Tuesday, October 24, 2023

Idylease Tree Farm in West Milford , New Jersey

Idylease Tree Farm
Richard Zampella Manages Idylease Tree Farm Farm  

Idylease Manages our 100 acre property in cooperation with professional consulting foresters so as to ensure the long term sustainability of the forest for this generation and generations to come. Idylease Tree Farm is owned and operated by Richard Zampella who has oversite of the forest which has been managed for over 40 years. The previous Woodland Management Plan (WMP) was developed by Dennis Galway for the landowner in 2010. The plan expired at the end of 2020; A new plan has been certified which continues with the forest management under the guidance of Ridge and Valley Forest Management.

Thousands of trees stand majestically at the Idylease Tree Farm Farm in West Milford, NJ. Owner Richard Zampella helped plant the first trees in 1972 and has watched them grow into the present. “They were just seedlings an less than foot tall,” Zampella said “The Norwegian Spruce and Scott Pines are now over 70 feet tall.”

Zampella’s father started the farm and was awarded the Outstanding Tree Farmer of the Year in 1991 for his efforts. Now, it has become a 2nd generation stewardship of the forest. “Forests like this are important,” said Andy Bennett who is the consulting Forester for Idylease. “Forests are like timber engines, they’re strong and they are growing a lot of cubic feet per acre per year.”

Bennett has worked in forestry for more than 15 years. He operates Ridge and Valley Foresty. He said the industry has undergone significant change and that Idylease Tree Farm should remain successful for several more decades. This is the farm’s third thinning in 50 years. He estimates the farm should still be in operation for at least another 50 years.

Visit Idylease Tree Farm Website for more information: https://idyleasetreefarm.com

Sunday, October 1, 2023

Idylease Heliport


Idylease Helistop/Heliport. FAA Identifier: 1NJ6.

The heliport is utilized by the Emergency Services Departments for West Milford and Jefferson Townships. The New Jersey State Police regularly utilize the landing field when critical patients require transport to the nearest trauma center. Idylease Helistop was established in 1973 by Dr. Arthur Zampella, a prominent physician, public servant and FAA Flight Examiner whose practice was located in West Milford, New Jersey. Licensed by the Federal Aviation Administration, the facility is privately owned and operated by Richard Zampella. Visit our website at: https://njhelistop.com

Saturday, March 25, 2023

Idylease’s Owner Plots its Future

WEST MILFORD. Richard Zampella is planning a restaurant and guest house at the historic landmark. –––RICH ADAMONIS WEST MILFORD / | 25 MAR 2023 | 01:47

The next chapter in the 120-year history of Idylease, West Milford’s first historic landmark building and estate, is taking shape.

Owner Richard Zampella is aiming for New Year’s Day 2025, which would be 122 years after Idylease opened its doors.

“Idylease will reopen a guest house and retreat for visiting guests,” he said. “We’ll have a full-service restaurant with a classic dining room and sun porch to accommodate over 60 guests and bar service.

“Idylease will be a cultural and social center, venue for the arts and theater, special events, weddings, and holiday and country get-aways - not a bed-and-breakfast, as I don’t like to apply the term to our unique environment.”

Zampella said he’s making progress toward those goals and is “in a position to be ready for the public despite the many challenges and heavy workload that comes with restoring a place that is more than a century old and on several occasions was dormant.”

He continues his effort to place Idylease on the National Register of Historic Places.

To win that designation, a property must meet criteria related to its age, significance and integrity.

New Jersey’s Historic Preservation Office has offered its support to Zampella, who is weighing a final submission based on his holistic plan for Idylease.

“The historic designation would help preserve and protect Idylease for future generations,” he noted.

A public open house at Idylease is planned in September.

Temporary steward

Zampella, 57, is the son of Dr. Arthur Zampella, the estate’s third owner, who purchased the property in 1954 and operated his medical practice there until he died in 1992.

Richard, who was born in West Milford, bought the estate in 2016 from his family trust. He has focused on preserving Idylease and sustaining its value for future generations.

“Like my father and the owners before him, I’m only a temporary steward of Idylease,” he said.

“As a preservationist, I am a proponent that the past can educate. Architecture, as an example, is a direct and substantial representation of history and places that can teach us about our collective past. By preserving historic structures - whether related to someone famous or recognizably dramatic - we share the very spaces and environments in which the generations before us lived. Strangers can witness the aesthetic and cultural history of an area.

“Old buildings maintain a sense of permanency and heritage. You can’t renovate or save a historic site once gone. And we can never be certain what will be valued in the future.”

To that end, Zampella embraces adaptive reuse, or finding a new purpose for the structure and land to be preserved.

“There are inherent risks to an old structure as it can’t be replaced,” he said. “Adaptive reuse ensures that it can be sustainable, financially and more, to both protect the past and ensure a valued future.”

He embraces the journey with his long-time life partner, Shannon.

Film on Idylease

Zampella grew up at Idylease and graduated from West Milford High School in 1984. At Rutgers University, he earned a degree from the Mason Gross School of Arts and produced an award-winning film on Idylease.

