Heritage Harbor Ottawa Blog

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It’s Happening at the Harbor

“ The sultry sweet days of summer are here to stay, and we want to know how YOU plan on spending them at the harbor! “

The sultry sweet days of summer are here to stay, and we want to know how YOU plan on spending them at the harbor!  We are open for the season, we and cannot wait to make memories with you. Whether you intend to spend the long, sunny days on the water or on land, we have plenty to keep you occupied.

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Right-Size Your Lifestyle at Heritage Harbor

The Harbor Life at Heritage Harbor encourages community and life enjoyment for all.

With the almost cult-following recent television series such as Tidying Up with Marie Kondo and Tiny House, Big Living among others have acquired, people are looking to ‘Right-Size’ their lifestyles.  Clearing out the excess possessions as well as square-footage are goals of many people searching to minimize the stress of homeownership while at the same time maximizing enjoyment of life. Explore our community by visiting https://www.visitheritageharbor.com/community/

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You’ll want to be caught in THIS loop!

“We were not out of the lock until after dark. The marina had a guide boat lead us into the harbor, provided us with a late dinner, and exceeded all of our expectations. This is one excellent marina.” -sminard 

If you haven’t yet heard of the Great Loop, it is a continuous waterway including part of the Atlantic, Gulf Intracoastal Waterways, the Great Lakes, Canadian Heritage Canals, and the inland rivers of America’s heartland.   Any mariner who completes the full journey officially earns the ‘Looper’ title. 

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Fido’s taste of Freedom

” Local dog owners are thrilled to have a place for their pups to “run wild and free!” 

Heritage Harbor is the first to offer a space for our furry friends to run leash-free in Ottawa.  The greatly anticipated new addition of River Run Dog Park has everyone talking.  This fenced-in park is the only space in Ottawa in which owners can take their dogs for a leash-free romp, given local leash ordinances.

This amenity is available for everyone’s enjoyment at no cost, and the overwhelming gratitude has been heart-warming.  People want the best for their dogs, and freedom to run around and play is an important aspect of keeping them healthy and happy. We are enjoying viewing the posts and pictures owners have shared of their fur babies enjoying the space, and we are so happy we can offer this opportunity for pet play dates.

A tremendous amount of gratitude is owed PetSmart and Starved Rock Community Foundation, as these organizations along with Heritage Harbor have made River Run Dog Park possible.  Waste bags and disposal station are provided for your convenience.

The responses to our initial announcement say it all…local dog owners are thrilled to have a place for their pups to “run wild and free!”  Bring Fido out to Heritage Harbor and give him a taste of ‘freedom!’

Ashley Lynch and her beautiful dog enjoying the park.
*Image Supplied from Heritage Harbor’s Facebook Page
Sean Porter and his dog Bodo having fun at the River Run Dog Park. 
*Image Supplied from Heritage Harbor’s Facebook Page

Are you excited to have this amenity at Heritage Harbor??? Comment Below

Reasons to Love Living the Snowbird Lifestyle

“Each year, numerous people contemplate the option of purchasing a second home with the intention of ‘seasonal migration.’

Each year, numerous people contemplate the option of purchasing a second home with the intention of ‘seasonal migration.’ This arrangement can offer people the best of both worlds—maintaining your ties with your roots while enjoying a seasonal change of locale. We say, contemplate no more…we have the perfect ‘Northbird’ home and lifestyle for you! Visit www.visitheritageharbor.com/ottawa-il/ and you will discover why Heritage Harbor is an award winning resort community. 

If you’re considering living the Snowbird lifestyle, Heritage Harbor is what you’ve been searching for. Our various home plans featuring main-floor living ensure there is something for everyone, and an active adult lifestyle is no exception.  Make the harbor your ‘Northbird’ home and enjoy the natural beauty of the seasons in Starved Rock Country as they unfold—greenery bursting forth in the spring months giving way to the long, lush days of summer and eventually transforming into the kaleidoscope of a Midwest autumn.  The nostalgia of the seasons is one of our area’s greatest draws.

