“ Spring has sprung, and with it, the promise of all things new! .. “
New Life—New Promises!
Spring has sprung, and with it, the promise of all things new! Many of us make New Years Resolutions at the beginning of each year….and many of those resolutions soon fall by the wayside. Winter doldrums inevitably set in, and those changes we envisioned making in our lives are forgotten as the reality of day-to-day life sets back in.
Optimism—An Important Ingredient
So here we are, a few months into the year, and the ice and snow are quickly becoming memories of another winter past. Spring in the Midwest affords an unrivaled sense of optimism, so doesn’t it make sense to rather focus on our resolutions now? New life and growth as well as longer, warmer days are the perfect ingredients for implementing successful changes.
Have a desire to incorporate more physical activity? There’s no better time than spring to jump-start an active lifestyle! The still moderate temperatures encourage physical exertion without the discomfort of summer’s heat and humidity. Head to the numerous state parks in Starved Rock Country to enjoy a nature walk. The trails are teeming with new signs of life as flora and fauna begin another cycle of life. Hike or bike the I&M Canal trail or the Harbor and River Walks. Every Saturday morning, Heritage Harbor Ottawa parkrun (a volunteer-operated free weekly timed 5K) is hosted at the Harbor. This weekly event is a great way to measure your fitness growth week by week throughout the year.
Make the Connection!
Connecting more with our community is an inner desire many of us harbor. It can be one of the most difficult of resolutions to implement because it most often involves stepping out of our comfort zones to spend time with people we don’t yet know. The great thing about living at Heritage Harbor is that you have a built-in community network surrounding you! Our neighbors become friends and our friends have become neighbors. The resort team loads the events calendar with a variety of fun events designed to encourage connection among residents as well as members of the larger Ottawa community. Heritage Harbor Ottawa parkrun encourages fitness and community involvement through participation as either a volunteer or a 5k participant. Make it a goal to take part in one or more event next month, and you will be well on your way to making the personal connections we all so deeply crave!
Live it Up!
Maybe your intention is to live your life to the fullest. Spring at the harbor means patio dining at Red Dog Grill! Take your dining alfresco and enjoy a delicious meal while taking in the beautiful sunsets over the harbor. Renting a cottage with family and friends is a great way to spend a long weekend. Unwind and recharge while you enjoy some local boutique shopping, spa sessions, delectable cuisine, and outdoor adventures. You may even decide that the Harbor is where you’d like to spend more time. This is the season to house hunt or plan your dream home, so come see what’s on offer at the Harbor! Secure your slip at Heritage Harbor Marina this month and start your boat preparations to ensure a long season of aquatic fun for your family and friends.
Are you excited for spring??? What are your plans for this coming spring? Comment Below
However you decide to spend your lengthening days this spring, make sure you make time to stop and smell the roses…and the peonies and the hyacinths!
“ With daylight saving time 2019 just around the corner, you should start getting your summer plans in order… “
With daylight saving time 2019 just around the corner, you should start getting your summer plans in order. Heritage Harbor is planning a summer to remember full of sun, sand, water, friends and fun!
Heritage Harbor’s vibrant marina was voted Boaters’ Choice 2018 by marinas.com, and you only must stop in to see why. Just 90 minutes from Chicago, our vibrant marina is ready and waiting to give you the boating experience you’ve been looking for.
Positioned on the Illinois Waterway, Heritage Harbor Marina offers 32 acres of harbor, boasts a harbor opening width of 200 feet, and hosts 140 boat slips ranging between 35 and 60 feet. You’ll enjoy the single-load floating docks and private dock boxes for each slip. Due to demand, our marina is expanding with a summer 2019 addition of 20 new small-craft boat slips. We have been operating at near-full capacity and are ready to welcome more families into our harbor community with this expansion.
The gorgeous Illinois River provides an incredible backdrop to our amazing resort. Our additional marina services and amenities set us apart. We offer poolside beverage service, concierge-level dock service, dock staff assistance with fueling, pump out, and deliveries, full-service boat dealership with an on-call mechanical staff, Internationally Accredited Marina Manager and on-call management staff, and 24/7 on-site Harbor Hosts. Restrooms and shower facilities, restaurant, ship store, swimming pool, ATM, cable/satellite TV, wireless internet, ice, dry storage, floating docks, fuel, oil recycling, pump out, and winter storage are just some of the numerous amenities available for your enjoyment at our marina. We really are a ‘home away from home’ for all who stop here.