After four years of active-duty military service in the Intelligence Corps and during 12 years in the Army Reserves, he lived in New York City as he pursued a multifaceted career as a documentary film maker and cameo actor (credits include “The Guiding Light” and “The Thomas Crowne Affair”) and as a professional in the food and beverage and hotel industries.

His company, Transmultimedia Entertainment, has produced and aired film documentaries on PBS and elsewhere.

He worked at several well-known restaurants and hotels, including the Essex House and the Plaza Hotel’s Oak Room. For 15 years, he worked at Rockefeller Plaza’s Rainbow Room for renowned restaurateur Joe Baum.

Baum urged Zampella to create a business plan for Idylease.

Zampella also engaged famed architect Hugh Hardy, who provided valuable insights now being applied in the restoration.

“Hugh wondered how we could express an urbane concept and idea into a rural setting. He left me in awe and along with Joe (Baum) and others influenced my life and work at Idylease.”

Combination of old and new

Located on the western end of Union Valley Road just a quarter-mile from Route 23 in Newfoundland, Idylease boasts an iconic four-story 50-room Dutch revival main house with neo-classical elements.

Its spacious porch with 40-feet-wide steps and distinctive columns, which Zampella has restored personally, is 100 feet long with two 50-foot sections on the north and south sides of the house.

“One of my favorite pastimes, both today and as a youngster, is sitting on the porch with a cold drink and taking in the surrounding beauty,” he said.

Atop a 30-foot pole mounted on the front lawn flies an American flag - in part recognizing the military service of the Zampellas father and son.

The building’s interior is a throwback in time.

The entrance’s large foyer, with ornate dark oak trim, paneling and floors, gives way to a sizeable dining room, sewing and sitting rooms, and private alcoves as well as a double-wide wooden stairway to the floors above. Original paintings and photos adorn the hallways and rooms.

The 100-acre property has five other last-century buildings, a heliport used by West Milford and local area emergency services, and well-manicured lawns, gardens and stately trees that include lines of Evergreens planted by young Rick at his father’s behest.

The house’s 24 guest rooms serve 17 long-term tenants who by design are largely creative types, including artists who help make Idylease a reinfusing place, Zampella said.

“Idylease offers a rural and historic living opportunity, so our tenants need to be the right fit for our house and our community, people who have a reverence for Idylease and its history.”

Edward Karas, 62, occupies a newly renovated room on the second floor.

“Richard and Shannon are kind and welcoming very intelligent people who care about Idylease and everyone here as well as this town - its history and its future,” he said.

“Richard has done a beautiful job in renovating and preserving the house, including the floors and woodwork, furniture and artwork, plumbing and electric - things are original as original could be,” he added. “When you care about something and put your heart and life into it like Richard does, that’s what you get: something very special.”

Inspired by his father

During its first 50 years, Idylease served as a resort for those who sought a country getaway and a hostel for individuals seeking restorative health and medical services, including those suffering from autism, tuberculosis and other conditions.

“My father saw the unique setting and opportunity in Idylease,” Zampella said. “Very important to dad was creating a distinctive environment for his family and medical practice, and building on the foundational work of his physician predecessors at Idylease.”

He proudly describes his father as a Jersey City kid who became a country doctor, a dedicated public servant, a lover of the arts and culture, and an innovator who augmented his on-site medical practice with a nursing home for the infirmed elderly that operated until 1972. At any given time, there were more than 70 staff, patients and guests at Idylease.

“My father believed that art and culture need to be essential in our daily lives and can teach us about ourselves. He thought that the arts can be transformative, take us out of our normal lives and change our thinking. He felt sometimes medicine was more art than science. That it wasn’t always about what you prescribe but how you prescribed it.”

Idylease was built by New York City physician Edgar Day in 1902 as a tribute to his daughter, who died in Newfoundland at the age of 16. After Day’s death in 1906, his mission continued with Dr. Drake, who took ownership of Idylease until his death in 1952.

“When railroad service ended in 1930s, effectively, too, did the area’s robust tourism business,” Zampella said. “Most other hotels and inns closed, and Idylease was unoccupied and dormant for many years. Further proof that change is a constant, and you must adapt to thrive, grow and succeed.”

A quintessential do-it-yourselfer when it comes to the restoration, he looks to the estate’s future with confidence and optimism. Yet the past often drives his work, passion and commitment to Idylease.

“Every day I think about my dad, Doctors Day and Drake, and those who have passed through Idylease,” he said. “They would be proud. When my hands run down the stairway banister, I smile knowing that their hands, along with Thomas Edison and other luminaries, have also touched them. We have a great past and look forward to a great future here.”

