Heritage Harbor Ottawa Blog

Articles Tagged with: ottawa il


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! 

Upgrade Your Inner Explorer by Discovering Your Perfect Vacation Rental Property

The age of living like a local…on vacation, is HERE! 

Places. Placemaking. The magic of place! No matter which way you say it, if you’ve discovered the splendor of traveling to new places, lived the local life (yes, with their locals), eaten the food from their favorite restaurants or take-out spots, and explored natural landscapes and culture while avoiding the camera-flashing bus-tour vibe of yesterday (yes, that big city tour for the masses is fading away), then you’ll know why hundreds and thousands of Americans are getting themselves into a trip about the new trend of vacation rental property. 


On the other hand 

…if you’re still wondering what this new buzzword – vacation rentals, is all about, then stay on board because you’re about to taste something amazing! 

Matt Landau, travel writer and Vacation Rental Marketing Blog (VRMB), calls it The Sense of Place. Taking a traditional vacation is, well, it’s a vacation – and you can have fun on a traditional vacation, but you SIMPLY WILL NOT gain the rich Sense of Place that can be achieved from “living” like a local. 


But, what’s the big buzz about? Can there really be THAT big of a difference? 

Oh yes! You’ve heard of the traditional summer vacation at on the coast. You’ve seen countless ads promoting summer vacation packages for a yet another 7-day vacation to the Outer Banks of one place, to the coastal air of another, and still to the grandiose views of a given hotel near Mount Somewhere-or-other – right?  


Live like a local…only you’ll be away from the humdrum of everyday 

Right! But we’d bet money on saying that, for anyone that’s taken one of these offers or booked their own getaway or vacation in America’s ‘favorite’ destinations, they’ve missed the feeling of living, breathing, eating, socializing and enjoying the local life, just as if they were at home…but away on vacation. Why? Because they were not part-and-parcel of the local life from the time they arrived…and by the time they departed for the (usually) long journey home, they had not developed the sense of place that they could have achieved if they had rubbed shoulders with friendly locals-in-the-know from the get go! You see, it all comes down to the experience of the Place – and not the commercial tourist’s plastic and napkin affair, which never really gets them out of the lobby, so to speak. 


But the new trend of Vacation Rental Properties changes ALL this! 

Imagine that you discover (perhaps by reading or watching an ad, or on social media, or through an enamored friend or family member), that Ottawa, Yes Ottawa in ILLINOIS, holds some gorgeous small-town charm. You do a bit of web surfing and learn that the town, along with Heritage Harbor, it’s world-class marina resort and settlement, is in the heart of breathtaking Starved Rock Country where historic happenings dating back hundreds of years took place. And, you decide, “I want to take a vacation there!” 


A fresh perspective on Vacations, OR Traditional (slightly over-commercialized) same-old 

From this point on, one of two things happens: Either you go the traditional route, making reservations at a brand chain hotel in the area, OR you catch the magic train of Vacation Rentals, and you get in touch with Heritage Harbor’s, Harbor Inn. 

Let’s just give you the benefit of the doubt, and say that you opted for the latter rather than the former (to get that sense of Place, and all that)… 


Friendly locals help you to live life like they do, while you’re on vacation 

Speak to a proud local from the very beginning 

You would be called and greeted by a friendly voice on the other side of the line, who would take the trouble to get to know you just a bit, only to ensure that you were placed in the right cottage, villa or home, and that you had close and convenient access to the craft, facilities and amenities that were most suitable to you. A detailed guide for What to do in Starved Rock Country would be shared with you, and you would receive helpful trip tips and things to think of if you’re going to get the best of Starved Rock Country. 


Be part of the community in a natural, unforced and refreshing way 

On arrival, you’d be no different than any other homeowner on the Heritage Harbor development. You’d be part of a warm and friendly neighborhood, you’d have your freedom to move yet you’d receive countless greetings and offers of help, not just from the Harbor Inn’s friendly staff, but also from residents and other vacationers. 


The daydream-come-true continues 

To carry on the daydream (but one that comes true every day for vacationers across the Midwest)…it wouldn’t be long before you were heading up to Red Dog Grill for a meal or refreshment with newfound friends, paddling out on the blissful Illinois Waterway with someone who had been a few times more than you, or venturing out with a local into Starved Rock Country for an exploratory hike, a daring skydiving adventure, or just to watch the Bald Eagles doing life in the winter. Can you see how vacation rental properties are transforming vacations yet? 


Vacation Rental homes are Inn 

The days of hotel rooms in high-rise buildings are fading away somewhat. Couples and families across the US are now drawn to vacation homes like bees to honey, and it’s not difficult to see what all the buzz is about!  