Heritage Harbor’s location in the heart of Starved Rock Country attracts families interested in the natural beauty and adventure activities characteristic of the area.  At just 90 minutes from downtown Chicago, the proximity to family is a major draw for active adults, keeping you close to family, close to home.  Your new home will become the home base and gathering place for family events and holidays in the years to come—the perfect site for making memories to cherish. 

When you’re ready to break up the long winters, take advantage of our on-site rental management program to offset some of your property investment costs. One of the benefits of owning a second home is making money renting it out in your ‘off’ season.  Since you have the final say, you can always keep your home available as a home base for winter holiday trips north to enjoy the breathtaking winter scenery and local activities.

Come visit us and take a tour and view one of our model homes. You’ll want to stay a while and make it a weekend event taking in some of the local culture. We can’t wait to welcome you to the Harbor Life at Heritage Harbor! Discover more about the community at: https://www.visitheritageharbor.com/community/

Are you excited??? Comment Below

Hassle Free Boating

Enjoy boating and watercraft adventures, without the hassle of owning a boat.”

Enjoy boating and watercraft adventures, without the hassle of owning a boat.

The vibrant marina at Heritage Harbor is literally at the heart of the Harbor Life. The central feature of our beloved resort is the site of endless summer fun. Our marina is positioned on the Illinois Waterway, just 90 minutes from Chicago, and is waiting to offer you the boating experience you’ve been dreaming of.  The marina amenities, including restrooms and shower facilities, ATM, TV, WiFi, dry storage, pump out, security, and many more, are something to be rivaled.

Heritage Harbor is making a splash and big things are happening! Our 140-slip harbor is expanding the current capacity to accommodate more families. The 2018 addition of the floating Event Pavilion has expanded the entertainment capability of the resort, as we now offer facility rental for private events right on the water.

For those interested in water craft rentals, our marina offers jet ski, electric boat and pontoon boat rentals. Quest Watersports offers Hobie pedal board, SUP, and kayak rentals for your enjoyment. Our staff will ensure that all the necessary equipment is transported to the marina and will retrieve it when you’re done – no stress!

Book your watercraft of choice by visiting https://www.visitheritageharbor.com/watersports/.


If you are interested in regular boating, but would rather skip the hassles that accompany ownership, then Quest Watersport’s Quest Express membership is for you! Quest Express provides access to a range of premium boats at your leisure.  This means you can have countless boating adventures and endless fun without the burden of maintenance, storage, and other ownership hassles. you like. Just choose a boat online, pick a time to go boating, and that boat will be ready & waiting for you at the marina.  All fun, no fuss…then do it again next time, all summer long!

Try some tubing or wakeboarding behind a nimble sport boat, or perhaps a relaxing cruise on a luxury pontoon. Bring your friends & family, enjoy a spectacular day on the water, and then moor your boat when you’re done.  It’s like having your own fleet of boats and a personal butler to take care of the details!  Affordable membership plans are offered, and coaching is available if needed.

Find out more about Quest Express Boat Membership by visiting www.questwatersports.com/questexpress.htm


Book a cottage stay or take a discovery tour of real estate opportunities available at the Harbor. Spend the day on the water and then return to your Harbor Home to continue your Harbor Life experience. See you on the water! Book your stay at The Harbor Inn, online at https://www.visitheritageharborinn.com/

Learn more about Heritage Harbor at www.visitheritageharbor.com/ or call 815.433.5000


Have you ever been to the Heritage Harbor Marina? Tell us about your experience. Comment Below

MAKE YOUR VERY OWN INDEPENDENCE DECLARATION THIS FOURTH OF JULY

Get your freedom back as you explore the mystique and wonder of the Illinois Waterway under the golden Starved Rock sun 

I say Independence Day…you say? 

The Independence Declaration of 1776, to most of us living Americans, is a huge deal! There is just no room for us to gloss over the immense importance of our independence…most especially on Independence Day! In fact (red-blooded patriots that we are) we’re turning the whole independence dial up a few clicks this July Fourth – and here’s why… 

You say Independence Day, we say find your freedom! 

As proud Americans, we thrive on the rich elements of bravado, courage and expedition in our multifaceted history. We revel and thrive in our absolutely breathtaking landscapes, high-rise buildings, economic superpower and buzzing trade centers. Yet, for all this, we often miss the importance of celebrating our own independence and exercising our own freedom as individuals and families! So, we’ve made it our soul mission (and we extend the challenge to you and your family this 4 July) to relive, revisit and revive our own personal freedoms this Independence Day. 