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

Official Trailer for Inside High Noon for Public Television: Narrated by Matthew Rhys

Inside High Noon is the second documentary this year that I produced and edited for American Public Television. It will premiere this fall on all major Public Television Stations around the country. I dug deep this past summer to incorporate into the documentary, the themes and messages that are universal to us all. I have many people within my inner circle to thank. They know who they are and they know their contributions. Most of all to John Mulholland who wrote and directed the documentary. The 1952 movie High Noon is John’s favorite film. I hope that my contribution has done justice to his vision and his love of this masterpiece of American Cinema. He was with me every step of the way. Always available and lending his ear by patiently listening to my thought process. Thanks to #MatthewRhys who took time from his busy schedule to record his narration in London. Thanks to Carl Foreman who wrote the original screenplay of High Noon. He left us a roadmap to dissect the multi-faceted themes which are explored in the documentary. What occurred over the course of the original production were crazy times indeed. This film represents some of my best work to date. Check local listings on your local Public Television stations for times and air dates near you. #PBS

Monday, July 25, 2022

Elmore Leonard Documentary Airing Nationally on Public Television

A documentary about renowned author Elmore Leonard, But Don’t Try to Write, will be airing first on July 7th at 2 p.m. on public television in the cities across the United States. The documentary was written and directed by John Mulholland and Produced and Edited by Richard Zampella.

But Don’t Try to Write explores the author’s legacy and his influence on generations of writers and will be narrated by Campbell Scott. It will first premiere on July 7th, 2022 at 2 p.m. in cities like Memphis, Jackson, Columbus-Tupelo, Biloxi-Gulfport, Meridian, and Greenwood-Greenville. At 9 p.m. the documentary will premiere in San Francisco and Monterey-Salinas. In the days following the initial premiers, the film will be broadcasted across the country in cities like Cleveland, Portland, Bend, Tucson, Eugene, Meridian, and Youngstown. But Don’t Try to Write is a produced by Richard Zampella and Shannon Mulholland, executive produced by Craig Gilbert, a production of Dutch Films, LLC and distributed by American Public Television (APT).

The film features interviews with Jim Born, Mike Lupica, Wendy Calhoun, Neely Tucker, Graham Yost, and many others. Through these conversations, the film paints a portrait of an artist who has profoundly impacted our culture and our language. It also includes 30 minutes of original, unreleased interview footage with Elmore Leonard.

Sunday, January 2, 2022

The 2021 Holiday Season at Idylease

Idylease Turns 119 Years Old on New Year's Day 2022

Idylease first opened its doors to the public on New Year's Day 1903. On this New Year's Day 2022 -- We celebrate our 119th Anniversary. #happynewyear2022

Season's Greeting from Idylease 

Happy Holidays from #Idylease: A Historic Landmark. Celebrating Our 118th Christmas Season. #historicpreservation #happyholidays #westmilfordnj

Dr Arthur Zampella

Idylease Tree Farm

My dad was proud that in 1991 his tree farm at Idylease was selected as the Outstanding Tree Farm of the Year by the US Dept. of Agriculture and the State of New Jersey. He was attuned to the environment his entire life and saw the tree farm at Idylease as his contribution to preservation efforts. On this Christmas Day, his gravesite is adorned with a grave blanket made of branches from the trees he loved so. Merry Christmas Dad. Thank you to Andy Bennett at Ridge & Valley Forest Management for helping me maintain the 100 acre forest for generations to come.

Thursday, April 1, 2021

Dr Arthur Zampella's Bond with Ernest Hemingway

Dr Arthur Zampella
Dr Arthur Zampella purchased the sister ship of Ernest Hemingway's La Bella Jolla in 1947. 

    There was a bond my father had with Ernest Hemingway. Hemingway had re-shaped the definition of masculinity of American males in the 1940s and 1950s. A large segment of these men fashioned themselves after Hemingway, taking their cues from his sense of adventurism. 

    Dr. Arthur Zampella was not immune from the influences of Hemingway's works as a writer. So much was that influence, that he purchased the sister ship of La Bella Lola that was built for Hemingway in the Cayman Islands in 1947. 

    In 1948, may dad took the schooner on a Hemingway inspired deep sea fishing trip and landed a 12 foot sailfish off the coast of Venezuela. That fish hangs on the wall of the indoor pool at Idylease to this very day: A relic connected to Ernest Hemingway hanging on walls of Idylease. How cool is that?

    The boat was moored in the Long Island Sound for many years before it tore loose in a hurricane and ended up on the rocks at Atlantic Highlands in New Jersey. The vessel was unable to be salvaged. A sad ending to a vibrant period of my dads life.

    At my dads funeral in 1992, his best friend Andy Bertone, laughed about a drunken night in the 50s when they attempted to board the schooner and impress their dates with a stolen row boat. They all gave up because they simply couldn't find the boat in the pitch dark.

    Little would my father know that many years later, the connection with Hemingway would culminate with a documentary I produced on Ernest Hemingway with John Mulholland and his daughter Shannon. The film received a Critics Pic from the New York Times in 2013. Post production work was completed at Idylease, with my father being a constant inspiration to tell the story. Patrick Hemingway; Ernest's last surviving son, was fascinated by the connection between these two men when discussing it over dinner at the Yale Club a few years ago.