Heritage Harbor Ottawa Blog

Category: Second Home

Fall Land and Water Event

fall land and water event


Thinking about owning a vacation home?  Come and visit us during our Land and Water Event on Friday, October 14th – Sunday, October 16th.  We are located at 1970 N. 2753rd Road in Ottawa, IL.  During this unique event, you will get an overview of the property, a boat ride (weather permitting) and a $25 voucher to enjoy lunch at our on-site restaurant, The Red Dog Grill.

Tour times are as follows:

11:00 AM Property Overview followed by 12:30 PM Boat Ride

1:00 PM Property Overview followed by 2:30 PM Boat Ride

3:00 PM Property Overview followed by 4:30 PM Boat Ride

Advanced registration is required and space is limited!  RSVP by calling  (815) 433-5000, emailing HHO@HeritageHarborOttawa.com, or register online here.


About Heritage Harbor Ottawa Resort

Heritage Harbor Ottawa Resort is a 142-acre master-planned marina resort community of 600 homes located on the Illinois River in Ottawa, Ill., just 90 minutes from downtown Chicago. Featuring a 32-acre marina surrounded by pocket neighborhoods of waterfront custom homes, condominiums, cottages and townhomes, Heritage Harbor Ottawa is a unique residential option in Starved Rock Country for those seeking a vacation, retirement or full-time home on the water. 



The Simple Life for Vacation Home Owners

The Simple Life

Located along the Illinois River in Ottawa, Ill., Heritage Harbor Ottawa is a 142-acre development of single-family homes, townhomes, vacation cottages, carriage homes and condos, centered on a 32-acre harbor with a full-service marina and year-round restaurant. With its boating amenities, waterfront living and nearby recreational attractions, such as Starved Rock State Park and the I&M Canal Trail, the community offers an ideal resort lifestyle for those seeking a vacation, retirement or full-time residence.

“Many of our buyers are a bit nostalgic about how they want to spend their precious free time with their family and what they are looking for in a vacation home,” said Tammy Barry, director of sales and marketing for Heritage Harbor Ottawa. “Often they think about their own childhood and how they would pack up the station wagon and go away for the weekend. When they come to Ottawa and Heritage Harbor, they love our small-town atmosphere and simpler way of life that not only harkens back to another time, but also lets them focus on building terrific memories with their family and friends.”

Charming downtown Ottawa

Barry noted the Ottawa community is a big contributor to the lifestyle vacation-home owners appreciate at Heritage Harbor. “This is a small town where business owners know their customers and greet them by name, which really adds to the sense of belonging when you own a second home here,” she said. “Plus, we still have a butcher’s shop, an independent grocery store, a weekly farmer’s market and a liquor store that even delivers. Our locally owned businesses create a sense of place that’s harder to come by in areas that are dominated by chain stores and big national brands. People tend to slow town and enjoy the experience of patronizing area businesses, rather than rushing through errands in order to cross items off their to-do list.”

She added that Ottawa is home to a number of community events and festivals that add to its charming atmosphere. “There are things happening throughout the year, such as Riverfest in the summer and our annual Scarecrow Fest in the fall, which encourage area residents to come out and enjoy our downtown district,” she said. “It’s a lively little town where you’re always likely to run into someone you know, whether you’re at one of our summer festivals or simply taking time to window shop as you walk through downtown.”

Ottawa’s relaxed pace of life and small-town feel extend to the streets of Heritage Harbor, where a series of pocket neighborhoods are designed to build a sense of community among residents. Green spaces with seating areas, community fire pits and meandering walking paths encourage homeowners to socialize. “One very traditional feature we include in many of our home designs is a wide, inviting front porch,” said Barry. “Back when most homes had front porches, families would often sit outside in the evening, visiting together and chatting with neighbors who walked by. We worked hard to recreate that same friendly atmosphere at Heritage Harbor through our streetscape and our home designs.”

