The return of Johnny Seesaw's
Seesaw's Lodge, formerly known as Johnny Seesaw's Historic District, is almost ready to serve families again. While permits are pending, property owner Ryan Prins patiently waits for "the public and patrons to come see it with their own two eyes."
Booking for July and August has already started for the renovated lodge and reconstructed cabins. Dates are booked through March 2019, according to Prins' wife, property manager Kim Prins, and include a variety of special event and occasion requests.
"We're excited," Ryan Prins said. "We did all we could do to keep this place what it used to be -- I believe that. Now we just need the people to come make it what it was."
Johnny Seesaw's housed Bromley visitors for years until it closed in 2014. Ryan Prins, of Arlington-based JS LLC, purchased the former ski lodge in 2015. The 7-acre property sits off Route 11 and consists of several cabins, a lodge, the main restaurant building, a former swimming pool and clay tennis court. The original lodge was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2008, but could not be salvaged and was dismantled. But Prins saved as much wood and as many architectural features as he could for re-use in the new building.
Re-using the hand-carved lumber from the 1920s in the lodge, restaurant and cabins was one of the most challenging aspects of the project, Ryan Prins said.
"Salvaging everything and keeping everything the same was challenging
having everything work with code," Ryan Prins said, referring to the Americans with Disabilities Act. "[The project] was big for Vermont on certain scales, but not big enough for large contractors to be interested. It took three years, but all the guys I work with are super professional and know what they're doing."
Complying with the ADA "[has] been a huge struggle, but we've overcome in many ways," he said.
Using Vermont-made tools and supplies would have been ideal for constructing the buildings on the Seesaw property. But Ryan Prins held true to the authenticity of the original structures and had to remind workers to "not run down to r.k. Miles to get conventional lumber."
While preserving old structures of the original property posed some roadblocks, Ryan Prins said the project doesn't compare to his experiences with industrial project, power plants and oil refineries, which involve worldwide large
The lodge is a residential building that houses six spacious suites, an innkeeper's room, an event space and a 75-seat restaurant. There's plans to roast and brew coffee in a building on the southeast side of the property, with next steps to build a distillery.
Within the three year construction process, local artist Kim Ray and Chris Knudsen deconstructed the original mural, numbered the pieces, preserved it, reconstructed it and repainted it.
Ray restored the "seducerie" mural, while Knudsen was the carpenter. It took Knudsen about two to three weeks to take the mural down and put it back together, and about a month and half to restore and rebuild it.
"Knudsen had to puzzle it back together. [Ray] came and at first, was blown away at what was left or what was able to be salvaged," Ryan Prins said.
Since establishing a website and social media handles, Kim Prins said she's received lots of feedback about the opening.
"It's a daily question," she said. "There's a lot of activity up here in the area and a lot of community support that's wonderful. We've already started selling gift certificates and we have our first lodging reservations."
It's still unannounced when the restaurant will officially open, but there will be a soft opening in July along with a few open houses. Visit seesawslodge.com and the company's social media for updates on the project.
Makayla-Courtney McGeeney is a freelance writer.
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