In 1926, the Blaesings started to build Shorewood Vista Resort, which was to be an American plan resort. The first year, they opened a lodge with four rooms and a single two-bedroom cottage. Each cottage was built from 2×4’s with exterior pine boards and amenities included a chamber pot, pitcher, washbowl, linens and towels. George did the building and outside work and Hazel ran the kitchen and dining room. In their first year of business, the Shorewood Vista took in about $635!
Over the next 25 years, Shorewood Vista continued to grow. The Blaesing’s daughter, Doris, began working in the business at a very early age. The Blaesing Family’s dedication began to pay off and the resort developed a reputation for great meals, activities, and one of the first tennis courts at a northern Wisconsin resort.
In 1947, Doris married James Zambon of Iron Mountain, Michigan. The next year, the Blaesing family sold Shorewood Vista to Hazel’s brother. They purchased property on Lake Thompson in order to begin a Christmas tree farm and to build a new resort, Holiday Acres, for Doris and Jim.
The Blaesings and Zambons built three cottages the first year, in addition to one that was already on the property. The cottages were built with fieldstone fireplaces and included kitchens with dishwashers, a luxury which was unheard of at a Northwoods resort at that time. A field house went up a year later and served as the resort office and snack bar.
The Zambon’s two children, Christine and Kim, followed in their mother’s footsteps and began helping out at an early age. In 1965, the property added an open-to the-public restaurant known as The Three Coins Dining Room. The property also began to offer The Holiday Plan, a modified American plan, to guests.
Over subsequent years, Holiday Acres offered winterized cottages for those who enjoyed winter activities such as snowmobiling. A new field house was built following an extensive fire and was designed by associates of Frank Lloyd Wright. Holiday Acres Camping Resort was added in 1971 and included a campground with 70 sites that included full sewer, water and electrical hookups.
In 1971, Doris and Jim realized a lifelong dream of bringing great jazz to the Northwoods. Buddy Rich, Woody Herman, the Count Basie Orchestra, the Duke Ellington Band and trumpeter Maynard Ferguson, among other jazz greats, played at Holiday Acres. In 1986, Holiday Acres held its first annual Jazz Fantasy Camp, an event that has occurred annually since. The two other perennial jazz events at Holiday Acres are the Thanksgiving Weekend of Jazz, the Mother’s Day Weekend of Jazz and the Northwoods Jazz Camp Jazz Party.
In 1972, Kim Zambon married Kari Johnson of Clarence, New York. Kari was quickly immersed in resort work! Kim and Kari now manage Holiday Acres and continue the resort traditions. The fourth generation of the family – Jamie, Katie and Peter Zambon – have now joined the resort family at Holiday Acres. All of the Zambon family proudly celebrated Holiday Acres’ 60th anniversary in 2009. Holiday Acres 60th Anniversary
