Seesaw’s Lodge: Peru Vermont Review

Seesaw’s Lodge, Peru Vermont, Review

Don’t you just love a renovated hotel/inn/B&B with a nefarious yet glamorous backstory? Well Seesaw’s Lodge in Peru Vermont – in the foothills of several smallish ski mountains – has one. And, not only that, but it’s been rebuilt as a thoughtfully designed rustic-chic lodge and restaurant – celebrated for its food, friendliness, and location, at the base of Bromley Mountain, near Magic, and 15 minutes from Stratton.

View of Stratton Mountain from rooms at Seesaws Lodge Peru VT

Celebrating its 100th anniversary this year (in 2024) – what is now Seesaw’s Lodge saw its first guest in 1924 (although, of a very different kind). Read on for all the details and our first-hand account of an overnight stay.

Learn what to do nearby in this Getaway Mavens Manchester VT post.

And discover more dreamy Vermont vacays in our Best Romantic Getaways in Vermont.

Welcome to Vermont sign

History of Seesaw’s Lodge and How It Got Its Name

In 1924, prior to the development of Vermont’s ski resorts, Russian immigrants, Ivan Sesow and his wife Vinnie, purchased this property and opened their rather risqué Wonder View Log Pavilion dance hall.

During the “Roaring 20’s” and deep into Prohibition, this mountain spot drew a bawdy crowd. Revelers from all over came for Vinnie’s specialty of the house – her homemade bathtub gin. (Others frequented the Wonder View for, ahem, its atmosphere of free – and not-so-free – love).

The Depression put the kibosh on this revelry, and, in 1931, the Sesow’s defaulted on the multiple loans they took out to keep the Wonder View afloat. Although the Sesow’s lost their property – subsequent owners tweaked their name – calling the place the more playful Seesaw’s – and it’s stuck ever since.

By 1938, the Federal Government had established the Green Mountain National Forest, putting the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) to work constructing the first ski resorts. One of these was Bromley, right next to the Sesow’s place.

Fire Pit, Main Lodge Patio at Seesaw's Lodge

Parrish Era

In 1938, “avid skier,” Lew deSchweinitz and his brother-in-law, Bill Parrish, purchased the ramshackle property, and turned it into a ski lodge. Thanks to Bill’s wife, Mary Parrish, the lodge and its restaurant, Johnny Seesaw’s, became an orbit of the rich and famous.

The place immediately drew the Parrish’s high society friends: the Astor’s, Fords, Rockefellers, Julia Child, and the like. In fact, if you weren’t in Mary’s rolodex, you were not welcome to stay here. (Anyone aspiring to get in on the action would find the place fully booked).

Mary’s guests would ski by day, and arrive to dinner in gowns, pearls, and evening coats: A touch of showy urban glitz in rural Vermont.

In the mid-70’s, Nancy and Gary Okun purchased this Peru Vermont lodge – opening it to almost everyone. (With one exception: Gary did not abide jerks). The Okuns steered Seesaw’s through 2015, when the property was acquired by Ryan and Kim Prins, who razed all the buildings in 2018 and rebuilt them to modern, high-end standards.

Welcome baked goods Seesaw's Lodge

Seemingly, the Prins are reviving the frolicking fun of the Roaring 20’s, mixed with a bit of the panache of the Parish’s high-society era, and a lot of the open-to-the-community vibe of the Okun years.

Highfalutin Services in Peru Vermont

Thus, guests can arrive by plain-ole car, “fuel up” their Tesla (or any other electric vehicle) at on-site EV charging stations, or even take a helicopter from NYC straight to your cabin or lodge door. (About 60-90 minute flight).

And, if renting ski equipment, you don’t need to stand on line at the mountain. Seesaw’s Lodge uses the terrifically convenient Ski Butlers. They come to the lodge, get you all measured up, and then will drop off boots, skis, and poles, and pick them back up when you leave. Presumably, even Mary Parrish’s rolodex guests didn’t get this level of service.

Seesaws Lodge pond

First Impressions of Seesaw’s Lodge

The Seesaw’s complex is built on a hill off Route 11. Consisting of The Warming Hut (closest to the main road, serving pizza with live music après ski, and weekends year-round), followed by Johnny’s Seesaws restaurant, The Barn (for free Yoga on Saturday Mornings, and other small group programming), three cabins, and the main lodge. It’s a timeless montage of classic Vermont ski lodges, exposed beams and all.

Ski equipment storage foyer at Seesaws Lodge VT

Main Lodge

Enter the main lodge’s front door, and you know right away this was built for skiers. There’s a mud-room storage area for snowy wet skis and boots.

12 person table at Seesaws Lodge main lodge peru vt

You can book one of six rooms in the main lodge – or the whole building (for reunions and parties). When full, all twelve guests will find ample room to cook and chat in the large kitchen – and feast on meals together at the large dining room table.