Want to try out our harbor before making it your home away from home?
Heritage Harbor offers on-site rentals of jet skis, pontoon boats, and electric boats. The Heritage Harbor Marina is also in association with Quest Watersports, offering rentals of Hobie pedal boards, kayaks and Stand Up Paddle boards. Our staff will ensure that all the necessary equipment is transported to the marina, and we will retrieve it when you’re done—no stress! .
Heritage Harbor Marina is a stopover point of choice for many mariners committed to completing the Great Loop. Our marina is on the map for an average of 140 loopers each season. These loopers take advantage of all that Heritage Harbor and Historic Downtown Ottawa have to offer. Follow their example and make us your port of choice!
What are your favorite memories about waterfront resorts or marinas? Comment Below
To book a cottage, boat rental or a resort tour call us: 815.433.5000
“ You don’t have to venture far this month to see that L-O-V-E is on many people’s minds. “
Stores are promoting all things pink, red, and heart-shaped, music reminds us that we are “Crazy in Love,” and everywhere you turn there is the siren call of some decadent confectionery tempting us to break our New Year’s resolutions with which we have so diligently persevered. Or not. Whichever way your January progressed, February is a new month full of new possibilities.
L-O-V-E Who You Share Life With
Valentine’s Day isn’t limited to celebrating romantic love. Cupid can be a reminder of all the forms of love in our lives. Many of us have a tribe of people we choose to do life with, and February is an excellent chance to celebrate those people. How you choose to show your love is your choice. You may decide to bake sweet treats with your sweeties or indulge in a meal for two at your restaurant of choice. An afternoon cup of coffee with a friend or a home visit with someone who isn’t able to get out are great ways to connect with those you care about or even to make new friends.
L-O-V-E What You Do
Finding your life’s passion is one of the most important things you will do. Living with passion and purpose is something we all strive for. We are each born with a unique life purpose, but it often takes some soul searching to find what that may look like. Do something this month to work toward finding yours! Look at the things you love to do. What comes easy to you? When have you experienced true joy? Explore those things you enjoy doing, and you will be on the path toward doing what you love and loving what you do!
L-O-V-E Where You Live
One way to enjoy life to the fullest is to really enjoy WHERE you live. WHERE you live often greatly affects HOW you live. A busy, vibrant city setting lends itself to a different life pace than that of a smaller town. Do you LOVE where and HOW you live? We personally love waking up on the river, taking in the sights, smells, and sounds of the harbor life we’ve come to know and love at Heritage Harbor. Our cottages and villas have a charming coastal flair that make them irresistibly inviting (if we do say so ourselves).
Let Cupid be your guide to finding ‘L-O-V-E actually’ this February. L-O-V-E this life you live!
What is your favorite thing to do in Starved Rock Country for valentines day? Comment below to share with us!
“ January. February. Two months of the year that can really seem to drag in the Midwest if we let them.. “
January. February. Two months of the year that can really seem to drag in the Midwest if we let them. Sometimes it feels as if there are only a few options to start out the new year. Declutter all the things that don’t ‘Spark Joy,’ or hibernate and binge watch our favorite shows until the sun starts to melt through the winter wonderland outside our windows.
What if there were another option? While decluttering and resting during the winter months have their place, we like to think the better option for this time of the year is connection. What better time is there than now to meet up with current friends and family or to make new connections in the community around you. Less yardwork, no summer sport commitments, and a reprieve from holiday expectations leave our evenings and weekends free to explore the area around you and to further establish connections with your community. It’s important to put down roots where we live, to meet strangers who may just become new friends!
Wondering what to do? Try out a local craft evening or pursue a new hobby of interest. Grab a group for dinner out or attend a tasting at a local brewery or winery. Join an active group and head outside for some cross-country skiing, ice skating, or hiking. The benefits of getting fresh air even in winter are vast, and a little bit of nature can go a long way toward staving off cabin fever and can even help keep you healthy.
You may wish to attend a local concert or art evening, sign up to volunteer for a cause you care about, or for a cooking class. You may also wish to open up your home, inviting others to a supper or book club, themed potluck, board game evening, or a game-day celebration.
Just remember, the hardest part is getting started! Try to schedule or plan one event or meet-up once a week. Let’s choose to spend our time forming bonds with those around us, putting down roots, and developing community.
