the station building.

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Our first glimpse of Fall Color!!

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An Historic Carousel (we got to ride it!)

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This home, which was a replica of a building that Mrs. Webb wanted but couldn't purchase, was built after she died as a memorial to her. The 6 rooms in this building were dismantled from Mr & Mrs. Webb's Manhattan apartment and re-constructed on site. They included a fortune in impressionistic and other artwork collected by Mrs. Webb's parents.

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Mary Cassatt, the famous artist, was a family friend and advised Mrs. Webb's parents on a lot of their impressionist purchases. (Oh, that guy Monet? I think you might want to buy some of his work...)

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She painted this portrait of Mrs Webb as a child and her mother.

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Continued in next post.
 

sayhello

Have Camera, Will Travel
Joined
Oct 28, 2006
On board the Ticonderoga.

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A covered bridge that was moved to the property.

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Mrs Webb started her collection of Americana by collecting cigar statues.

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Maritime Americana.

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Since it had started raining, the venue for our catered Ethiopian lunch was moved from the Clemmons Family Farm to the cafeteria at the Museum, as the only covered space for us to eat at on the farm wasn't really suitable.

This woman ran her own catering business, and explained what we were going to be eating (and how to eat it). Hopefully someone else can chime in as to how the food was, as it had tomatoes in it, which I can't eat, so she had to make mine separately with no tomatoes. I found it a bit bland, but that may have been just my meal.

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Once we finished at lunch, we headed out to the Clemmons Family Farm. Dr. and Mrs Clemmons, an African American couple, moved to Vermont so that Dr. Clemmons could teach Pathology at the University. They bought this huge old farm as their family home, and actually ran it as a farm. They also traveled extensively, and accumulated a lot of African art, much of which is now on display in the "Big Barn", which was two old barns taken from around the property and put together to form a home. It now houses their art collection, along with an artists' enclave that highlights the work of African American and African Diaspora artists. It was really quite interesting.

Again, we split up, and some of us went to the Big Barn to see the art and have a conversation with one of the artists in residence. The rest went and had an art activity out in a covered area (with no walls). The art activity was a group abstract painting.

Photos weren't allowed inside the buildings.

The Big Barn.

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Our group's artwork.

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After we'd finished the art and the tour, we all settled into seats to listen to a musician from Madagascar, playing a few different African instruments.

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He was really good, and it was very interesting, but it was also rainy and windy and bone-chilling. But still very entertaining.

We then headed back to the Hotel for dinner on your own. Several people headed back out, but I was really seriously chilled, and decided that eating a club sandwich from the restaurant in the lobby, while thawing out in my room (wrapped in a blanket) sounded like a much better activity.

Up next: Day 3: I-cone-ic Vermont

Sayhello
 
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georgiagirl2

Mouseketeer
Joined
Mar 29, 2009
I am loving your trip report! Thank you for all the pictures and details. My sister and I were in VT in mid-October with a group called Country Walkers. We had such a great time and the fall colors were gorgeous. We met some ABD folks at the Burlington Airport while waiting for our luggage. I told them they were in for a treat with ABD as all of our trips with them had been fantastic.
 

sayhello

Have Camera, Will Travel
Joined
Oct 28, 2006
I am loving your trip report! Thank you for all the pictures and details. My sister and I were in VT in mid-October with a group called Country Walkers. We had such a great time and the fall colors were gorgeous. We met some ABD folks at the Burlington Airport while waiting for our luggage. I told them they were in for a treat with ABD as all of our trips with them had been fantastic.
Glad you're enjoying my report! And that's very cool about meeting the folks on the ABD! I've seen photos, and you guys really got the best colors!!

How was Country Walkers?

Sayhello
 

georgiagirl2

Mouseketeer
Joined
Mar 29, 2009
Glad you're enjoying my report! And that's very cool about meeting the folks on the ABD! I've seen photos, and you guys really got the best colors!!

How was Country Walkers?