101 Things to do at Holiday Acres
1. Roam 1,000 acres of woods and water.
2. Savor a fine meal and good service in our Three Coins Dining Room.
3. Drink in a brilliant Lake Thompson sunset!
4. Keep your eyes open for bald eagles.
5. Build sandcastles.
6. Treasure hunt on the island.
7. Watch the World Prochampionship Snowmobile Race in Antigo.
8. Practice your putting on our putting green.
9. Feed bread to the baby mallards on our beach.
10. Have a shuffleboard challenge.
11. Sample local cranberry wine at Fruit of the Woods Winery in Three Lakes.
12. Attend Rhinelander School of the Arts.
13. Curl up by a crackling fire with a good book.
14. Swim in our indoor pool.
15. Enjoy Northern Lights Summer Theater or Pinewood Dinner Theatre.
16. Experience Northwoods Children’s Museum in Eagle River.
17. Come to the annual Art in the Park on the Court House lawn.
18. Go sledding with fresh snow.
19. Take a Colorama driving tour.
20. Join the Hodag Muskie Challenge.
21. Check out our dining & lounge specials in our Three Coins Dining Room.
22. Look for lost baits in the reeds.
23. Try snowshoeing.
24. Go horseback riding on our wooded trails.
25. Drink in the freshest air.
26. Have a snowball “fight.”
27. Take a winter hike.
28. Go downhill skiing at Camp 10 Ski Hill.
29. Go ice fishing.
30. Build a snowman or go on a sleigh ride.
31. Try your luck at one of the three nearby gambling casinos.
32. Tour Lake Thompson’s six miles of shore.
33. Organize a “Hodag Hunt.”
34. Watch the birdie in a badminton competition.
35. Hunt for clams in the shallows.
36. Take your camera in search of whitetail deer and other native wildlife.
37. Browse through our “Turn of the Century” shop in a 100-year old log farmhouse.
38. Take a ride on a bicycle built for two.
39. Enjoy paintball at Zinger’s in Tomahawk.
40. Visit an authentic one-room schoolhouse.
41. Play water volleyball.
42. Watch an authentic Indian Pow Wow.
43. Go “country” at the Hodag Country Music Festival.
44. Walk in the Cranberry Fitness Walk in Eagle River.
45. Witness the World Championship Snowmobiling Derby in Eagle River.
46. Pick strawberries in Tomahawk.
47. Take knots out of your anchor rope.
48. Try sail boarding.
49. Play miniature golf at Setters Mill.
50. Engage a fishing guide for a day and catch a big one!
51. Decide which of the nine area golf courses to play.
52. Swim in beautiful Lake Thompson.
53. Take the kid’s to Circle M Corral.
54. Get a suntan.
55. Have a wiener roast at the circle by the lake.
56. Listen to “quiet.”
57. Go fishing for panfish – wet your line from the pier.
58. Tee off on Rhinelander’s championship golf course.
59. Catch a breeze on a sailboat.
60. Have a nature scavenger hunt.
61. See a movie on a big screen at the Rouman Cinema.
62. Go rowing at daybreak and experience solitude.
63. Get a family bingo tournament going or play bingo at Lac du Flambeau. (board games available at the office)
64. Visit Trees for Tomorrow conservation center.
65. Visit the historic Oneida County Courthouse.
66. Challenge your friends to a set of tennis.
67. Collect a rainbow of colorful leaves.
68. Take a canoe out at twilight.
69. Join us for the Love of Fine Wine and Food Dinner
70. Hook a muskie from your pier.
71. Attend the Cranberry Festival in October.
72. Shop Northwoods largest Farmers Market (LakeTomahawk Harvest Festival) Saurdays June October.
73. Take a barefoot water-ski lesson.
74. Go for a snipe hunt.
75. Go cross country skiing on many miles of our Holiday Trails.
76. Get a ringer in horseshoes.
77. See a Nicolet Community Players production.
78. Picnic on one of our islands.
79. Bike The Bearskin Trail.
80. Collect some spring ladyslippers, arbutus and trilliums on film.
81. Attend the Northwoods Baroque Music Festival.
82. Snowmobile from your cottage on over 1,000 groomed miles of trails.
83. Go water skiing – for beginners or experts.
84. Listen for the call of the Loon.
85. Ride the “Lumberjack Special” train.
86. Explore the Long Lake Nature Trail.
87. Come to Holiday Acres Resort Jazz Fantasy Camp.
88. Try our famous Holidayburger in the Patio Coffee Shop.
89. Join fun at Crandon’s World Championship Off Road Race and Brush Run.
90. Attend an authentic lumberjack show.
91. Feed peanuts to the chipmunks.
92. Take a river canoe trip.
93. Tour the Rhinelander Logging Museum.
94. See a Hodag Water Ski Show.
95. Enjoy a “Concert on the Green” downtown Rhinelander.
96. Visit the Northwoods Wildlife Center.
97. Toast marshmallows and have a sing along under the stars.
98. Make reservations for our fabulous Sunday Brunch Buffet.
99. Come in December to hunt and harvest your own Christmas tree.
100. See the fish hatchery in Woodruff.
101. See more stars than you’ve ever seen before.
Are We There Yet?
By Vicki Brown
Every year it starts at 6:00 am,
Pack the cooler,
Load the car,
Wake up the boys
and get on the road.
I patiently wait out the 6 hours
Listening to music,
Only to be interrupted by one of my dad’s many jokes,
They’re not very good jokes.
Stopping to get food and walk the dogs,
Trapped in a confined space with my 3 favorite people.
Are we there yet?
Pulling into town,
Driving down the dirt road to the massive lodge,
Past the stables where my best friends for the week await.
Are we there yet?
Getting the keys from the kind employees,
Dressed in their green shirts,
Treating you like long lost friends.
Sitting in his corner behind the desk,
The old golden retriever,
Watching all the people pass,
Almost everyone knows his name.
Are we there yet?
The old screen door open,
And with a thud, BANG!
I declared mine long ago,
The one in the back with three beds and four windows.
Birds singing to wake me up,
Crickets lulling me to sleep,
Move all my clothes in,
As I await my families arrival,
I take one of the dogs and race down to the pier,
Old but sturdy,
Watching as the sun starts to disappear on the lake,
The few boats on the water pass,
The water calms,
Like glass waiting to be broken, shattered,
May favorite place,
I’ve been waiting all year for this one moment,
I’m finally home