What are your favorite ways to get out in the winter months? Comment Below
See which event you want to join next at Heritage Harbor by visiting
“ If you are up for a fun challenge to start the new year off on the right foot, then Heritage Harbor’s Penguin Plunge for Make-A-Wish can help you meet your goals. Have a chilly (and fun!) jump into the Illinois River and spend some time ‘Chillin’ for Children’ while you fundraise to help grant the wishes of thousands of children nationwide.“
Heritage Harbor’s Plunge team is gearing up for their 8th annual Penguin Plunge on Saturday, January 19, 2019. Last year, $130,000 was raised, resulting in 18 wishes granted. This year’s fundraising goal has been set at $175,000, and you can help make this year’s plunge a successful event!
A big thank you to this years sponsors:
- Heritage Harbor,
- Ottawa Firefighters Local 523,
- Bill Walsh Automotive Group,
- Ottawa First,
- Gerald Automotive Group,
- Exelon LaSalle Station,
- Thrush Sanitation Service,
- Tito’s Handmade Vodka,
- Tough Rigs,
- Resteberg Family,
- Marquee Event Rentals-Chicago,
- 1430 WCMY,
- Hick’s Gas,
- Midland States Bank,
- Halm Electric,
- Ladd Sound Productions,
- The Times Newspaper,
- LaSalle NewsTribune,
- Conroy’s Automotive & 24 Hour Towing,
- Dan Aussem,
- Tess Shymanski Photography,
- Golden Rule Lumber and Rental,
- Jacob Aicher,
- Sherri Lynn,
- Band Crash,
- Stevenson Transfer Inc.,
- Red Dog Grill,
- Appleway Catering,
- Southwest Airlines,
- Euclid Beverage,
- MK Makery & Event Design,
- Casey’s General Store (Ottawa, IL),
- Walmart (Ottawa/Streator/Peru, IL),
- Kay’s Keepsakes, Target (Peru, IL),
- Larry Johnson,
- Chicago Bears,
- Chicago White Sox,
- Chicago Bulls,
- Cook Media,
- Papa John’s Pizza (Ottawa, IL),
- The Home Depot, and
- Rosati’s Pizza (Ottawa, IL).
This event ensures that 100% of donations go directly to the Make-A-Wish Illinois Foundation to grant wishes of children in our local communities. Last year, more than 15,000 wishes were granted nationwide. That’s a wish granted every 34 minutes! If this event sounds like something you’d be proud to support, be sure to register here: http://site.wish.org/penguinplunge19 and fill out a pledge form here: 2019 Registration/Pledge Form. Make-A-Wish is dedicated to making every eligible child’s wish come true—register and fundraise today and you can be a big part of making that happen.
Plungers should make sure they are at Heritage Harbor by 12:00 PM on Saturday for registration. The Opening Ceremony will begin at 2:00 PM, followed by the Plunge.
Closing remarks and award ceremony will commence immediately following the last plungers. If you have any questions or would like to assist with this event, please contact Tammy at Heritage Harbor at (815) 433-5000 or email email@example.com.
We look forward to seeing you on Saturday as we come together as a community to spend some time ‘Chillin’ for Children.’
Have you ever done the Heritage Harbor Penguin Plunge? Comment below to share your experience with us!
“ The Illinois River may be frozen, but things are heating up at Heritage Harbor as we prepare to head out to various trade shows this month. “
Brave the elements to find out why 2018 was Heritage Harbor’s most successful year of sales and learn about our new neighborhoods. Heritage Harbor was voted best waterfront resort in the Midwest in the Official Best Of Illinois 2018. Come and visit and you’ll soon see why.
If boating and all things water-related are your scene, you’ll want to attend the Chicago Boat Show, which drops anchor on January 9-13, 2019 at McCormick Place in downtown Chicago. Check out the Official Show Guide for a complete list of exhibitors, products, attractions and seminar schedules to help you plan your day.
For those interested in the adventure of waterfront living, you won’t want to miss the Lake Home & Cabin Show in Schaumburg, Illinois on January 11-13. This show is custom built for those looking to buy a second home. It’s a one-stop event of answers, inspiration, and great ideas. You will find everything from rustic furnishings, architects and builders, sporting and outdoor gear, custom products and accessories, and anything you can think of for your getaway. Make sure to check the schedule to attend relevant how-to seminars and demonstrations.