AirBnB’s vast Vacation Rentals arm is probably the main reason they have grown as they have…and here’s the thing: people want to vacation in homes where they can explore as a local and experience the authentic appeal of special places. Traditional hotels are for visitors, outsiders and travelers, and are full of do-not-disturb signs that offer you little more than an in-your-face reminder that you are not at home. 


Share the vacation bliss by renting your home to vacationers 

What about you? Are you one of the lucky ones that own a vacation house, cottage or villa in a beautiful place? If you are, you’ll want to give some thought to placing your property on a vacation rental management program so that you can seize the opportunity of earning a second income, or at least covering a decent portion of that mortgage repayment every month. More than that, you can still enjoy your vacation spot at your leisure by communicating the dates of your stay with the rental manager in advance. It’s the new, hassle-free way to get the most out of your vacation property, both from a lifestyle and financial point of view. Heritage Harbor and The Harbor Inn, makes owning a vacation rental cottage a breeze; with grass cuttings, snow removal and landscaping being maintained by the home owner’s association, an optional general cottage maintenance program; and guests stays being managed by The Harbor Inn. It doesn’t get easier than this.  

Come on – the Vacation Rental adventure awaits! 

The Morel of the Story 

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 
  • 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! 

Midwest Morel Fest and Mash Up Home Brew Tasting

Festival season is beginning and Saturday May 6th promises to be a fun packed day here in Ottawa! It’s the Ottawa Midwest Morel Fest and Mash Up Home Brew Tasting at Jordan Block Park (Main Street and Route 23/71N). Festivities include morel mushroom hunting and auction, music, home brew beer tasting, kids morel painting and a craft and food market featuring local vendors.

About Morel Fest:
At Ottawa’s Annual Midwest Morel Fest you can learn, hunt and buy morel mushrooms. This unique festival offers ‘everything mushrooms’ from the morel enthusiast to the curious observer! Attend Morel University where you can learn to identify morels then take off for a guided hunt. We have set aside land just for you! There will also be a Championship Hunt which will feature over $400 in cash prizes. Both hunts have limited availability so be sure to register.

The prediction for the 2017 Mushroom season according to Mr. Tom Nauman, the conditions for morels are perfect. With a couple weeks to go, if the conditions hold up, this may be a great hunting season. So don’t miss out!


About Mash Up Home Brew Tasting:
The Mash Up Homebrew Festival is a friendly gathering of Homebrewers sharing their beer with you! Tasting tickets will be available at the door – 3 tasting for $5.00. Admission gets you samples of the best homebrewed beers our competitors have put on the line. Judges will pick the Best Brew and the Mayors Choice, while you, the people, will get to vote on People’s Choice. Judging will take place before the tent is open to the public. The tasting tent opens to the public at 12:30pm. Come by and  try over 50 different brews from clubs across Illinois!


Schedule of Events:
7:30am – Hunt & Auction Sign-In
8am to 8:30am – Morel University (Learn how to hunt morels)
8am to 4pm – Vendor Market
8:45am – Busses depart for hunt
9am to 11:30am – Guided & Championship Hunt
10am to 2pm – Kids morel painting
12:30pm – 5pm Morel Mash Up Home Brewers Tasting
1pm – Mushroom Auction
2pm – Championship Awards schedule subject to change
5pm – After Party at Tangled Roots (812 LaSalle St)

Schedule is subject to change.

Tickets and Information
General admission to market and morel auction: Free!
Pre-Registration Morel Hunt Fees: $30 adults, $15 kids under 12 ($10 additional fee for day-of registration) Register by May 2nd.
Home Brewers Tasting Tent: $5 for 3 tasting tickets. Must be 21 and show valid ID to participate.
For registration and more information, call the Ottawa Visitors Center at 815-434-2737 or visit www.PickUsOttawail.com.
Hunt tickets strictly limited. No Refunds.

Honor the Men Who Made America Great on President’s Day

Washington Square Park is the location of  first Lincoln-Douglas debate.

Lincoln’s Birthday and President’s Day are just around the corner and many look forward to a three-day weekend. However, President’s Day means more than getting in a few extra hours of sleep. It is a day of tribute to the great leaders of our country and the historic events that have led to seminal changes in our country. Did you know that Heritage Harbor is located only a few miles away from tributes to one of our great presidents? Come and investigate Ottawa’s rich history!

Visit the Location of the First Debate
Before Abraham Lincoln became president, his first debate with Stephen A. Douglas was held in Ottawa on August 21, 1858. The debate itself was held at the beautiful and historic Washington Square Park. At the time, an estimated 20,000 spectators gathered to watch the now famous debate. Find the exact spot of the debate, marked with a boulder and plaque. The precursor of the president he would become and his values are plainly present when Lincoln stated:

“I think, and shall try to show, that it is wrong; wrong in its direct effect, letting slavery into Kansas and Nebraska-and wrong in its prospective principle, allowing it to spread to every other part of the wide world, where men can be found inclined to take it.”

