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 field stone 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’ 70th anniversary in 2019.