Quaint and inviting cottages

A recreation-based lifestyle with plenty of outdoor activities and easy access to nature is another appealing part of the “simple life” at Heritage Harbor Ottawa. “Our vacation-home owners are looking for a complete change of pace from their day-to-day life and a place where they can not only enjoy the activities they love, but also share them with family and friends,” said Barry. “We often work with buyers who grew up in a family with a boat or lake cottage and want to give that same experience to their own kids. For them, having a home at Heritage Harbor and boating on the Illinois River is how they spend quality time together and create memorable family experiences.”

In addition to boating, Heritage Harbor is a convenient home base for hiking in Starved Rock State Park, biking on the I&M Canal Trail and enjoying a variety of other outdoor pursuits.

“We say it’s a slower pace of life, but it’s anything but boring with everything the area has to offer,” said Barry. “What our buyers really love is that this region lets them truly unplug and slow down, in the sense of having time to spend on the people and activities that matter to them most.”

Currently available at Heritage Harbor Ottawa are custom home sites priced from $92,500, vacation cottages priced from $209,990, townhomes priced from $284,900 and immediate-delivery single-family homes priced from $329,900.*

For information on Heritage Harbor Ottawa Resort and available homes, call (815) 433-5000 or visit www.heritageharborottawa.com.

*Pricing subject to change.

Key Elements for Your Vacation Home Search

Vacation home sales are on the rise! Imagine the comfort and convenience of having your own vacation home located less than 90 minutes from downtown Chicago. According to Tammy Barry, director of sales and marketing here at Heritage Harbor Ottawa Resort there are five important elements buyers should consider when looking for a vacation home:

1) Lifestyle and Amenities
First, buyers should make sure any vacation home they consider offers the lifestyle and recreational amenities they value most, advises Barry. “After all, a vacation home is all about how you want to spend your valuable free time, so think hard about what activities you want to have nearby,” she said. “For instance, many buyers choose Heritage Harbor Ottawa for their vacation home because they want a boating lifestyle with a full-service harbor, a great waterfront location and the camaraderie of the marina environment. Plus, our location in Starved Rock Country offers a great active lifestyle with access to state parks for hiking, the beautiful I&M Canal Trail for biking, and areas for fishing, watching wildlife and more.”

Barry suggests vacation home buyers should spend ample time in an area before deciding to purchase a second home there in order to experience the full lifestyle the location offers and see how they will spend their time. “It’s also a great idea to visit during different seasons to see if it is a vacation home destination you can enjoy year-round,” she said.

2) Ideal location
According to Barry, it is also important for buyers to think about a second home location in terms of the logistics of traveling there. “Buyers should be realistic about how much traveling they are willing to do to get to and from a vacation home,” she said. “Most people want a location within two hours of their primary residence so they can get maximum use out of their second home without spending a lot of time in the car or having to purchase expensive airline tickets.”

She added that in a major metro area like Chicago, traffic patterns and rush hour are a factor, too. “Think about whether a location will allow you to avoid typical traffic issues,” Barry said. “For example, Starved Rock Country is a great second home choice for anyone living in the southwest or western suburbs because they don’t have to go through or around Chicago to get to Ottawa. That can be a big time savings, particularly during rush hour.”

3) Sense of Community
Many buyers are also looking for a second home where they’ll enjoy the same sense of community and belonging they have at their primary residence, noted Barry. “One of the main reasons for purchasing in a favorite vacation destination is the opportunity to put down roots and feel like you belong,” said Barry. “That’s why buyers have so much appreciation for the tight-knit community among our residents at Heritage Harbor, where neighbors really become friends, not to mention the small-town charm of Ottawa itself. Everybody knows each other and people can relax and enjoy the slower pace of the local scene.”

4) Memories to Cherish
Another top priority for a number of vacation home buyers is having a place for family and friends to spend quality time together. “Buyers often want to be able to step away from their busy day-to-day lives and go somewhere where they can focus on their loved ones and create amazing memories,” said Barry. “We have quite a few residents who think back fondly on their own childhood and the special places their families spent time together, and they want to recreate that same legacy for their own kids and grandkids.”

