” The natural beauty of the trees attracts visitors from far and wide as they burst forth in blazing magnificent color. The trees truly show us how beautiful ‘letting go’ can be! “
As we enter the final quarter of the year, we can’t help but wistfully long for the halcyon days of summer. However, there’s a sweet resignation to the start of autumn and the restorative and restful effect it has on us—mind, body, and soul. Fall is so much more than pumpkin spice and bonfires, although those things certainly boost our enjoyment of this beloved season in the Midwest.Read More
“Fall has officially arrived!!! Cooler evenings, clear sunny days, the arrival of pumpkin spice everything”
Many people would say that Fall is their favorite season, and those in Starved Rock Country have much to be excited about!!! The natural environment in Starved Rock Country is unrivaled as trees are preparing to reveal their true glory in a kaleidoscope of color.
If you haven’t made your Fall Bucket List yet, here are 25 ideas to get you in an “Autumn State of Mind.”
- Hit the trails at Starved Rock or another Illinois State Park.
- Participate in Bike-a-rita; bike from Heritage Harbor to Buffalo Rock and back.
- Check out Scarecrow Fest on September 29 in Downtown Ottawa, and if you’re feeling adventurous, enter your own Circus-themed Scarecrow!
- Plan to take part in Utica’s 49th annual Burgoo Festival, one of the longest-running and largest fall festivals in northern Illinois. This year’s event is scheduled for October 6th and 7
- Light up the backyard bonfire and toast some hot dogs and marshmallows.
- Attend a football game and tailgate with fans.
- Book your Water Sports rental and take advantage of the last few weeks of aquatic fun on the Illinois River.
- Bake an autumnal treat or visit Ottawa Bakery to indulge in a tasty treat.
- Invite friends over for a pumpkin carving or scarecrow building contest.
- Make caramel apples and kettle corn and host a games evening with friends.
- Grab your witchy pals for Witches Night Out in Starved Rock Country at Pitstick’s Pavilion on October 13 for a bewitching ladies-only evening.
- Take an Illinois River cruise to get a view of the fall spectacular from the water.
- Brew some pumpkin spice coffee and go for a fall foliage drive
- Schedule a Girls’ wine and craft night. Makery on Mill provides scheduled craft evenings as well as the option for private events.
- Capitalize on the cooler weather and have a garage cleanout session.
- Take a family trip to the orchard. Boggio’s Orchard in Granville has something for everyone with weekend festive fun, pumpkins, apple cider, cider donuts, corn maze, and petting zoo. Be sure to check out their annual Pumpkin Harvest Craft Show on September 29-30.
- Host or attend an outdoor scary movie night.
- Go on a spooky ghost tour or view the Ghosts of Ottawa Past at Reddick Mansion.
- Experience a stay in a Harbor Inn cottage at Heritage Harbor with exclusive Illinois River fall foliage views.
- Dine al fresco at a local restaurant. Soak in the harbor views at Red Dog Grill, or for a downtown view, try the new A.S.H. location on LaSalle St, Ottawa.
- Schedule a family photoshoot to take advantage of the rich fall color palette.
- Cook up something savory with squash or pumpkin.
- Participate in a weekly Parkrun event at Heritage Harbor in Ottawa or take a leisurely bike ride along the I & M Canal.
- Indulge your inner adventure-seeker with a Skydive Chicago
- Schedule a date for the Wine and Art Walk on November 3 in downtown Ottawa.
Whatever you decide to do this fall, we hope you enjoy the change of seasons as much as we do. Happy Fall, ya’ll!!! What are you most excited about this fall?? Comment below to share with us!
Heritage Harbor Marina
For those looking for a vacation home close to Chicago, fall is the perfect time to “opt in” at Heritage Harbor Ottawa Resort, a marina resort community in Starved Rock Country. Not only will those who purchase in the community between Sept. 15 and Oct. 15 receive a $5,000 discount, but also the first two buyers in that time frame will receive $10,000 off.
Located along the Illinois River in Ottawa, Ill., just 90 minutes southwest of Chicago, 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. It features 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.
“Fall is perfect timing for buyers to choose a custom home site at Heritage Harbor,” said Tammy Barry, director of sales and marketing for Heritage Harbor Ottawa. “Buyers can break ground immediately so construction happens over the winter, or spend winter finalizing a custom design and start building next spring. Either way, their new vacation home will be ready next summer.”
Several prime riverfront land parcels are available at Heritage Harbor where homebuyers can build their dream resort home and enjoy views of the Illinois River as well as wildlife attracted to the water, such as bald eagles and white pelicans. Also available is a harbor-side lot with an optional private boat slip behind the home, plus a handful of interior home sites.
