Heritage Harbor Ottawa Blog

Articles Tagged with: Bald Eagle

Experience Valentine’s Day in Starved Rock Country, Illinois


Right here at Heritage Harbor Ottawa

If valleys and hills could sing, Starved Rock Country would be an endless song of bravery, passion and fortitude. Singing with chivalrous forté and gentle
piano, many a story of valiant love and bravado would resound from the region’s many breathtaking rocky heights and mystical river settings.

And speaking of breathtaking…

So here’s the thing – Valentine’s Day’s a-comin’!
You’re running out of time? You’re looking for some good suggestions and hints that will help you
to arrange that perfect Valentine’s Day experience for you and your special somebody?

Got it! Well, best we get on with it before it’s too late. After all, if all is fair in love and war, then you
don’t want to be making it easy for your competition. Just saying 😉

Dreaming and Dining with St. Valentine in Starved Rock Country

If you’re looking for a Valentine’s Day getaway, and you’re…let’s just say it…Romantic…then you may want to get the low-down on what is on offer for you in and around Illinois this February 14!

Heritage Harbor Ottawa: Your first stop, and the fast-becoming first-love of Ottawa Illinois Valentine vibes just 90-minutes from the ‘burbs

Heritage Harbor Ottawa is a master-planned resort development in Ottawa, Illinois.

Located just 90 minutes from Chicago, the development is quickly becoming a favorite for boaters and watersport enthusiasts in the fall and summer months, and for birders and romantics in the winter and spring months.

Love is in the air, and vacation rentals are on the winter water’s edge…

The vacation rental cottages and reunion homes that are available at Heritage Harbor are nestled beautifully around a master-planned marina resort. Surrounded by the untouched natural beauty of a winter wonderland setting, your soul will be awakened by the call of the Bald Eagles teeming in the skies in February month.

Dining with red hot love

Whisk your Love into the warmth and exuberance of the “Dine With Us” Valentine’s Evening at Heritage Harbor’s Red Dog Grilll – a fine restaurant run by fine chefs with a fine set of culinary skills that will set flame to your special time away. Book now to secure your table and prepare for an unforgettably romantic dining experience.

Here’s 4 Helpful Valentine’s Day Ideas for a Day-Night Stay in and Around Starved Rock Country
1. August Hill Winery and the Illinois Sparkling Company

Run by a notable winemaker, Mark Wenzel, August Hill Winer will give you a sip and a taste (and maybe more) of the locally
cultivated August Hill range of wines.

If you and your Valentine are more into the sparkle, the Illinois Sparkling Company will also scintillate your palates with their traditionally-made sparkling wine that would put any French Champagne through its paces.

If you’re inclined to take a wine tasting tour, make a loop past the Illinois River Winery and Clarks Run Creek Gifts and Wine Tasting. Who knows, you may leave as the new member of one or more wine clubs offered by these wineries (depending, of course, on how far your tasting endeavors went ;)).

2. Cosy up and gaze up at Starved Rock Bald Eagles

The Bald Eagles arrive in Starved Rock country in December and don’t leave until March. So, if you and your mate are up for a bit of fresh air on your face and the dreamy settings of white-headed raptors soaring in the skies, communing in the bare trees on snow-white backgrounds, and frolicking on the ice, you’d do no better than to book your stay at  Heritage Harbor Ottawa or one of the other vacation rental options in Ottawa or Utica – who knows, you may be overtaken by the Valentine spirit and do some frolicking of your own ☺!

3. A romantic escape to a 19th Century mansion

For a tasteful sojourn into old-style chivalry and honor, walk arm in arm with your love on the winding paths of the Hegeler Carus Mansion property. Hear, read and immerse yourselves in the romantic yet true and historic journey of the Hegeler and Carus families who lived and flourished in the mansion from the late 1800s until 2004.

Shop the Hegeler and Carus look, if you really care to do so, or simply allow your imagination to run free as you tour the mansion, browse its quaint and captivating little shops, explore its many nooks and crannies, and finish off with a delightful meal at its in-house (no pun intended, but let’s just leave it there if you please) restaurant.

4. The heart of starved rock – Starved Rock State Park

As we mentioned, Starved Rock is charged with the bravery, passion and loyalty of some of the First Nation tribes that were indigenous to the area. A Valentine’s Day and night stay in Starved Rock Country would be incomplete without taking a turn at Starved Rock State Park to experience the natural beauty, rich and
intriguing history, and open-air freedom of what we have all come to know and love as Starved Rock Country.