The Day of the Great Debate Mural by Don Gray

Ottawa has a beautiful mural commemorating the event at La Salle Street and West Jackson Street. As you visit Ottawa, see if you can locate this mural by artist Don Gray. Political events were a festive occasion in the 1800s and parades, hog roasts and medicine hawkers were known to be a part of the activities and people to be met with on such a day. Senator Douglas was a man of great renown at the time and Lincoln was the underdog in this aspect. However, Lincoln would turn out to become the Republic Party standard-bearer after the seven engaging debates. Important figures besides Lincoln and Douglas is that of Owen Lovejoy of Princeton, the brother of the noted abolitionist and legislator, Elijah Lovejoy.

Plan a Getaway
Indulge your senses in natural beauty while taking in the rich history of Ottawa. Only 90 minutes from downtown Chicago, reflect on nature’s beauty as you investigate the area. Bring down the next generation and make a new tradition as you and those you love reflect on America’s great past in and around Ottawa. Contact a friendly and knowledgeable associate to enjoy the best that Heritage Harbor and the Ottawa area have to offer.

Winter Bucket List: Snowmobiling Outside Chicago

Winter brings with it the opportunity for amazing outdoor adventures for people who are brave enough to get outside and get active.  One of the hottest winter activities is snowmobiling, which offers you the opportunity to see incredible sights while getting an adrenaline high riding a snowmobile.   Hopefully mother nature will cooperate soon so winter can be enjoyed to the fullest!

Ottawa, IL Snowmobiling
Under 90 minutes outside of Chicago, the Illinois and Michigan Canal offers snowmobiling trails that crisscross four Northern Illinois State Parks. The Canal passes through parts of the Channahon State Park, William G. Stratton State Park, Gebhard Wood State Park and Buffalo Rock State Park, delivering over 61 miles of white powder. As long as there are four or more inches of snow, the Canal trails are available for use by snowmobiles 24 hour a day.

The scenic town of Ottawa offers easy on/off highway access to Buffalo Rock, at which point drivers can connect to other parts of the trail. Along the way, riders will parallel the twists and turns of the Illinois River. The bare trees allow for scenic river views and potentially the chance to spot wildlife. The canal trail passes historic 1800’s stone aqueducts, the Seneca Grain Elevator, and multiple canal locks.

One of the more unusual attractions on the Illinois and Michigan Canal trail, the Effigy Tumuli, lies near Buffalo Rock State Park. Created in 1983 by artist Michael Heizer, the environmental sculptures evoke Native American burial mounds.

Snowmobile Safety Tips
If you’re new to snowmobiling, packing for the winter excursion can feel intimidating. When you’re out on the trails, you’ll have occasional access to restrooms and land-line telephones in state park rest areas. Other than that, you’ll need to carry in what you need – and carry it out as well.

For small excursions, plan to bring lunch, water, binoculars, goggles, a camera, and extra winter gear. It’s always a smart idea to carry an emergency first aid kit and emergency tool kit, in case something breaks on your snowmobile. Flashlights or head lamps are always a good “just in case” idea, as are flares, a GPS, a whistle, and an emergency radio.

Snowmobiling is a fun and safe winter sport, but there is risk associated with it. To protect your family, do not allow children to ride on a snowmobile if they are under the age of 6. While driving a snowmobile looks cool, youth under age 16 should not be allowed to do it. It takes skill and strength to maneuver a snowmobile, especially if conditions turn icy. Ice makes it difficult to steer and can pose a danger, even for experienced drivers.

Conveniently Located

When getting out of the greater Chicago area for winter recreation, it’s always important to plan for traffic. If your family spends a lot of time cross country skiing or snowmobiling in the winter, or boating in the summer, it can be helpful to purchase a second home in the scenic countryside. Ottawa may be famous as the home of Starved Rock, but this town has a lot to offer year round in terms of recreation, community, and quality of life. Heritage Harbor Ottawa offers riverside accommodation close to Chicago. An hour from Chicago and minutes from Starved Rock, Heritage Harbor offers vacation rental cottages, vacation homes, a marina, and a restaurant. It is the perfect base camp for a snowmobiling vacation or second home.

With such rich year round amenities and points of interest, Ottawa makes the ideal base for winter and summer family fun. Visit now to explore the area, find your favorite trails, and be inspired.

