The History of Will O' The Wisp

Will O' The Wisp has been a long standing tradition for vacationers at Deep Creek Lake. Our prestige condominiums are full of history of the Deep Creek area and have seen many changes over the years.

Old Ad for Will O' The Wisp

Early On

Deep Creek Lake was built by Pennsylvania Electric Company and was officially opened in 1925. Early vacationers, Gustav and Alice Heise permanently moved to the area in the 1940's with their children, Helmuth "Ace" and Doris. In 1943, the couple, along with their children bought a series of cottages built in 1927 from a local dentist, Dr. Bullard. They then opened up 23 rustic lakefront cabins called Will O' The Wisp. The name Will O' The Wisp comes from travel lore describing a mysterious light seen over bayous in the south.


After spending some time in the Air Force, Ace and his wife Evelyn bought Will O' The Wisp from his parents in 1953 and built a small 10 unit "modern" motel on the property. After earning a total of $14 in the month of February of their first year in business, they decided something needed to be done to promote winter travel. Thus, Ace and Evelyn started Marsh Mountain Ski Area in McHenry. Later named Wisp and sold in 1970 by the Heise family along with other shareholders, Wisp Resort is still a popular four seasons resort in McHenry today.


As the hotel grew, Ace and Evelyn added the Four Seasons Dining Room at Will O' The Wisp in 1961. Operated by the Heise family, and their son Martin, the restaurant quickly began to grow. The stone used for the original motel was recycled to form the stone pillars and the wood was planed from trees removed to make way for ski trails at Wisp.


In 1975, the 47 prestige condominium structure that now stands at Will O' The Wisp was built. Today this building offers a hotel-condo fusion for all guests to enjoy. No need to worry about finding friends to share a vacation home with - simply select the type of vacation lodging you prefer and book your trip at Deep Creek!


You can easily have the best of both worlds at Will O' The Wisp! When you stay with us, you get the convenience of a hotel-stay with the home-style comfort of condominium living. Not quite a hotel, and not just a condominium, we offer elements of both to provide you with an experience unlike any other. You will check in on site with our cheerful front desk staff. They are always happy to welcome you, help you get settled in, and offer tons of advice on area activities, restaurants, and local events. We have staff on site and available to help during our business hours. Plus, we offer great hotel amenities like an indoor pool, whirlpool, fitness center, private sandy beach, protected swimming area, and boat docks. We also offer delicious on-site dining. Although it may not be the same Four Seasons Dining Room at Will O' The Wisp, the now, Ace's Run Restaurant & Pub offers amazing food and has become a popular dining spot on the lake.


The condominium style of our resort comes from all of our rooms being individually owned, meaning that your stay helps to support our family of homeowners as they make their dreams of Deep Creek Lake condo ownership a reality! Each individual room boasts a unique style and flair, allowing for a new experience with every stay.




Old Ad for Cottages at Will O' The Wisp

Each of our individual units offers a selection of comfortable lodging ranging from simple efficiency rooms to 3-bedroom, 3 bath kitchen suites. Most of our condominiums have fireplaces, and all have balconies overlooking the beautiful Deep Creek Lake at its widest point. Don't worry about bringing all of your supplies or about housekeeping or preparing food (although you can have a kitchen if you wish)! With our on-site amenities, you have plenty to keep you entertained during rainy weather. Our resort is also conveniently located in the heart of Deep Creek and just steps away from various area attractions including a movie theater, restaurants, and shops. Spend the day on your feet with several attractions nearby or hop in your car and enjoy the countryside drives to and from many other must-see attractions.


Our rentals are professionally managed by Railey Vacations, which means each of our homeowners and valued guests have the best company in the industry to provide an exceptional Deep Creek Lake experience. With over 35 years of vacation rental experience, you can have your next best vacation at the lake through the high standards and personal care for our guests.


The history is long at Will O' The Wisp, but the condos are modern and comfortable, and the lakeside amenities are vast. Book one of our newly renovated rooms today!