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Meet The Lumley Family
John found the resort in 1982. He is a retired captain for TWA. He flew for the airlines for 34 years. His favorite view was breaking through the clouds and seeing the Eiffel Tower. You will hear him whistling throughout the resort from time to time.
Carol is truly the mother of the resort. She keeps everything running smoothly. You can thank her for the high standards of cleanliness for the cottages. Oh and if you ever need a trivia partner, she's the one to pick!
Lizzie is the General Manager and grew up at the resort with her twin sister Katie. She handles all reservations, emails, social media, website, and much more. She loves Disney - if you ever need a lyric to a Disney song she's your gal.
Zack joined the Lumley Family permanently in 2018 when he married Lizzie. He has been with the resort since 2013! He is a master fixer and can fix anything from plumbing to cars. He is a bit of an adrenaline junkie and likes to cliff jump. He is also a pilot.
Katie grew up at the resort and handled all the outside jobs. She now lives in Orlando, Florida with her adorable dog Kayce. She works in digital advertising. She still comes up to the resort to visit every year so you might see around the place.
July 1982 found John and his daughters (Victoria, Suzanne and Jennifer) camping at Franklin Lake campground. It rained. Not only did it rain, but it rained for 3 days straight. They were floating on their air mattresses inside of the tent. Finally enough was enough so they loaded everything in the boat, hooked up the trailer to the car and headed to Eagle River. They drove directly to the information bureau which was located in the old train station across from the Colonial House. They were four soaked and sodden vacationers entering the building, dripping the way to the counter. Sharon Congelton and Nancy Pophal were the two compassionate ladies staffing the office. John told their tale of woe and asked them about vacancies at resorts in the area. Naturally the second week of July offered little vacancies, and it appeared John and his kids were going to have to head south to Rhinelander. Sharon said that there was a chance that they would rent a cottage at a resort that was no longer open, but the caretakers were most likely there. They immediately hopped in the car and drove to the Char Lou Resort on Otter Lake.
They pulled up to the property off Otter Lane and tooted the horn to see if anyone was around. A couple by the name of LaVern and Gordon Darton owned the place and came out to see who was making all the noise. John explained their predicament, and they offered to rent them cottage 3. John was actually able to drive right up to the front of the cottage as there was no large deck as there is now. The cottage was quite outdated and in desperate need of repair, but it was dry and warm! John woke up about 6:00 AM the next day, and it was brilliantly sunny and calm. He quietly slipped out of bed, and made his way down toward the lake. He walked down what is now the main path to the beach area and when he passed through the trees to the opening to the lake, he was overwhelmed at the sheer magnificence of the view. He stood there transfixed and knew immediately in his heart and mind that this is what he has been looking for all his life. He just did not know it until then.
John and his daughters did some adventuring in town, but when they returned to the Char Lou, John had a long chat with Gordon and LaVern. The history he received was that Louis and Charlotte Hall bought the property back in the 1940’s and started building one cottage at a time using wood from the trees on the property. They also built a supper club just north of the resort and it was one of the most lively and busy supper clubs in the area. Well the resort and the restaurant were defaulting on their loans – the properties were split into two entities, the supper club and resort. All John had to figure out was how to find the down payment for this little paradise. He had recently finished building an open cockpit biplane for aerobatic flight, so he made the decision to sell the plane and use the money for a down payment. This is where the quote from “I Bought a Zoo” comes in, “You know, sometimes all you need is twenty seconds of insane courage. Just literally twenty seconds of just embarrassing bravery. And I promise you, something great will come of it.” John did it and bought a resort without a clue how to operate or maintain it. Luckily, John is a jack of all trades and turned The Last Resort into the vacation retreat it is today!