“These home sites give buyers a unique opportunity to customize a home to the lifestyle they envision having here,” said Barry. “From a bunk-bed room to a sleeping porch or a kitchen with a super-sized island, buyers can design a home with the exact options and features to give them everything they want in a vacation home.”
Home sites at Heritage Harbor are priced from $92,500 for neighborhood lots to $160,000 for riverfront sites.
Heritage Harbor also has a variety of inventory homes currently available. “Autumn is one of the most beautiful seasons in Starved Rock Country thanks to our amazing fall foliage, so there’s still time to buy an immediate-delivery home and enjoy this special time of year,” said Barry.
Among the homes available for immediate move-in are two carriage homes in Heritage Harbor’s Pelican Landing pocket neighborhood. These two-story homes feature living space above attached first-floor garages, second-floor decks and first-floor covered porches. One home featuring one bedroom, one bath and a two-car garage is priced at $206,900, while a second carriage home with two bedrooms, 2½ baths and one-car garage is priced at $209,900.
“These carriage homes boast terrific, efficient layouts for those who want a home base for getting out and enjoying all the recreational options Starved Rock Country offers,” said Barry. “Plus, owners will be just a few steps from the neighborhood pool at Pelican Landing.”
Also available for immediate move-in are vacation cottages priced from $209,990, townhomes priced from $284,900 and single-family homes priced from $329,900.
Red Dog Grill Restaurant
All homeowners at Heritage Harbor Ottawa have access to a variety of on-site amenities in the community, including Heritage Harbor’s full-service marina. Open April 1 through October 31, the marina is equipped with a dual boat launch area, single-load floating docks, WiFi, City water, cable service, a full-service fuel dock, pump-out services, and car and trailer parking. Quest Water Sports’ Quest Express boating membership is available on-site, giving participants access to a fleet of boating equipment for an annual fee.
Other amenities at Heritage Harbor include a harbor-side restaurant, The Red Dog Grill; multiple neighborhood pools; beautiful green spaces with seating areas; fire pits; the Harbor Walk; a sand volleyball court; year-round events and activities; and access to the I&M Canal Trail, which runs adjacent to the community.
For information on Heritage Harbor Ottawa Resort, available home sites and inventory homes, call (815) 433-5000 or visit www.heritageharborottawa.com.
Prices are subject to change.
Every year at the end of September, hundreds of people head to Starved Rock Country and fill the streets of downtown Ottawa for the famous Scarecrow Festival.
This year’s event, marking the 28th annual celebration, will take place on Saturday, Sept. 26, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Featuring a number of activities for all ages, the festival is an Ottawa tradition the whole family can enjoy.
The festival’s main attractions, of course, are the scarecrows. Local businesses and organizations construct the scarecrows to match the year’s theme and compete for prizes in two categories. The scarecrows are then put on display throughout downtown and festival goers vote on their favorite. The theme for this year hasn’t been announced yet, but Ottawa’s businesses and organizations have a hefty task ahead to beat the amazing straw Batmans, Supermans and other heroes from last year’s Superheroes theme.
Scattered throughout downtown alongside the scarecrows will be various booths and tables where people can learn about local businesses and nonprofits, watch demonstrations, and buy crafts and baked goods. In fact, the Scarecrow Fest features over 75 booths every year, making it Ottawa’s largest vendor fair. Many of the restaurants and shops in downtown also run special promotions during the festival so people can take a break from the vendor fair and activities to grab a bite and shop at some of Ottawa’s favorite stores. Other popular Scarecrow Fest activities include the chili cook-off, pet costume contest, Zombie Run 5K and a morning farmer’s market.
While the vendor fair, sales and chili cook-off are meant for adults, plenty of activities will also be available for children. Ottawa’s Scarecrow Fest is even recognized as Illinois’s biggest toddler-friendly festival because of its offerings for children of all ages, not just older children. A petting zoo, face-painting stations, bouncy houses, a rock-climbing wall and the bicycle rodeo are some of the attractions younger members of the family can enjoy at the Scarecrow Fest. Kids are also encouraged to take photos with their favorite scarecrow or in one of the scarecrow cutouts so families can remember the fun they had at the event.
Ottawa’s Scarecrow Fest is sure to be a fun-filled day for everyone, from families with kids and couples looking for a date idea, to friends getting together for a day out. Mark Sept. 26 on the calendar and make sure to come out and support the Ottawa community.