I'll never forget that summer in Stowe, Vermont that still leaves me with vivid memories. It was my dream to see the Trapp Family Lodge and hike Mount Mansfield so one June day I got on the train with just a bag of clothes and headed to Stowe. What I thought would only be a three day visit turned out to be two months of the best summer of my life.
I was staying at a hostel near Stowe and the managers girlfriend told me about a job opening at a bed & breakfast in Stowe. I called the innkeeper to inquire about a position. To my surprise she met me in town and had a quick interview with me in a restaurant parking lot. I was hired on the spot and the following day I arrived at "The Siebeness Country Inn" to begin my job on a Sunday afternoon. I had a multitude of everyday tasks; serving breakfast, washing dishes, cleaning rooms, taking care of reservations, giving tours of the inn, mingling with the guests, baking homemade cookies, cleaning the swimming pool, walking the dog and so on.
The innkeepers were kind to me and treated me like a daughter. I even had my own private room which made me really feel at home especially since I was needed at the inn at all hours of the day. I didn't have a car but that was fine because biking and walking around Stowe was enjoyable. I had a friend who had a car and he often took me on all kinds of adventures in and around Stowe. He was the coolest guy I ever knew and he taught me that life is meant to be enjoyed.
After I left Stowe that summer to return back to college I was very sad to leave behind such a special place as Stowe, Vermont where I had felt accepted by others and was happy. But all things come to an end and it was time to press forward so I thought.
A few years later I returned to Stowe, Vermont where I appeared in several plays with the local playhouse. I was cast in my favorite role of Maria Von Trapp in "The Sound of Music" and I returned to "The Siebeness" for a visit with the innkeepers who had come to see me as Maria in "The Sound of Music."
An inner voice told me long ago that I had to go to Stowe, Vermont and I'm so glad I listened to that inner voice because I was blessed with an unforgettable summer. It's been many years since that idyllic summer long ago at "The Siebeness" but in some ways time does stand still. I returned to Stowe, Vermont this August for a couple of days and felt like I had returned home. Not much had changed and Stowe was still as beautiful as ever. When I climbed to the top of my beloved Mount Mansfield I sang a few songs from "The Sound of Music." I also thought about the scene in the movie in which the Reverend Mother asks Maria "What is the most important thing you've learned here at the abbey?" and Maria replies "to do the will of GOD and to do it wholeheartedly." That was it that's all I needed to repeat over and over again "Please show me your will GOD and let me do it wholeheartedly." As I stood on top of Mount Mansfield I asked for a sign or an angel to appear in my life by the end of the day to let me know what to do. My answer came that evening when a complete stranger at a cafe started to talk to me about Stowe and said "No matter where you've been or where you've lived in the past or present; California, New York, Colorado, Wyoming etc you know in the end you'll come back to where you truly belong Stowe, Vermont.
It's beautiful to know that all of us have that place in the world where we belong and even though we may face some setbacks and disappointments in that place there's nothing more satisfying than the feeling of belonging someplace in this world. For me that place is Stowe, Vermont.
Is there a place that feels like home to you? Are there memories of a place that brought happiness to you when you were there? I think we all have that place somewhere in the world where we belong and feel accepted. Sometimes you have to take those moments to take a trip down memory lane and find the answer.
Afterthought: In 2012 and 2011 I spent several months on staff at a yoga retreat house in Kitzbuhel, Austria. My tasks were very similar to what they were in Stowe, Vermont years earlier except that in Austria I also taught yoga and led hikes through the Austrian Alps. It was a lifelong dream to spend time living and working in Austria. My love for Austria and "The Sound of Music" was what drew me to Stowe, Vermont in the first place. Two places; one in Europe the other in the United States and yet both share similarities; bicycle trails, cows grazing in the meadow, goats on the hilltop, glorious mountains for hiking and skiing, lakes for swimming and lots of lodging options. Reverend Mother was right "Climb Every Mountain till you find your Dream!
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