In a remote lodge in Groton, innkeepers Chris Brader and Tiff Soukup spend their days cooking meals, taking reservations, managing yardwork, grooming trails, and keeping guests comfortable and happy.
But this is no ordinary lodge. Seyon Lodge is the only state-owned lodging destination of its kind in Vermont, where guests experience the rugged outdoors with the warm comforts of a cozy inn.
The property is located at the end of a three-mile dirt road deep in the woods of the 27,000-acre Groton State Forest – the second largest contiguous area of land owned by the state. It’s also home to Noyes Pond, the only public fly-fishing pond in Vermont.
The lodge, built as a hunting and fishing cabin in the 1890s, is open year-round to guests and is considered one of Vermont’s best-kept secrets.
After being privately owned for more than 70 years, the eight-bedroom lodge was purchased by the state in the 1960s, and the lodge and surrounding land became a state park. In the 1970s, the lodge grew in popularity and was even used as a Camp David-type getaway for Governors Snelling, Kunin, and Dean.
With about 5,000 visitors a year, the lodge caters to fishermen, cross-country skiers, and snowshoers. It’s also a destination for family reunions, weddings, meetings, retreats, and quilting and scrapbooking group getaways.
Seyon Lodge State Park is also open for day-use, where visitors can fly fish and explore nearby trails.
Life at Seyon Lodge
Innkeepers Chris and Tiff have spent the last three years splitting their time between Seyon Lodge and traveling the world. The couple, who met in 2002, have traveled to 28 countries, including Australia, Chile, Argentina, Fiji, Nicaragua, Singapore, India, Kenya, Indonesia, Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, and South Africa.
After exchanging vows in 2007, the couple purchased a one-way ticket to New Zealand and later lived and worked in Australia for two years. It was then they decided their lifelong goal would be to keep traveling and live on each continent at least once.
“Our goal has been to live debt-free so we could travel internationally,” Chris explained to me on a mild February morning as we chatted over coffee in the lodge’s living room. “We love what you call ‘slow travel.’ We want to really get a chance to see places, experience the culture, and spend time exploring. We love seeing wildlife in national parks and observing animals in their natural habitats.”
This spring, the couple will give up their post at Seyon Lodge and travel to Africa and India (You can read about the couple’s travel adventures on Tiff’s blog, vagabondway.net).
With their departure, the State Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation is searching for new live-in innkeepers to run the lodge.
While Chris and Tiff are looking forward to their next adventure, they will surely miss Vermont. “After traveling around, Vermont has been the one state we’ve come back to over the years,” Tiff said. “We feel very connected to this place.”
**If You Go: Seyon Lodge is located at 2967 Seyon Pond Road in Groton. Private rooms with shared bathrooms accommodate 16 overnight guests, while a fully equipped commercial kitchen prepares meals three times a day for guests. Seyon Lodge State Park is open for day use visitors from 6 a.m. to sunset. For more details, call 802-584-3829.