Some things thankfully do not change. Over 75 years ago, if you had fun splashing into the crystal-clear water of Thousand Island Lake, you would have felt its soft rippling sand cover your toes and looked out on the same North woods you will today. Only the trees are now much taller.
Americo Fiorucci bought this stretch of shoreline in 1948 to start Camp Hiawatha. He was a nearby, award-winning high school biology and chemistry teacher who wanted to share his deep love and knowledge of nature with boys living in distant cities. Today, if you stay in Cabins 2 and 3, you are in the original mess hall and Cabin 9 was the camp’s recreation hall. The wildlife displays in Cabin 2 were the original taxidermy works done by Americo himself.
In 1968, Americo expanded this outdoor experience to vacationers when he converted the camp into Vacationland Resort. Year after year, families and friends came to fish, boat, and swim in Thousand Island Lake and its 14 sister lakes in the Cisco Chain. In 1981, Americo sold the resort to Bill and Jan Smet.
Jan and Bill kept the Vacationland Resort name and expanded what the resort had to offer. They built two modern duplexes (Cabins 7 & 8 and 11 & 12), Cabin 10, and the Log Home for themselves. These additions made more accommodating for families to hold large summer reunions and share stories around the campfire. Bill and Jan had a love for silent sports such as sailing in the summertime and cross-country skiing in the wintertime. Bill would share his love of sailing by taking guests out for rides on the water.
From 2006 to 2022, Craig and Lisa Hesse owned the resort. They updated old piers and added new ones for each cabin. They built large decks around the original camp’s cabins so guests can entertain and dine outdoors. Lisa enjoyed growing flowers for window boxes and made sure the hummingbirds were well-fed. To this day, summertime guests are greeted by the busy hummingbirds and beautiful flowers and herbs at their cabin. During the COVID pandemic, Canadian borders were closed to travelers, resulting in a huge influx of guests. Vacationland Resort became a premier destination for anglers who wanted a “Canadian fishing experience” closer to home. New guests also discovered the resort was a nearby base to reach popular outdoor destinations such as the Sylvania Wilderness and Porcupine Mountains.
In 2022, our story came full circle when a local community banker and retired teacher, Jake and Laura Weinand, bought the resort. They gave it a locational name so guests coming from as far away as California, Montana and Florida could easily find it. Jake and Laura focus on making it a year-round destination for families, anglers, hunters, snowmobilers, skiers, photographers, artists and birders. They adopted The Arrows Resort from long-running owners, Denver and Carole Yakel, in April 2023. This addition added three more cabins (Coyote Cove, Deerpath, & Island View) to the cabins they have to offer. Currently, they are remodeling the Log Home to include the lower level which will make it the largest cabin rental on site. Stay tuned for updates to the basketball and tennis court in the future.
Guests are welcome to borrow free kayaks, canoes and paddleboards or rent snowmobiles and boats. In the evening, venture to the beach to enjoy the campfire, roast some marshmallows, and…just as they have been for eons…gaze up at the dazzling blanket of stars overhead.