And we’re going do it right here on the water at Heritage Harbor 

Some are more conscious of it than others…but there probably isn’t a person on the planet that wouldn’t register at least some soothing, some invigoration, or some peace from that lapping, pouring, rushing, flowing sound of water in the country. When you add a few rolling hills, some graceful birdlife, a full range of grassy greens and leafy Lambadas, a breathtaking bluff or three, and perhaps even the exhilarating sound of a tow boat making the most of a lazy summer day…you get that oh-so-heavenly vibe, which we call the harbor life at Heritage Harbor. 

You, relaxing on or near the water this Independence Day 

For you it might look like hiring a kayak and venturing out to explore the Illinois Waterway. It may mean launching your own or hired tow boat using our world-class marina facilities, and letting your hair flap wildly in the wind as you feel the speed and exhilaration of raw power on glassy waters. You could take a SUP board out on the Illinois River and soak in the Starved Rock Country sun, or you could kick those feet up and browse the skies, river banks and plains with your new binoculars. Taking a meandering walk through our waterfront-cottage neighborhoods is also likely to give you the retreat your soul has needed for so long. 

Outdoor Revival (Tomi Stonajovic) says that the health benefits enjoyed by people who spend time on or near water include (amongst many others) the soul-cleansing effect of fresh air, the immune boost of the great outdoors, the calming and sedating effects of the sounds of water lapping and flowing, and the blue-mind effect of peace and tranquility. All of the above flow with abandon at Heritage Harbor, and are just waiting to give you the independence you deserve on 4 July 2018. 

While you’re at it – bask in our American history, without it being a history lesson… 

No, Independence Day is not about rehashing the monochromatic version of our nation’s history. It IS about rediscovering that history in such a way that it comes to life in you, and brings you to life! Ottawa IL, where Heritage Harbor is located, is a crucible of natural, social and industrial history that will leave you feeling truly American all over again – no rote history lesson involved!  

Yes, we are talking about experiencing the cultural wonder of how America came into being! We are also talking about the legends and stories of First Nation tribes defending their own. And yes, we are absolutely talking about Irish, French and a host of other explorers coming upon this great piece of continent and doing all within their power to make it their own! But more (sing along) much more than this… 

More than anything, we’re talking about YOU! 

Now be careful to hear the spring in our voice, the whistle in our mood, and the buzz in our tone as we tell you that what we really want, here at Heritage Harbor, is for you to rediscover your freedom like you did the first time (maybe you are still waiting for your first experience of freedom out in the country?!). We want you to experience what it’s like to be you in a wide open landscape, surrounded by friendly, loving people!  

When was the last time you really let your hair down, wound down, and got your stress levels down by rounding up your family and turning up the fun in and around gorgeous river settings? When last did you re-experience the wonder of some small-town charm and real McCoy US history first-hand? Exactly…but again, all that can change this 4th of July 2018! 

How about now? Experience Independence Day at Heritage Harbor in Starved Rock Country this July 4th? 

Seriously, though. It’s time! We’ve been waiting for you to discover the sheer magic of this place. It’s not just about having a vacation, buying a designer waterfront cottage, and exploring the open water. It’s also about you finding the real you and enjoying what that feels like – especially when you’re surrounded by nature and those you love! 

See you on July 4! 

BE TOP OF THE POPS THIS FATHERS’ DAY 2018!

3 things you should do with Dad in the Midwest on his special day 

 

There are those times when nothing can beat a good ol’ fashioned shout-out! Fathers’ Day is surely one of those times, and maybe you’ll join us as we lift our faces to the sunny sky, cup our mouths, and holler out loud for all the world to hear just how grateful we are for the fathers in the US of A who’ve held, helped and harbored their loved ones.  

Godspeed you Pops! 

 

My father, the harbor 

 

When a Dad is taking up his role in the family, he is like a harbor to his loved ones. Think about it – Wikipedia defines the word harbor, in its literal sense, as “a sheltered body of water where ships, boats, and barges can be docked.” But the word has also taken on a more spiritual meaning in the English language, whereby anyone or anything that offers safety, protection, and provision can be called a safe harbor.  