Fireplace sitting area Seesaw's Lodge VT

If that’s not your thing – cozy up in front of the fireplace and watch the snow falling outside through a two-story wall of windows. Or, head outside to the large hot tub for a private soak (complimentary but RSVP necessary).

Lodge Rooms

Each spacious room is named for a species of tree, with all the trim and most woodwork corresponding to its classification.

I stayed in Beech. The rough-hewn planks framing the fireplace, the bed headboard, and trim around the doors are all crafted from, yep, Beech trees.

The Beech room is also furnished with contemporary chairs facing a cocktail table that had been saved from former iterations of Seesaw’s. (In fact, there are lots of nods to the former property – from the 1920’s on – sprinkled throughout the rooms and cabins).

Vermont Marble sinks in Seesaws Lodge bathrooms

The platform bed – comfy as all get-out – doubles as a chest of drawers – so plenty of storage. The beautifully hued Vermont stone double-sink top in the large and bright bathroom, is locally sourced of course.  

Five of the rooms are on the second floor (walk-up only). One, Oak, is on the main floor and ADA compliant.

Walnut Room Seesaws Lodge VT

Walnut is the favorite among honeymooners, or those just starting or rekindling a love affair, as it features Seesaw’s only soaking tub.

Bringing the fam? Book the Maple Family Suite, which consists of a King Room, a Queen Room, and a loft for the kiddos.

If it’s important to have mountain views, book either Beech or Maple for Bromley; Birch or Cherry for views of Stratton.

Cabins at Seesaws Lodge VT

Cabins at Seesaw’s Lodge, Peru Vermont

Chicken Cabin was initially the property’s chicken coop. (Apparently, everyone in Vermont kept chickens back in the day). It’s the only cabin split into two private suites – the main floor Fox’s Den (one king), and upstairs Chicken Coop (two kings with shared bath).

Guest Room Butterfly Cabin Seesaw's Lodge VT

The Butterfly Cabin has its own electric vehicle charger (for use with the EV Passport ap). The three King bedrooms all have individual locks, plus there’s a kitchenette, and comfy sitting room.

Finally – the Court Cabin, named in homage to Bill Parish, who was crazy about tennis and would play on the clay court next door (no longer there). The Court Cabin sports three Queen Rooms, and an unusual front step, created from pieces of marble that once served as the lodge’s pool deck (dug up during the latest renovation).

JJ Hapgood General Store Peru Vermont

Breakfast/Lunch at SeeSaw’s Lodge

For now, breakfast is not available on site, but there are two spots nearby. It’s a 5-minute walk to Bromley Market, and a 4-minute drive to what serves as Peru VT’s town center: JJ Hapgood General Store (the property featured in the movie Baby Boom – now renovated as a provisioning shop and full service restaurant). 

Johnny Seesaws circular fireplace

Johnny Seesaw’s and Bootleggers Tavern

Locals love Johnny Seesaw’s, especially off-season when they don’t have to buck the crowds. During ski season, there’s often a 200-person waiting list to get in.

Waitstaff is infectiously friendly, and the vibe with fellow diners, upbeat. Sit inside near the cool in-the-round fireplace, or outside on the covered deck overlooking a small pond.

The food is top-notch. My perfectly proportioned organic Maple-Glazed Chicken, roasted broccoli, and rice hit all the right notes – and just one of many excellent dishes here.

The basement Bootleggers Tavern – with a name that harks back to the Sesow era – hosts events throughout the year.

10 Romantic Things About Seesaw’s Lodge

Private hot tub outside of Seesaw's Lodge Main Lodge building Peru VT
  1. Large outdoor cedar hot tub for couples to reserve (free), open 10am-10pm. RSVP Necessary, as it’s very popular in winter.
  2. Outdoor fire-pit to keep you warm in chilly season.
  3. One of the best restaurants in the Bromley-Stratton area on property – Johnny’s Seesaw’s – first choice of many locals and people with second homes here.
  4. Free laundry room in main lodge, making your stay convenient and homey.
  5. Contemporary rustic-chic luxe rooms.
  6. When booking the whole 6-room main lodge, you can hire a chef, or prepare meals in large kitchen – where you can also stow your wine in a large fridge.
  7. Pool table and Game Room in main lodge building.
  8. Three other separate cabins for more privacy.
  9. Free cookies and muffins delivered to your room prior to arrival, if booked directly through SeeSaw’s website.
  10. Pets Allowed in Cabins (and when lodge is a full buy-out).
Seesaws Lodge Review pin


  • Malerie Yolen-Cohen

    Malerie Yolen-Cohen is the Author of the cross-country travel guide, Stay On Route 6; Your Guide to All 3562 Miles of Transcontinental Route 6. She contributes frequently to Newsday, with credits in National Geographic Traveler, Ladies Home Journal, Yankee Magazine,, Sierra Magazine, Porthole, Paddler, New England Boating, Huffington Post, and dozens of other publications. Malerie’s focus and specialty is Northeastern US, and she is constantly amazed by the caliber of restaurants and lodging in the unlikeliest places.

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