Retirees Hit the Jackpot at Heritage Harbor

“Count your age by friends, not years. Count your life by smiles, not tears.”—John Lennon

Make new friends and celebrate with old at the resort community of Heritage Harbor. Find a place where people still smile and warmly greet each other and cherish the small town feel of Ottawa. See why Heritage Harbor may be just the retirement investment that you are looking for.

People are Talking
Heritage Harbor and the surrounding Ottawa area hosts lively events year round with plenty of outdoor activities for active individuals. The lapping water of the Illinois River and sights of nature soothe souls when they need a time out. Heritage Harbor offers the perfect balance. U.S. News and World Report shares insights about the benefits of Heritage Harbor for retirees. Tammy Barry, director of sales and marketing for Heritage Harbor Ottawa, believes that the resort community offers many of the desired features of an age-restricted development. Resort amenities include lawn maintenance, on onsite restaurant, a pool and various gathering places. The all-ages development allows parents to live near their children and enjoy a roster of events suitable for an active lifestyle. Barry said:

“I consider us a stroller to walker community. I think having an age variety has brought a lot of energy to the community.”

Seniors appreciate the diversity of families and retirees in the community and many find that it helps them feel young and vibrant. The homes at Heritage Harbor can be customized for less mobile adults. You won’t feel alone in this community. Builder online magazine shared that many Midwestern retirees are flocking to the marina setting right outside of Chicago. Boomers are loving the active lifestyle, with Heritage Harbor’s 32-acre harbor, marina services, low-maintenance homes inside the prime recreational destination of Starved Rock County, and easy accessibility for friends and family. Consider finding the best environment that supports your current lifestyle and changing needs.

An Ideal Lifestyle for Retirees
Embrace the small luxuries of modern living surrounded by the natural beauty of the Illinois River area. Heritage Harbor in Ottawa is a resort community that offers activities for all ages and activity levels. Owners and visitors enjoy the picturesque marina with over 450 boat slips, accessible boat ramps and dry stack storage. Through Quest Express at the marina you can experience all the joys of boating without the hassles of owning and maintaining a boat. Pick up necessities and enjoy a bite out by the water at the ship’s store and marina-side bar & grill, The Red Dog Grill.

Make independent living a joy. Charming single story ranch-style home models are available and many floor plans have spacious first floor master bedrooms with additional room for visiting guests. Homes can be customized to individual preferences and needs. View the highlights of the homes and lifestyle available for those that dream of waterfront living.

Heritage Harbor resort living is ideal for retirees that want to smile and do more. Heritage Harbor, the Ottawa area and beyond are free to explore for the young at heart. Contact a friendly associate for additional details on waterfront living residences at (815) 433-5000.

Live Better This May in Ottawa

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.

Fall Hunting Opportunities Near Starved Rock

In addition to the breathtaking sights and stunning fall colors, the countryside of Starved Rock also promises amazing hunting opportunities this time of year.

Ottawa and the surrounding Starved Rock Country are home to a variety of wildlife and natural habitats that are a hunter’s dream. Deer, turkey and game bird hunting are the most common in the area, and all have open seasons during the fall months.

Both deer and turkey hunting are incredibly popular around Ottawa and Starved Rock Country, especially bow hunting. In fact, Catlin Park, Ottawa’s 333-acre county park, is one of the best bow hunting locations in LaSalle County. The park is riddled with woods, hills and lakes, making it the ideal habitat for animals during hunting season. With Catlin Park less than 10 miles from Heritage Harbor Ottawa, hunters don’t have to waste time driving a long distance to their hunting location. They can head to Catlin Park early in the morning, set up their tree stands while the sun rises and spend the whole day waiting for the perfect game.

Bow hunting for deer, turkey and other game in Catlin Park and the rest of Illinois is allowed from Oct. 1 through Jan. 17, except during firearm hunting season, which takes place Nov. 21–23 and Dec. 4–7. Information on permits, game limits and tree stand requirements for hunting in Catlin Park can be found here.

If you prefer hunting waterfowl (geese and ducks) over deer or turkey, the hunting season opens mid-October and runs through January in northern and central Illinois. Ottawa is right on the border of the North Zone and Central Zone so hunting north of I-80 and west of I-39 is in the North Zone, while south and east are in the Central Zone. Be sure to check herefor each zone’s specific duck, Canada goose, snow goose and white-fronted goose hunting dates.

A second home or vacation rental in Heritage Harbor Ottawa will allow you to spend an extended weekend or even full weeks at a time enjoying the great outdoors and hitting all of Ottawa’s popular hunting spots. With Catlin Park a short distance away and Starved Rock and Mattiessen state parks nearby as well, you’ll have plenty of ground to cover during your stay.

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