 

We’ve seen hundreds of Dads being the safe harbor for their families 

 

We’ve seen literally hundreds of families enjoying what we affectionately call the harbor life at Heritage Harbor, and we have noted the immensely striking and powerful  parallel between a physical harbor (one of which exists right here in the form of a world-class marina), and the role of a father in society. 

 

And this got us thinking about having Fathers’ Day at Heritage Harbor… 

 

If you’re in Illinois, and you don’t mind taking a peaceful and sedate drive through the countryside until you arrive in Ottawa IL, then you’ve just found yourself the ideal place to celebrate Fathers’ Day! And here’s why… 

 

1. To start with, you’ll be in the heart of Starved Rock Country and Ottawa IL 

 

Surrounded by the small-town charm of Ottawa Illinois 

 

Visit the site of Abraham Lincoln’s first public debate, the town where boy scouts was born, and the home of ancient mansions-turned-curio shops and restaurants. Experience the natural garden-feel of this country town as you browse its down-to-earth country experience, craft beer, locally cultivated wines, and a host of other unforgettable experiences. 

 

Starved Rock Country – the best kept secret of the Midwest 

 

Yes, there are tens of thousands of people in Chicagoland who have actually never visited Starved Rock Country. Worse, many of these have never even heard of this – the best kept secret of the Midwest…that should never have been a secret in the first place! 

 

High-adrenaline and extreme OR cultured and sedate – it’s here for you! 

 

Starved Rock Country is blessed with the landscape and the conditions to dazzle the adventure-seeker. Whether your Pops is the high-adrenaline type who enjoys skydivingzip-liningATVing, driving on the speedwaybike toursshooting and the like, or the more refined, cultural type who takes more to wine tasting, coffee housesguided tours, hiking and fishing, you can bet your bottom dollar that Starved Rock Country has what it takes to keep both you and he thoroughly engaged in the experience. 

 2. Dine your Dad at the Increasingly Famous Red Dog Grill 

 

Red Dog Grill is becoming a major attraction at Heritage Harbor. We’re not sure if it’s the exquisite marina views, the direct spectator opportunity of the various boating and watersport activities that happen on the Illinois Waterway, or if it’s the simply spectacular gourmet meals…but whatever it is – it’s working! So come on over and treat your old man to all the above – you won’t regret it! 

 3. Fathers’ Day fun on the water 

 

But let’s cut to the chase – it’s summer! It may have been slow in coming, but it’s here, right!?! And Fathers’ Day has that special summer feeling about, too. Jump in with a splash as you celebrate your Dad. 

If boating blows his hair back 

 

Whether your Pops has a thick head of hair or if he’s thinning on top just a little, he’ll love the wind slipping past his face as you take him on a tour of the Illinois Waterway in one of our Jetskis which are for hire. 

Pontoon Boating 

 

Hire a pontoon boat and take a country cruise down 20 miles of smooth water. Pick up some snacks from the Tikki Bar, and be sure to bring your binoculars along so that you can survey the teeming water and birdlife, and revel in the exquisite views of the Illinois Waterway. 

SUP hire 

 

Is your Dad a stand-up guy? If so, stand with him as he flexes those core muscles on one of our hired SUP boards – it’s literally like walking on water! 

 

Kayak hire 

 

Keep a good balance by hiring some kayaks and peddling your way along the water. Your tour can be as far as you want it to be. Take a slow peddle down to the islands, or venture to the other side of the river and get an up-close experience of the beautiful fauna and flora of the Illinois River banks. 

Give your Dad the Fathers’ Day he’ll never forget – for all the right reasons. Get him to Starved Rock Country, and give him the celebration he deserves. 

We’ll see you on the water! 

Anchors away! 

The Top Tow Boating Location in The Midwest

20 Miles of Boating Bliss along the Illinois Waterway 

Tow boaters are coming out in force as a long and dreary winter’s icy fingers slowly lose grip of the Illinois Waterway. The air is crisp, the water is flowing, the sun is beginning to shine, and any tow boater who’s really a tow boater wholeheartedly intends to make good of it all!  