Barry added that for these buyers, a vacation home where they can live a simpler lifestyle with their family and friends is imperative. “At Heritage Harbor, they want to do things like skip rocks in the river with kids, sit around a bonfire with friends, or have family game night after a day out on the water,” she said. “The focus is really on the time spent together.”

5) Value and Rental Income
While a vacation home is a luxury purchase for most buyers, value is still often a deciding factor for those in the market for a second home, according to Barry. “We see many buyers who are attracted to Ottawa not only because they love the lifestyle they will enjoy here, but also because they can still get a good value on a second home compared with other popular destinations, such as Michigan and Wisconsin, where the market is maxed out and prices are higher,” said Barry. “Here, buyers realize they are still getting in early on a market where prices haven’t peaked.”

Another factor for some buyers is the home’s potential as a vacation rental property. “For many homeowners, renting out their vacation home when they aren’t using it themselves can be a good option to offset the cost of ownership,” said Barry. “Many resort communities like Heritage Harbor also offer rental management services to residents, which simplifies what goes into renting out the home such as maintenance and cleaning as well as marketing the property.”

For information on Heritage Harbor Ottawa Resort and available homes and vacation rentals, call (815) 433-5000 or visit our website.

A Simple Life at Heritage Harbor Video

Click here for a taste of the simple life.

Remember the good old days when life wasn’t so complicated? Make your way to Heritage Harbor Ottawa and experience the simple life! Ottawa is brimming with small town charm. Here, you find family-owned stores and hometown festivals and you’re always greeted with a smile. Heritage Harbor offers an easy getaway to the simple life with quaint cottages and river views.

A Day at Heritage Harbor Video

Click and enjoy this video tour ~ A Day at Heritage Harbor Ottawa!

Heritage Harbor Ottawa is the premier Marina Resort Community in the heart of Starved Rock Country.  We are conveniently located 90 minutes from downtown Chicago in the historic town of Ottawa.  Our community is nestled along the scenic Illinois river and features charming homes, walk-able neighborhoods, a world-class marina, dining, activities, adventure and amenities.   Watch the video and see the many reasons why, “This is the Place”.

Fall Colors At Starved Rock


Come see the fall colors at Starved Rock!

Ottawa, IL is surrounded by plenty of natural wonders, including rivers, forests, bluffs and canyons. Add in the gorgeous reds, oranges and yellows of the changing leaves, and the area’s stunning landscape becomes a must-see every fall season. Here are four of Ottawa’s best spots to hit in order to experience the magnificent fall colors.


Starved Rock State Park

The park is beautiful at any time of the year with its 18 sandstone canyons, 14 cascading waterfalls and abundant wildlife, but Starved Rock State Park truly shines in the fall. In September and October, the park features a vibrant expanse of oak, maple and elm trees with the brightest colors around. Because of the park’s hills and bluffs, the majestic colors appear in a tiered effect that allows viewers to take in more colors at once. Click here for our rentals for your stay.


Every year, Starved Rock holds Fall Colors Weekend. During the event, guides provide free hiking tours which lead to various overlooks and canyons within the park where people can enjoy the breathtaking colors. The 2015 Fall Colors Weekend is Oct. 18–19, with guided tours leaving the Visitor Center at 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. each day.

Matthiessen State Park

Not far from Starved Rock State Park is another state park with prime viewing of fall’s changing colors. Matthiessen State Park offers five miles of trails that wind through fragrant cedar forests and pass by waterfalls and canyons, leading to incredible vantages where you can snap photos of Central Illinois’s stunning beauty.

Catlin Park

This 333-acre county park features bluffs, an oak-hickory forest, steep ravines covered in maple trees, and a mixture of other trees scattered throughout along the landscape. With a wide variety of trees and plant life, Catlin Park is one of Ottawa’s hotspots for fall foliage. The park has 14 different trails for hiking, biking and horseback riding, so grab your hiking shoes, bicycle or saddle and enjoy a day on the trails surrounded by the magnificent fall scenery.