Sayhello
It was our first time to travel with Country Walkers and we loved it! My sister and I both retired from teaching last year and Vermont in October was on our bucket list. We enjoy hiking and long walks outdoors so we chose Country Walkers hoping for some beautiful autumnal adventures. They definitely delivered. There was a good mix of less strenuous walks and more challenging hikes, and the guides and fellow travelers were awesome! Of the 18 people in our group, 11 had been on multiple CW trips.

We didn't get to visit as many places as the ABD itinerary, but it was exactly what we were looking for. I am looking forward to hearing about Maine and New Hampshire as well as the rest of your time in Vermont.
 

sayhello

Have Camera, Will Travel
Joined
Oct 28, 2006
It was our first time to travel with Country Walkers and we loved it! My sister and I both retired from teaching last year and Vermont in October was on our bucket list. We enjoy hiking and long walks outdoors so we chose Country Walkers hoping for some beautiful autumnal adventures. They definitely delivered. There was a good mix of less strenuous walks and more challenging hikes, and the guides and fellow travelers were awesome! Of the 18 people in our group, 11 had been on multiple CW trips.

We didn't get to visit as many places as the ABD itinerary, but it was exactly what we were looking for. I am looking forward to hearing about Maine and New Hampshire as well as the rest of your time in Vermont.
I will definitely have to give Country Walkers a look. Thanks for the info!!

Sayhello
 

sayhello

Have Camera, Will Travel
Joined
Oct 28, 2006
Day 3 - I-cone-ic Vermont

So I'm going to start today's report with a little bit about this trip that was kind of a new experience for me. One duo on this trip was a single mom and her adult daughter. That daughter, it became obvious, was *firmly* on the autism spectrum. Since I get motion sickness and have to sit at the front of the motorcoach and so did the daughter, I spent a lot of time in close proximity to them. The daughter had a very nice, obviously expensive camera, and was very obsessed with taking photos with it. She would take dozens and dozens of photos of the same view or item, many times from inches away, and from multiple angles. I do have to say, she had a very good eye, and got some very good shots. But it frequently became an issue because no-one else could take a photo of the item or the view because she was right in front of it, for a very long time. I think her mother was used to just letting her do it (she didn't carry a camera herself) so a few of us had to learn to gently verbally nudge her away and ask if others could have a chance. She also always had to be at the front of the group, right up by whichever Adventure Guide was in the lead, which was only a problem because she would charge right past (and sometimes through) people to get there after stopping to take photos. So she also had to be gently told "Annika, no! That's not nice!" "Annika, that was rude to push me out of the way." Her mother would re-enforce it, but rarely was the one to admonish her. And I did have a conversation with her mother, who did not seem to mind others pointing these things out to Annika. It did put things in perspective when she told me Annika always wanted to be in front because she was afraid of being left behind. Anyways, it did not spoil the trip or anything like that, but it was an interesting dynamic that I hadn't experienced before.

Anyways, on with the trip! The end of Day 2 had been rainy and cold, and the morning of Day 3 was predicted to be more of the same. We had a long bike ride along the waterfront in Burlington set for early in the morning of Day 3. I had totally planned to do the biking, but when we had to tell them the evening before if we were doing it or not, I just could not make myself do it with the prospect of being rained on again. So I and a few others bowed out. We were given the details of when our luggage had to be out the next morning, and where to meet up with the group after their bike ride.

The comforting sight of our motorcoach out in front of the hotel, picking up the bicyclists. (Taken from my room).

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So that morning, I slept in a bit, got my suitcases out in time for pickup, then went for breakfast and went back to my room to finish getting ready for the day. It was very nice to have the duffel bag to handle the things I needed to finish getting ready. I then headed down to the waterfront, which was only a couple of blocks away from the ABD hotel.

Our meeting spot

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It had, of course, turned out to be a GORGEOUS morning. Oh, well, such is life! I dropped my duffel bag and a few other items off at the motorcoach that was parked down by the meeting spot, and then spent a good half an hour or so walking along the path along the waterfront. It was a really beautiful area, and I greatly enjoyed my walk! Everyone who took the bike ride seemed to really have enjoyed it!