Thinking ahead to retirement and active living? Then you’ll want to visit us at the Ideal Living Resort & Retirement Show in Schaumburg, Illinois on January 19-20. Low-maintenance adventurous living is at the forefront of Heritage Harbor’s vision. Come and explore how to restore your soul and live a life of adventure in Starved Rock Country.
Following this month’s shows, we will feature at several of the upcoming Home and Garden Shows. Be sure to look out for info!
Can’t make our shows? Contact your lifestyle consultant to book your tour today at (815) 433-5000 or visit www.visitheritageharbor.com.
What is your favorite living active thing to do in Starved Rock Country? Comment below to share with us!
This is such an exciting time of the year as we wrap up the old, and usher in the new! There are so many ways to make the most of this festive season in Starved Rock Country. Our Illinois River scenery is unrivaled as the falling snow turns the landscape into a glittering winter wonderland.
Tis the Season to be….
This is such an exciting time of the year as we wrap up the old, and usher in the new! There are so many ways to make the most of this festive season in Starved Rock Country. Our Illinois River scenery is unrivaled as the falling snow turns the landscape into a glittering winter wonderland. Whether you choose to enjoy the scenery firsthand with a hike, jog, or cross-country ski or from the warmth of a fire and steaming mug of something hot indoors, be sure to spend some time soaking up the stunning views at the harbor. You may even catch a glimpse of one of the many eagles that frequent the area during the winter season. The Red Dog Grill offers live piano music on Wednesday evenings to set the backdrop for a relaxing time spent with friends and family. Come for the day or stay for the weekend in a cozy cottage on the river. You may decide this is the place you can make home!
The holiday season is such a busy one for many. Gifts to purchase and wrap, meals to plan and prepare, events to host and attend. It can be so easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle that we forget to look out for the opportunities around us in which we can share our time and blessings. The holidays can be lonely for those who live away from or have lost family members. Offering to share an afternoon or evening of your time can make a world of difference to another. Many organizations conduct toy or gift drives for those who would like to share their blessings. Giving is the real reason of this season!
Heritage Harbor is proud to host its annual Penguin Plunge for Make-A-Wish on the 19th of January. Follow us on Facebook to learn how to be a part of this exciting charitable event.
The conclusion of another year leads one to a state of reflection and contemplation. Reflecting on the year behind us, we contemplate the areas we want to improve upon. Looking ahead, we make goals for how we intend to lead the next year of our lives. Whether your goals include more adventure and fun, time spent with friends and family, health and fitness, low-maintenance living, or even a profitable investment, Heritage Harbor is the place to make it happen!
From our family to yours, thank you for a very memorable 2018! Be sure to follow us as we are set to launch two new neighborhoods in 2019. We wish you a Happy and Healthy Holiday Season!!!!
What is your favorite Christmas thing to do in Starved Rock Country? Comment below to share with us!
“We are fortunate in our great country to have Thanksgiving week as one in which we spend time in reflection on our blessings. We look at our lives with appreciation and give thanks for the blessings bestowed upon us. As a whole, we have so much to be grateful for, and we’d like to take the opportunity to share our thoughts with you!“
At Heritage Harbor, we are so Grateful for YOU! Each individual who plays a role in the everyday or seasonal flow of events is greatly appreciated because you ARE Heritage Harbor. Without you, our harbor community just wouldn’t be the same. Community can be defined as, “a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.” Each boater, homeowner, or resident contributes to this feeling of fellowship as we share our common goal of creating a place where everyone is welcome, fun can be had, and life is lived.
We are so Thankful for the staff and employees that give so much time and energy throughout the year to make things run smoothly. We are thankful for our patrons, guests, and those who have chosen to make this their home. The diversity of visitors provides an interesting camaraderie. At just a 90-minute drive away, we are thankful for our proximity to Downtown Chicago and all this great city has to offer. We love welcoming those from the city to our harbor for a chance to unplug from the busy and reconnect with nature in our waterfront cottages. We love that the four seasons of the year in Starved Rock Country each offer a different captivating experience.