Hungry after hiking? Visit our restaurant.

Illinois River Road National Scenic Byway

Named one of the 30 Great Midwest Fall Color Getaways by Midwest Living, the Illinois River Road National Scenic Byway promises some of the best natural sights in Central Illinois. The byway begins in Ottawa at Washington Park and passes through over 100 nature-related sites along the Illinois River Valley on its way to Havana, where the byway ends. Along the trail, you can take in the stunning fall foliage and other natural beauty of the area while making stops in quaint towns along the way. The Illinois River Road National Scenic Byway also passes through Starved Rock State Park, Matthiessen State Park and Catlin Park, making it possible to hit all of Ottawa’s best spots for fall colors in one trip.

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The natural beauty of Starved Rock

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Beautiful hiking trails.

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Peaceful walk-ways.

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Breathtaking waterfalls.

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Awe inspiring sunsets.


Progressive Home Tour

August 22 Progressive Home Tour To Showcase Available Vacation Homes at Heritage Harbor Ottawa


OTTAWA, Ill. (August 22, 2015) – Buyers in the market for a vacation, retirement or full-time waterfront home are invited to attend a “progressive” home tour on Saturday, August 22 at Heritage Harbor Ottawa Resort, a marina resort community located in Starved Rock Country, along the Illinois River in Ottawa, Ill.


Located just 90 minutes southwest of Chicago, Heritage Harbor Ottawa is a 142-acre master-planned development of single-family homes, townhomes, vacation cottages, carriage homes and condos, centered on a 32-acre harbor and full-service marina. With its offering of boating amenities, waterfront living, and nearby recreational opportunities such as Starved Rock State Park and the I&M Canal Trail, the community offers a resort lifestyle for those seeking a vacation, retirement or full-time residence in this region.


The progressive home tour will take place from 1 to 5 p.m. and will include the opportunity to view Heritage Harbor Ottawa Resort by boat and then travel by golf cart to tour a variety of currently available homes in the community. Attendees will sample different snacks and beverages at each residence and will receive a small gift at every stop on the tour. At the conclusion of the tour, guests will be given a complimentary gift certificate to Heritage Harbor’s on-site restaurant, the Red Dog Grill.


“We have such an incredible variety of homes available at Heritage Harbor Ottawa that we thought it would be fun for prospective buyers to experience them in the spirit of a traditional progressive party,” said Tammy Barry, director of sales and marketing for Heritage Harbor Ottawa. “Attendees will be our guest as they tour these residences, and will have a terrific opportunity to learn more about the community and the lifestyle it offers. We hope they’ll also stay to use their Red Dog Grill certificate and be part of our BREWERY NAME Half Past Red beer launch party, with skydivers landing around 5:45 to tap the first keg and kick off an evening of live music and celebration.”


Homes on the progressive tour include immediate-delivery single-family homes, priced from $339,000; the West Harbor Lofts, a collection of four-level townhomes priced from $270.000; the Flite townhomes, an enclave of four contemporary townhomes priced from $390,000; and available vacation cottages in the Cottages at Heron’s Landing neighborhood, priced from $159,000. Attendees will also be invited on a “dusty shoe” preview tour of two homes currently under construction at the Cottages at River Row, the community’s newest pocket neighborhood.


Additionally, tour participants will have the opportunity to demo a Hobie Kayak from the Heritage Harbor Marina, and will learn more about boating and recreational amenities at Heritage Harbor Ottawa and in the surrounding Starved Rock Country region.


RSVPS are required for the progressive home tour; to register, call (815) 433-5000. For more information on available homes at Heritage Harbor Ottawa, visit www.heritageharborottawa.com.


