The next day we drove over to Stowe, Vermont to see the Von Trapp family compound. Vermont definitely deserves its name as the granite state. The mountains were high and jagged. The highway went through passes blown away and instead of limestone like around here, it revealed granite. The granite wasn’t in level layers either. You could see the lines where it had been thrust up. We went over Lake Champlain which was also not developed like I had expected. We got to the VonTrapp Lodge and saw a really neat orientation movie about the family background and an ad introducing you to the Lodge. Armed with a map we went to the family cemetery which had really interesting iron work markers. We also looked over the rock garden and saw some genuine edelweiss. Lunch was at the Austrian tea room. It was a very good lunch complete with dessert and windows that looked over the valley to other mountains. They also have a large giftshop there at the restaurant. Back up the hill at the Lodge we got a horse drawn wagon ride and tour of the compound. Afterward, I wanted to climb up to the chapel. It was built by one of the sons after he returned home safely after World War II. The story was in the “World of the Von Trapps” by William T. Anderson. The book is available through their online giftshop http://trapp.e-beans.net/products/index.php?c=8 It’s quite a climb to the chapel, not for the faint of heart. The son who built this chapel died just this year.
Next stop was Connecticut and driving through the Northeast, again and again I was surprised by how little developed it was. I expected to see all houses, industry, and farm fields, but I saw a lot of mountains and woods. Dansbury itself was in a more of a suburban area, one of those places where it’s difficult to tell where one town ends and another begins. However, yards were big and there were plenty of trees. Rose’s house is at 23 Kings Street. The yard is fairly grown up and it’s hard to see the house from the end of the driveway. The man who owns it now let the bus trip in from Burr Oak the last time they came, but this time wouldn’t even answer or return a phone call before the trip. At the top of the hill is the King Street United Church of Christ. This was the church that hosted Rose’s funeral and while Rose wasn’t a member, she did involve herself in the church doing things like donating to their bake sales. We arrived shortly after Sunday service was over and our group got to talk to several current members. A couple members of the Bible study group remembered Rose and her white turban and her yappy little dogs.
Driving back from Connecticut was really interesting. We drove across the Hudson River and through the Hudson River Valley. I don’t know how they early settlers could face it, crossing one mountain range after another. The mountains got flatter as we headed west, but were still there well into Pennsylvania. Then they disappeared to reappear in Wisconsin, although they didn’t look near as impressive once we’d seen Vermont. Although Malone and Danbury are out of the way for many Laura fans, I think they are well worth a trip.