Tow boating between Marseilles Lock and Starved Rock Lock 

What many of us boarding and ski enthusiasts don’t know, is that, basking in the Starved Rock Country Sun, is a stretch of nearly 20 miles of smooth, ski-worthy waterways that should really be called the mecca of tow boating in the Midwest. 

Situated between the Marseilles and Starved Rock Lock, the water is mostly still and undisturbed, which is great for powering up and crafting the perfect wake. As your board skims along the glassy surface, you charge up for the next thrill maneuver and aim to pull off the trick which you will boast about in the weeks to follow, the rush is real. We all dream of pulling off the perfect Heelside Mobe or Whirlybird, but the truth is, whether you’re a beginner, trying your first Toeside Edge, or are more advanced, there is no doubt, that this body of water will give you the thrill you are seeking. And let’s not forget that this stretch of the Illinois waterway warms up much earlier than the great lakes, so you can drop the wetsuit much earlier than you think.  

More on the Illinois Waterway 

A quick Wikipedia read-up reveals that the “Illinois Waterway system consists of 336 miles (541 km) of water. The Waterway was a project designed to provide a navigable channel from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico via the Mississippi River. The Starved Rock Lock and Dam was constructed between 1926 and 1933 as an element of the Illinois Waterway.  The body of water up river from the Starved Rock Lock and Dam provides the perfect place to get great views of nature while you gear up for your next tow. 

Perfectly positioned, state-of-the-art marina infrastructure 

If you are a water sports and towboat enthusiast, then you will discover that Heritage Harbor’s state-of-the-art marina facilities and waterfront dining at the Red Dog Grill, is the perfect location to launch and end your boating day.  Together with neat, well-maintained and cutting-edge marina facilities, you will realize that you are quite literally in the tow boating haven of the Midwest. Let us not forget to mention that should you want to make your trip into a boating vacation then the Harbor Inn has wonderfully appointed rental cottages for your next stay.  

Whetting the appetite of Tow Boaters in 2018 

Boats.com gets the juices going as they profile some of the top tow boats for skiing, wakeboarding and value-for-money.  

For straight-up water skiing, check out the specifications of the MasterCraft ProStar and Malibu TXi MO river-rage machines. If Wake surfing and Wakeboarding is your gig, then, according to Boats.com, you’ll do well to explore the capabilities of the Tigé RZX3 or the Malibu M235. 

We look forward to seeing you on the water this summer! Let’s make it HUGE! 

Upgrade Your Inner Explorer by Discovering Your Perfect Vacation Rental Property

The age of living like a local…on vacation, is HERE! 

Places. Placemaking. The magic of place! No matter which way you say it, if you’ve discovered the splendor of traveling to new places, lived the local life (yes, with their locals), eaten the food from their favorite restaurants or take-out spots, and explored natural landscapes and culture while avoiding the camera-flashing bus-tour vibe of yesterday (yes, that big city tour for the masses is fading away), then you’ll know why hundreds and thousands of Americans are getting themselves into a trip about the new trend of vacation rental property. 

 

On the other hand 

…if you’re still wondering what this new buzzword – vacation rentals, is all about, then stay on board because you’re about to taste something amazing! 

Matt Landau, travel writer and Vacation Rental Marketing Blog (VRMB), calls it The Sense of Place. Taking a traditional vacation is, well, it’s a vacation – and you can have fun on a traditional vacation, but you SIMPLY WILL NOT gain the rich Sense of Place that can be achieved from “living” like a local. 

 

But, what’s the big buzz about? Can there really be THAT big of a difference? 

Oh yes! You’ve heard of the traditional summer vacation at on the coast. You’ve seen countless ads promoting summer vacation packages for a yet another 7-day vacation to the Outer Banks of one place, to the coastal air of another, and still to the grandiose views of a given hotel near Mount Somewhere-or-other – right?  