Take a trolley tour that will give you Bald Eagle views from the warmth of a heated vehicle (the weather may make a walking tour unpleasant). While you’re about it, you’ll learn about the great clash between the Illinois and Ottawa tribes, their loyalty, courage and fight, and the way this epic event was forever marked in time. You’ll love your time spent together, and you’ll love that you chose to celebrate love right here in Starved Rock Country, Ottawa, Illinois.

The Heritage Harbor Team

Bald Eagles are Soaring in Starved Rock Country, Illinois

3 Tips – Be Here, Bring your Best Binoculars, and Respect the Eagle!


You’re floating effortlessly on an anti-gravity, 8-foot wingspan at ten thousand feet above Illinois Starved Rock Country.  Gentle winds slip past your aerodynamic form and, in the perfect silence, the sun’s radiant energy is as loud as your favorite song…


Awaken the eagle in you as you experience the Bald Eagle in Starved Rock Country this winter…

For millennia the human race has held an innate fascination with eagles. No less the Bald Eagle that frequents the winter skies of Starved Rock Country near Chicagoland. So we thought that, since Bald Eagle season is hear in Illinois, let’s revisit a few helpful basics when scanning the skies and timber skylines for this magnificent raptor that means so much to us Americans.



Tip#1 – Don’t be a stranger in Starved Rock Country as you scan the plains for Bald Eagles

Yes, that’s us inviting you to make a trip of it!


Most birders with a passion for Bald Eagles would agree that, apart from Alaska, Starved Rock Country presents the most attractive Bald Eagle-watching opportunity. In the winter months we grab our gear and head out for a few days to get our annual Bald Eagle fix along the Illinois Waterway where these raptors hunt for fish and other prey.





For many, Ottawa (Illinois) would be the preferred destination to do just that. We’ve fallen in love with the friendly community, rich natural beauty, and literally hundreds of Bald Eagles calling our focus to the skies.

Reviews on TripAdvisor for Starved Rock State Park bear witness to this with thousands of positive reviews, certificates of excellence and photographs to convince you of the same! Check out some of the Vacation Rental opportunities at Heritage Harbor Ottawa to take your Starved Rock Country experience to whole new heights!


Tip #2 – Be sure to fly with the eagles in high definition!


Perched on the edge of the Illinois Waterway not far from his Harbor Cottage at Heritage Harbor in Ottawa, Illinois, one Bald Eagle fanatic is mesmerized by yet another siting of this magnificent bird of prey. He is fortunate enough to view the unfolding scene of a mother hunting for her young through the uber-focus of his SNYPEX Knight D-ED 8×50 Binoculars.


“Ahem, yes”, he says with a self-confident rumble in his throat, “I am boasting…but what’s a little brag between birders, right?”


Voted the best birding binoculars of 2017, these bad boys give the user the vivid sense that they are literally sharing the sky with this predatory bird as it slides through the open air. “I see the hunger in her eyes, and the urgency she feels because of the fact that her nest is vulnerable while she is out hunting”, says our fanatic (who will remain nameless).


According to BestBinocularsReviews.com, there are some important pointers to ensuring that you select the correct pair of binoculars for your bird-watching escapades:


Firstly, if you’re after one pair of binoculars that can serve all your bird-watching needs, don’t go more powerful than 8x magnification. Why? Well, BBR gives us 3 good reasons…


  • A Wider field of view to enable easier location of the bird you’re watching without scanning
  • Better image stability: a 10x magnification is more shaky because it amplifies every hand movement as much as the image you’re trying to view.
  • Greater eye relief: If you wear glasses or sunglasses while viewing, 8x magnification still provides a high definition picture; it is difficult to find 10x magnification binoculars that enable a high definition picture when wearing glasses.

So do yourself a favor and get your eyes on a pair of these before you arrive Heritage Harbor Vacation Rentals or any other highly rated accommodation in Starved Rock Country.



Tip #3 – Remember where this mighty raptor has come from, and do your part to conserve it


You may remember that, in 1972, Bald Eagles were regarded as nearing extinction in America. Having become the icon of US-pride from 1782 until that time, the raptor was dwindling in numbers owing to mankind’s culling them to protect the fishing industry, and using pesticides that would ultimately poison these masters of the sky rather than the rodents that they preyed upon.

Since that time, when DDT (toxic pesticide) was banned, the Bald Eagle has made a triumphant comeback – much to the pleasure of every patriotic American.

The US Fish and Wildlife Service continues to manage the Bald Eagle population with great diligence and care. It also urges the public to remember that, while it is no longer endangered, the Bald Eagle is still very much protected under US law. We all share the responsibility of ensuring that they are undisturbed and unharmed when we venture out to capture them photographically or visually in their natural habitats.

We’ll keep an eye out for you! Don’t miss the flight of the Bald Eagle in Starved Rock Country this February!



The Heritage Harbor Team

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