We are Blessed to be based in Starved Rock country in the midst of such extensive natural beauty. The area is graced with an abundance of wildlife and natural landscapes to admire in every season of the year. Our location allows us to provide a harbor and place of respite for the Great Loopers on their journeys, and we love that we can connect with these travelers. The amenities at Heritage Harbor continue to be a blessing to many wishing to lead active lifestyles whether it be boating, watersports, walking or jogging the Harbor Walk, participating in parkrun on Saturday mornings, or playing sand volleyball. We are blessed to have a helpful, caring community around us who are willing to help out when need arises, and to live in an area with a diverse local culture to enjoy at our leisure.
We wish to extend a very Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours, and we hope you know how truly thankful we are for each of you! ~The Heritage Harbor Team
What is your favorite thanksgiving thing to do in Starved Rock Country? Comment below to share with us!
“Hibernating during the winter months isn’t necessary in the Midwest as there’s still plenty to do and see, vacations to be had. Much fun can be found in Starved Rock Country of Illinois along the Illinois River.“
The team at Heritage Harbor resort and marina frequently help visitors and homeowners pinpoint the best winter activities in Starved Rock Countryand Ottawa, Ill. With visitors heading to the resort year-round for a rented stay in a cozy cottage and homeowners who routinely plan weekend vacations, the Heritage Harbor crew is well-equipped to keep you informed on local events. Situated just 90 minutes from downtown Chicago, Starved Rock Country is a Midwest oasis with outdoor fun, exceptional dining and shopping, and a community full of unique activities providing fun for people of all ages.
“There’s a common misconception that northern Illinois shuts down during the winter and there’s no fun to be had,” says Tammy Barry of Heritage Harbor. “Nothing could be farther from the truth here in Starved Rock Country. The changing of the seasons, especially winter, opens a whole new realm of places to explore. Many visitors of Heritage Harbor say winter is actually a favorite season to explore the area.”
There’s so much to see in in Starved Rock Country that it’s impossible to explore it all in one afternoon; there’s always something happening in the area. This year, Ottawa’s third annual Chris Kringle Market will be held in early December featuring artisan gift vendors, tasty holiday treats, traditional German-style beer, live music, and memorable activities for the whole family to enjoy. This year’s special activities include complementary carriage rides, festive carolers, ornament crafting, an ice carving demonstration, and even a visit from a live reindeer!
Before the Christmas holiday, visitors can experience a Victorian Christmas at Ottawa’s historic Reddick Mansion with Holiday Candlelight Tours or a Christmas Tea.
There is plenty of adult fun to be had as well, as local wineries in Utica, Ill., keep uncorking bottles throughout the season. Stop in for a tasting and tour at downtown Ottawa’s Tangled Roots Brewing Company. Enjoy a hearty waterfront dining experience at Heritage Harbor’s Red Dog Grill. The wood-burning fireplace creates a cozy atmosphere to gather around with friends and family. Downtown Ottawa offers a variety of dining experiences for those wishing to grab a bite after some shopping.
Starved Rock Country has some of the most beautiful scenery around due to the proximity to several state parks. Starved Rock State Park has been voted the #1 attraction in the state of Illinois. Winter has played a big part in Starved Rock’s popularity.
Last year, Starved Rock State Park welcomed millions of visitors. The park’s proximity to Chicago, free admission and free parking are factors in its continued popularity. The freezing and melting that happens during the winter months creates spectacular ice sculptures that draw viewers from near and far. The canyon ice falls are a must see this winter! The new year is ushered in with Winter Wilderness Weekend in January, in which guided hikes are provided to showcase the ice falls and nature’s winter wonderland.
The Illinois River is a notorious winter eagle nesting ground, bringing visitors from all over the U.S. This year, Eagle Watch Weekend is Jan. 26-27, with guided tours, hands-on and make-and-take activities for kids, and other connected activities at the Illinois Waterway Visitor Center. Spotting scopes are also available to get an up-close view of these magnificent birds.
Barry says Heritage Harbor is convenient for winter visitors because many want to stay in the area longer than a few hours—there’s just too much to do to simply cruise through. Cottage Rentals by Heritage Harbor’s Harbor Inn offers visitors the option to rent a cottage on the Illinois River waterfront for a weekend. The variety of cottages offered are perfect for a family as well as a couple looking for a weekend getaway.
With Heritage Harbor being in the center of all the activity, it’s the perfect place to be.
To learn about more hidden winter gems in Starved Rock Country and Heritage Harbor Ottawa, contact Tammy Barry at 815-433-5000.