 

Live like a local…only you’ll be away from the humdrum of everyday 

Right! But we’d bet money on saying that, for anyone that’s taken one of these offers or booked their own getaway or vacation in America’s ‘favorite’ destinations, they’ve missed the feeling of living, breathing, eating, socializing and enjoying the local life, just as if they were at home…but away on vacation. Why? Because they were not part-and-parcel of the local life from the time they arrived…and by the time they departed for the (usually) long journey home, they had not developed the sense of place that they could have achieved if they had rubbed shoulders with friendly locals-in-the-know from the get go! You see, it all comes down to the experience of the Place – and not the commercial tourist’s plastic and napkin affair, which never really gets them out of the lobby, so to speak. 

 

But the new trend of Vacation Rental Properties changes ALL this! 

Imagine that you discover (perhaps by reading or watching an ad, or on social media, or through an enamored friend or family member), that Ottawa, Yes Ottawa in ILLINOIS, holds some gorgeous small-town charm. You do a bit of web surfing and learn that the town, along with Heritage Harbor, it’s world-class marina resort and settlement, is in the heart of breathtaking Starved Rock Country where historic happenings dating back hundreds of years took place. And, you decide, “I want to take a vacation there!” 

 

A fresh perspective on Vacations, OR Traditional (slightly over-commercialized) same-old 

From this point on, one of two things happens: Either you go the traditional route, making reservations at a brand chain hotel in the area, OR you catch the magic train of Vacation Rentals, and you get in touch with Heritage Harbor’s, Harbor Inn. 

Let’s just give you the benefit of the doubt, and say that you opted for the latter rather than the former (to get that sense of Place, and all that)… 

 

Friendly locals help you to live life like they do, while you’re on vacation 

Speak to a proud local from the very beginning 

You would be called and greeted by a friendly voice on the other side of the line, who would take the trouble to get to know you just a bit, only to ensure that you were placed in the right cottage, villa or home, and that you had close and convenient access to the craft, facilities and amenities that were most suitable to you. A detailed guide for What to do in Starved Rock Country would be shared with you, and you would receive helpful trip tips and things to think of if you’re going to get the best of Starved Rock Country. 

 

Be part of the community in a natural, unforced and refreshing way 

On arrival, you’d be no different than any other homeowner on the Heritage Harbor development. You’d be part of a warm and friendly neighborhood, you’d have your freedom to move yet you’d receive countless greetings and offers of help, not just from the Harbor Inn’s friendly staff, but also from residents and other vacationers. 

 

The daydream-come-true continues 

To carry on the daydream (but one that comes true every day for vacationers across the Midwest)…it wouldn’t be long before you were heading up to Red Dog Grill for a meal or refreshment with newfound friends, paddling out on the blissful Illinois Waterway with someone who had been a few times more than you, or venturing out with a local into Starved Rock Country for an exploratory hike, a daring skydiving adventure, or just to watch the Bald Eagles doing life in the winter. Can you see how vacation rental properties are transforming vacations yet? 

 

Vacation Rental homes are Inn 

The days of hotel rooms in high-rise buildings are fading away somewhat. Couples and families across the US are now drawn to vacation homes like bees to honey, and it’s not difficult to see what all the buzz is about!  

AirBnB’s vast Vacation Rentals arm is probably the main reason they have grown as they have…and here’s the thing: people want to vacation in homes where they can explore as a local and experience the authentic appeal of special places. Traditional hotels are for visitors, outsiders and travelers, and are full of do-not-disturb signs that offer you little more than an in-your-face reminder that you are not at home. 

 

Share the vacation bliss by renting your home to vacationers 

What about you? Are you one of the lucky ones that own a vacation house, cottage or villa in a beautiful place? If you are, you’ll want to give some thought to placing your property on a vacation rental management program so that you can seize the opportunity of earning a second income, or at least covering a decent portion of that mortgage repayment every month. More than that, you can still enjoy your vacation spot at your leisure by communicating the dates of your stay with the rental manager in advance. It’s the new, hassle-free way to get the most out of your vacation property, both from a lifestyle and financial point of view. Heritage Harbor and The Harbor Inn, makes owning a vacation rental cottage a breeze; with grass cuttings, snow removal and landscaping being maintained by the home owner’s association, an optional general cottage maintenance program; and guests stays being managed by The Harbor Inn. It doesn’t get easier than this.  

Come on – the Vacation Rental adventure awaits! 

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