“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.Read More
Have you heard about the Heritage Corridor Ale Trail? It is quickly becoming a popular Midwest beer destination along the Illinois’ historic I&M Canal National Heritage Corridor. The trail surrounds more than a dozen breweries from Chicago Portage to Starved Rock State Park. Here breweries are making unique beer that you just can’t get anywhere else. You can experience the culture of small towns and the exclusive flavors of that specific area! Radium City Brewing in Ottawa is one of these breweries. Its beers are available at our own Red Dog Grill! Another local stop mentioned is Tangled Roots Brewing Company. Did you know that it is one of the few US craft breweries that grows its own hops and barley? Exciting things are happening in our own backyard!
As new shoots emerge and trees deck themselves out in a canopy of green, you’ll be more likely to see your neighbors and friends out and about being active. Why the trend? May is the month for wellness. It doesn’t need to be on any calendar as it is a natural change that happens with the warming temperatures and inviting natural foliage. How can you take advantage of this magical month? Heritage Harbor has a few suggestions for getting outdoors and sampling the best May has to offer.
Need a Few Suggestions?
Dr. Oz recently mentioned that May is a great month to work on fitness and wellness goals and just enjoying being outdoors in nature. Nicer weather and longer days allow one and all to head outside for a stroll, run or game of tennis. In addition, spring produce kicks in with freshly-grown seasonal produce, such as chives, ramps and other zesty herbs for additional color, flavor and nutrient boost to dishes. Can you hear the call? The Great Outdoors beckons.
90 minutes from Chicago, the Illinois River awaits, cresting along Heritage Harbor and Starved Rock Country. For visitors and residents of Heritage Harbor, take part in a range of activities, all at your own pace.
• Take a stroll or run along the Harbor Walk. Spy the arrival and activity of a number of seasonal birds including the American White Pelican. Conservation Cove is home to a diverse array of Ottawa’s wildlife.
• Get an early start on your day and enjoy a full day of water activities. Quest, located at the marina, offers kayak and stand up paddleboard rentals. Grab a quick bite at the Marina store and head out for a day of fun in the sun.
• Explore the I&M Canal Trail, a part of American History, connecting parks, historic sites and museums in a 61-mile attraction.
• Get your group together for a playful game of sand volleyball and enjoy the view, a satisfying meal and your favorite brew down at bar and grill, The Red Dog Grill. Loser buys.
Heritage Harbor and the Ottawa area offers activities to promote an active lifestyle. The choice is yours. Gear up for these local area happenings this May: the Starved Rock Marathon and the Virtual Marathon. Take part in hiking, photography activities and more at Starved Rock State Park and Matthiesen State Park. Book a stay at Heritage Harbor to indulge in all of the May action. A range of comfortable residences restore and rejuvenate after a day of doing and exploring the Ottawa area.
If you want to take a very long walk or a decent day-long bike ride, The Illinois and Michigan Canal Trail that passes directly through Ottawa is the best place to start. It’s 61.5 miles routed through state parks, quaint Illinois towns and the beautiful countryside, home to corn tassels waving in the breeze. Adding to the beauty of this trail are the Illinois and Des Plaines rivers, giving trail travelers plenty of opportunities to stop and enjoy the scenery.
The I&M Canal was completed in 1848 to connect Lake Michigan with the Mississippi River via the Illinois River. It was immediately put to use for trade transportation, and the tow paths were created by mules and oxen pulling barges through. In 1933 the Illinois Waterway was completed, and the canal closed for traffic. Now the towpaths are beautiful bike trails, with many historical signs posted along the way providing the story of the canal. During winter, if there are four or more inches of snow on the ground, you can also take snowmobiles on the trail along the canal.
Ottawa is a great starting spot for your journey along the I&M Canal Trail. To the west you have three state parks that can keep you busy for many long weekends of exploration. They are Matthiessen, Starved Rock and Buffalo Rock.
No matter the time of year, you can bring your snowshoes, cross country skis, snowmobiles, hiking boots or bicycles for an extended weekend at your second home in Heritage Harbor Ottawa. You’ll enjoy the colorful scenery Illinois has to offer in one of the prettiest areas of the state. Because of the trail conditions, horses are not permitted on the I&M Canal Trail.
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