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LAND O' LAKES - For the Bel-Air Motel in Land O' Lakes, the ownership is changing after nearly 25 years.

Even with new owners coming in, the motel will still maintain the small-town feel.

Jon and Linda Johnson bought the Bel-Air Motel right off Hwy B in Land O' Lakes 24 years ago.

"If we ever had any issues, the first thing I would do was go over to the bank and say, 'I need some help. Where do I go?" and the girls would straighten me right out," said Linda Johnson.

The couple isn't originally from the Northwoods, but they wanted a quieter place to live.

"We worked in a high-pile textile mill in southern Wisconsin, and it was just time for us to change locations. We decided to head north where it wouldn't be as crazy, and this is where we ended up," Linda said.

You can't go much farther north in Wisconsin than Vilas County. It's the area's year-round tourism that attracted the Johnsons.

"You go from the families to the baseball tournaments, the snowmobile season, cross-country skiing, trap shooting," Linda said.

So many tourists have stayed at the motel over the years, and the Johnson's appreciate the community's commitment to keeping those visitors.

"The tourists that are coming up, try and keep them flowing through the area," Linda said. "Whether they stay with one of us or another one of us, that's fine. They'll be at The Pine Cone for breakfast, get gas and groceries here. It's more about keeping them enjoying the area so they'll come back again and again."

Now that the Johnsons are leaving, there will be a new couple owning the building.

Bob Hughes has only been in Wisconsin for a short time, but he says the community's kindness is already visible.

"The actual people that live here, so many people have been in and welcomed us to the area, which we didn't get where we came from," Hughes said. "We've had cakes and cookies and coffee and plants."

Bob and his wife have been busy meeting the new people, but they're eager to see all of what Land O' lakes has to offer.

"We haven't really had time yet to look around and see everything that there is to do here," Hughes said. "We're hoping to get the opportunity to look around and see what goes on here--and obviously take part in fishing." 

Story By: Katie Leszcynsk

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