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!
The Morel of the Story
Get your hunt on at the Midwest Morel Fest 2018
Just one Morchella, give it to me
As any morel enthusiast knows – ‘tis the season to be jolly, not for sleigh bells and singing in the snow, but for morel hunting in the sweet spring air of the Midwest. The melting away of the snow and the return of spring creates the perfect conditions for recently activated Mycelium spores to grow and bear fruit – otherwise known as the morel. Morel is the word used to refer to any mushroom species within the Morchella genus, which, owing to its rarity and popularity amongst chefs and foodies, is regarded as the fantastic, smoky, earthy, indescribable…even mystical mushroom.
A taste that’s earthy, but out of this world
Tom Nauman, self-confessed Morel maniac of Morel Mania, says that “the flavor of the morel mushroom is an ongoing debate amongst mushroom hunters”. The flavor of morels is somewhere between nutty, meaty and earthy, but, as Nauman says “Whatever it is, it keeps people coming back [to the Fest] every year.”
And anyone who’s had the privilege of tasting one of these fungi delicacies will agree – the trance-like glaze that comes over the eyes is not for any mind-altering substance (no, they are not magic mushrooms), but is attributable only to the blissful, some would say orchestral, culinary celebration that takes place in your mouth when they are prepared correctly.
Morels hidden in Ottawa Illinois (the hidden gem of the Midwest)
Join us on the Jordan Block of Ottawa IL, May 5th. Ottawa is in the heart of breathtaking Starved Rock Country, the hidden vacation jewel of the Midwest. And we have to make the point here, that there is a certain poetic subtlety in the fact that the hunt for these hidden and most prized Morchella are found in the hidden, beautiful and charming small town of Ottawa IL.
Thanks to the Ottawa Visitors Center (OVC), the Morel Fest has, well, you could say…mushroomed since it was revived in the area in 2007 (previously held in Magnolia). The Executive Director of the OVC, Curt Bedei, celebrates the 2018 Morel Fest by pointing to the ideal suitability of Ottawa and the Morel Fest. “The botanical, outdoor brand of the city suits the Fest…and, being a family affair with intergenerational appeal, we get many return participants coming to the city year after year.”
What’s happening at the Midwest Morel Fest 2018?
The momentous event now boasts:
- a guided hunt for beginners, which enables others to catch the morel-hunting fire and pass on the technique to future generations
- a championship hunt for pros, which involves prizes and brag rights to avid morel hunters from over a dozen states, making it the popular event it has become today
- beer tasting from a range of home-brewed craft beer (sponsored by Tangled Roots Brewing Company), and
- a Morel Market that enables non-hunting morel maniacs (foodies and chefs) the opportunity to purchase their packet of paradise when they purchase the highly sought after ‘shrooms from those that have mastered the art of finding them and transporting them in prize-winning condition to the Fest.
The Morel Fest kicks off what Ottawa IL locals call their high season for events. For more on forthcoming Ottawa IL events, visit www.pickusottawail.com.
Grow in the secret art of Morel Foraging
Nauman, ever passionate about his craft (being a descendant of a lineage of morel hunters), has begun the Morel University, which focuses on teaching people about morels and passing on the ancient art of finding them. The spring season in the Midwest provides the window for morel hunting, and many avid hobbyists have converted their passion into a revenue generator.
Mix in Some of the Harbor Life
Speaking of secrets, Ottawa IL is the home of Heritage Harbor, the Midwest’s increasingly favorite marina resort and development that has been attracting the attention of many who are seeking a retreat from the bustle, but in a way that enables them to spend quality time with loved ones, soak in the scenic views of Starved Rock Country, and to do it on or near the beautiful Illinois Waterway.
Heritage Harbors – Harbor Inn offers Morel Festers the opportunity to explore Ottawa through its Cottage Rentals offering, which is sure to give you an honest-to-goodness experience of the charming small town – just like a local. You will meet people who know how to give you a truly energizing, authentic and rewarding stay.
Winning Midwest Morel Recipes
Jump on over to Midwest Living to find some of the most celebrated morel recipes (like the Spring Pasta Morels, Ramps and Peas) that have become part and parcel of the life of Midwesterners since morel mushrooms were first discovered in the area.
Happy hunting! See you in May 2018, 2019, 2020 and beyond!
Heritage Harbor Ottawa is being developed in the finest tradition of some of America’s most iconic & memorable communities. We believe that a sense of “community” has more to do with quality than with quantity and we strive to see that value reflected in everything we do. Whether our customer is a passionate boater , a full-time resident or simply seeking to spend the weekends at a vacation cottage, we want Heritage Harbor to be the place they call “home”.
The Heritage Harbor development vision focuses on developing a community with a broad spectrum of attractive homes, timeless architecture, walk-able neighborhoods, a world-class marina, dining, events, activities, adventure and amenities. Heritage Harbor is “new urbanism”, “pocket neighborhoods“, and “traditional neighborhood development“.
Recently the Chicago Tribune published an article that highlights some of the benefits and features offered by Pocket Neighborhoods. Ross Chapin is a well known architect from Washington’s Whidbey Island and he is helping developers with “re-envisioning” the traditional neighborhood. According to Mary Beth Breckenridge’s article, “Chapin believes people are longing for simpler lives with more interpersonal connection.”
“It’s the kind of existence he knew when growing up on a Minnesota lakeshore, in a neighborhood steeped in what he called ‘porch culture’-a culture where people had reason to venture outside their homes, where children could roam free and where neighbors interacted on a regular basis.” At Heritage Harbor Ottawa…we feel the same way. If you would like to read the article, please follow this link to the Chicago Tribune website. Chicago Tribune article on Pocket Neighborhoods
Heritage Harbor Ottawa is a 142 acre master-planned, marina, resort community located at the gateway to Starved Rock Country in Ottawa, Illinois on a 32 acre harbor with water-frontage to the scenic Illinois Waterway. Heritage Harbor is uniquely positioned to offer a unique resort lifestyle to residents and guests. The community is located less than ninety minutes from downtown Chicago, Rockford, Bloomington, Peoria and less than two hours from Champaign-Urbana. The Starved Rock Country area is recognized and well-regarded as a “getaway” location for people in Illinois & throughout the Midwest. The combination of recreational amenities & accessibility make Ottawa an ideal location for a premier resort community.
As resort developers and “place creators”, Heritage Harbor is striving to deliver a memorable and enduring resort community development project. Heritage Harbor has already constructed one of the Midwest’s finest marinas. Heritage Harbor has established a strong brand and a reputation for delivering a world class resort lifestyle. Through hard work, strong leadership, diligent planning and continuous innovation, Heritage Harbor Ottawa continues to build a world class resort community. We believe that concepts like “Pocket Neighborhoods” and “Traditional Neighborhood Development” not only produce a more appealing streetscape…but a more appealing lifestyle.
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