Along the walking path:

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I can't imagine how much these new homes overlooking the lake cost!

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Around 11:30, we met up by the motorcoach.

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We then headed down to the water to board the Spirit of Ethan Allen III for a cruise around Lake Champlain that also included lunch.

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There were a couple of other groups on the boat, and we each had our own areas to sit and buffet areas to get our meals from. The food was nothing fancy, but it was really good. The only protein they had was a chicken drenched in barbecue sauce, which I can't eat. So I asked if they had any chicken without the sauce, and they basically cooked up most of a chicken for me! I did share it with others, and traded some with Mike T for some salmon that they had brought out later. All in all, a very nice, informal lunch.

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We continued to cruise the Lake, and you could go upstairs or out front and watch the water and the shore go by. It was really beautiful out there!

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Continued in next post.
 

sayhello

Have Camera, Will Travel
Joined
Oct 28, 2006
Looking back towards Burlington.

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Eventually (all in all, I think it was about an hour and a half) we docked back where we started, and made our way back to the motorcoach where we headed out on our way to Stowe, Vermont. On the way, Tiffany and Mike T. gave us the most *DELICIOUS* maple sandwich cookies! Oh, my, were they spectacular!

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According to the itinerary, we were supposed to start our time in Stowe with a tour of Ben & Jerry's factory, but our Guides told us that had been moved to Day 4, as the timing worked better there. (This is now a permanent change for 2023). So we went straight to our next destination - The Von Trapp Family Lodge! We started off with a talk given by one of Maria and Georg's grandchildren. The family still does run the Lodge! His name is Sam, and he's the son of Johannes Von Trapp, who was the youngest of the 10 Von Trapp children, and one of the children Maria and Georg had together.

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He showed us some interesting videos of Maria, who really is nothing like Julie Andrews (except that she does have a beautiful singing voice). What a character! She had quite the wit and was a fabulous storyteller! It was fascinating stuff! Apparently the thing she disliked the most about "The Sound of Music" was that they made Georg look so very serious and strict, when, in actuality, he was a very gentle, very funny and sweet man. After Sam's talk, we were then taken outside to see some of the farm area surrounding the beautiful Lodge building. After escaping Austria, the Von Trapps were refugees, with no money or anything, so they traveled from country to country, supporting themselves by performing as the Von Trapp Family Singers, until they eventually booked passage to America. When they saw Vermont, the mountains reminded them of Austria. So they decided to settle there, and bought the farm that eventually became the Lodge. It's really a gorgeous setting, and a very pretty Lodge!

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Our first full group shot from the entrance to the Lodge.

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Continued in next post.
 

sayhello

Have Camera, Will Travel
Joined
Oct 28, 2006
Our first stop was a place just behind the Lodge that I'm told people aren't normally allowed to enter - but we were! - the Von Trapp family burial plot. Maria, Georg and their children who have died so far are buried out there. It's a beautiful plot of land, very peaceful.

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Georg and Maria's graves.

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Then we went out in the fields to meet up with some of the residents of the farm: their herd of Highland cows! (Hairy coos as they are called in the Highlands of Scotland!) There were quite a few of them, and they seemed pretty interested in the tiny apples that we'd been instructed to pic off the trees outside the family plot and bring with us. We tossed them out in front of us, and the cows would amble up and munch on them. We were allowed inside of the fenced area where they were, but were called to come back out past the electrified fence as they started crowding up to the area where we were.

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We had one Adventurer who was trying to get a really good photo, and allowed them to get a bit too close to her before she headed for the exit. The Adventure Guides were a little anxious about that! We finished up our visit with them from opposite sides of the fence!

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I've always adored Hairy coos! They are just so cute with their big furry bangs and all, but man! Watch out for those horns!

After this little adventure, we headed back to the lodge where we were given hot drinks and cookies, and then given the keys to our rooms to go settle in and get ready for that night's dinner.

The rooms were very nice, with various beautiful views, and little balcony areas.

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Continued in next post.
 
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