About Heritage Harbor Ottawa

Heritage Harbor Ottawa is a 142-acre master-planned marina resort community of 600 homes located on the Illinois River in Ottawa, Ill., just 90 minutes from downtown Chicago. Featuring a 32-acre marina surrounded by pocket neighborhoods of waterfront custom homes, condominiums, cottages and townhomes, Heritage Harbor Ottawa is a unique residential option in Starved Rock Country for those seeking a vacation, retirement or full-time home on the water. For more information, visit www.heritageharborottawa.com.

Try Before You Buy

Purchasing a new home requires a big commitment—both time and money. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could try one before you buy it?

You get to test-drive a car and try on clothes before making a decision, so why not do the same with a home?

At Heritage Harbor Ottawa, we want prospective buyers to know what their everyday lives will be like in one of our homes and within the greater Ottawa community, which is why we offer the opportunity to rent a home before buying it. Families can spend a weekend or even a whole week in a home before making a purchasing decision, giving them time to become familiar with the development and explore the surrounding area.

Custom Home Sites At Heritage Harbor Ottawa

Waterfront Home Sites at Heritage Harbor Ottawa

By spending time in a home, you can experience all the little things that may not come up in a shorter visit or that you may not even consider until you stay overnight. How loud is the dishwasher? Where does the sunlight shine in at different times of the day? How strong is the water pressure in the shower? Nuances like these can make or break a home, and having the chance to discover them beforehand will put your mind at ease.

In addition to learning more about the inside of your prospective home, utilizing Heritage Harbor’s “try before you buy” option allows you to explore the community. We want people to fall in love with all of Heritage Harbor Ottawa­ – the marina, the downtown area and the people – not just the bricks and mortar.

During your stay, you can mingle with your potential neighbors and discuss their experiences living in Heritage Harbor. You can go into town and ask the baristas at the local coffee shop for their opinions on the best restaurants, shops and scenic spots in the area. Your family can also take advantage of the many year-round recreational activities available in Ottawa and Starved Rock Country, including kayaking, hiking, horseback riding and even skydiving.

After you try one of the homes and spend time in the area, you will realize why Heritage Harbor Ottawa is becoming the premier marina resort in the Midwest. Review Our Homes page on our website to see the selection of cottages, townhouses and custom-designed homes, and don’t hesitate to schedule a “test drive” so the homes can speak for themselves.

Starved Rock Country Marathon

There’s a big event coming up in Ottawa on May 16th. The Starved Rock Country Marathon will attract thousands of runners and supporters, and they’ll be lining the streets of Ottawa and the trail out to Starved Rock State Park. If you’re planning on participating in this event, now’s the time to start training.

Starved Rock Country Marathon

Because of the winter weather, training isn’t always going to be easy. Daylight is in short supply, and this means many people will be training in the dark. Here are some safety tips to help you get ready for the half or full marathon on May 16th:

* When running at night, use only those trails you are familiar with. Wear reflective clothing and attach lights to your body so drivers can see you. Before heading out, check the trail conditions. If it recently snowed or got warm enough to melt the snow, the trail might be icy. Purchase good running shoes and a pair of ice cleats to keep your feet under you on winter runs.

* Vary your workout. There are many training schedules online to help you prepare your body for the distance of a marathon. They recommend alternating your distances, speeds and altitudes, if possible, to help you build up the endurance and muscle strength you need.

* Give yourself a new workout. When you train for just one sport, you don’t necessarily work out every muscle in your body. So throw in a fun day of cross country skiing on the Starved Rock State Park or Matthiessen State Park trails systems. It will provide you with an enjoyable way of strengthening your endurance while you explore the beauty of Ottawa’s neighboring state parks.

* Dress for the weather. When working out, you’re going to get warm. You still need to protect your skin against wind chills, though, so most runners dress in layers. As you strip down during your run, however, you’ll need to find a way to carry your clothes or a place where you can leave them for pick up once you’re finished.

* Find an indoor alternative. When the weather is really awful, head to a gym for a safe workout inside. Ottawa has several fitness facilities you can join, all with workout equipment that will help you stay safe and warm while training.

The Starved Rock Country Marathon website also has training tips. Check it out atstarvedrockcountrymarathon.org

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