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Step into a Starved Rock Country Spring

There really is nothing so spectacular as the arrival of spring in the Midwest”

There really is nothing so spectacular as the arrival of spring in the Midwest.  After the serenity of the beautiful winter season, the segue into spring can seem like a slow tease, but if you look closely, the signs of spring are all around. Trees and bushes waiting to burst forth in vibrant shades of green, hardy spring bulbs pushing up through the ground in a kaleidoscope of color, birds chirping and bunnies dancing as they prepare for the arrival of their babies. You don’t have to look far to witness the renewal of the natural landscape.  

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New Marina Office and Boat Slips Add to Waterfront Fun at Heritage Harbor

“Today’s open and versatile ranch design, offers harmonious, breathtaking living spaces and, while historically the choice of empty-nesters, has surged in popularity with buyers of all ages”

Boater and non-boaters appreciate the state-of-art-marina and breathtaking water views at Heritage Harbor Resort in Ottawa, where a new floating marina office and fun water activities add to its appeal. Situated along the Illinois River, Heritage Harbor Resort is a premier vacation destination, offering second-to-none amenities and a variety of homes, including condominiums, villas, townhomes, single-family homes and custom residences, for purchase or rent, all centered around the state-of-the-art 152 slip marina.

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Ranch Style Homes with Marina Access Available this Summer at Heritage Harbor Resort

“Today’s open and versatile ranch design, offers harmonious, breathtaking living spaces and, while historically the choice of empty-nesters, has surged in popularity with buyers of all ages”

If you’re looking for the ease and style of a ranch plan in a recreationally-rich community, you’ll want to visit Heritage Harbor Resort in Ottawa, where a collection single-level living designs, at various price points, are available, some for summer delivery.

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Time’s Running Out to Own New Low-Maintenance Boat House at Heritage Harbor in Ottawa

“With more and more people working from home, the market has exploded with buyers who can now work from anywhere,”

Sales have been brisk in the recently introduced Boat House neighborhood at Heritage Harbor Resort, where only seven low-maintenance, waterfront homes, each with a direct boat slip, remain for sale. 

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PREMIER RIVERFRONT HOMESITES ALMOST SOLD OUT!

Only four picturesque, Riverfront homesites, overlooking the Illinois River, remain for sale at Pinnacle Pointe”

Only four picturesque, Riverfront homesites, overlooking the Illinois River, remain for sale at Pinnacle Pointe, a premier neighborhood of 23 custom homes within the larger Heritage Harbor Resort community in Ottawa. 

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Country Living is What You Make It!

At Heritage Harbor, we enjoy all the perks of ‘country life’ without all the labor country life usually requires.

Country Living is What You Make It!

What image comes to mind when you hear the phrase “country living?”  Oftentimes, what we imagine country living to entail includes the notion of rustic, farmhouse living on acres of land surrounded by animals and lots of work.  What if we were to tell you that country living is what you make it?!

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‘Fall’ in Love with Heritage Harbor and Starved Rock Country

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.

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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! 

Five Things to Consider When Buying a Vacation Home

Custom cottages at Heritage Harbor Ottawa

If you are thinking of investing in a second home, small considerations can mean all the difference between a vacation property that’s good for the long haul versus one that seems like a good deal now, but turns out to not be the right fit. Work through these criteria to narrow down your options before you buy.

1. Location
“Location, location, location” is a catchphrase for a reason. If your vacation home is too far away, you’ll put off going there due to travel time. Yet if it’s in the next town over, it might not feel like you’ve really “gotten away” from your day to day life.

When you’re considering buying a second home, it can be easy to underestimate the time you’ll spend getting to your destination. On Friday nights and holiday weekends, it can seem like everyone who works or lives in Chicago is trying to get out of town. This can mean long car rides just trying to get to a second home you purchased.

Over time, you may find yourself opting to stay in town for the weekend because you don’t want to spend 3+ hours in traffic again. If you really want a second home you’ll return to time and again, look for places that are under two hours from the city.

An ideal location near Chicago means less time in the car compared with driving to rural Michigan or Wisconsin. There are great places to be found right under your nose just a short drive from the city. Starved Rock Country is a quick 90 minutes from Chicago, and is fill of hidden gems like Heritage Harbor, a marina resort located in Ottawa, IL.
2. Amenities
In the long run, you’ll want a second home that’s near amenities, so you can have fun exploring a new area. When friends or relatives come visit, they’ll want to join in the fun, too!

Look for a community that’s close to multiple dining options so you have variety while allowing convenient access to nature, history, and children’s activities. Ottawa has a great dining scene, with new restaurants popping up regularly. Starved Rock State Park is close by for year-round recreation, along with other fun activities such as zip lining, sky diving, hiking, biking, and more.

Heritage Harbor Marina

3. Boating Lifestyle
If you want a second home that allows for fishing and boating, you must consider the quality of the boating lifestyle in the place you’re considering.

Boating opportunities are numerous in the Chicago area but offer different lifestyle propositions. If you typically fish or boat on a lake but you’re thinking about getting a riverfront property, rent a weekend cabin on the river first as a way to confirm the decision is right for you.

For marina communities, investigate the quality, age, and ease of access to amenities onsite. Will you be sharing facilities with the public, or only with other property owners? Determine what costs are associated with marina usage before you make any property decisions. Never assume that you will be able to access something for free; always find out to compare available properties.

Rental options can be handy if you don’t have a boat. Seasonal boat rentals offset expenditures and enable you to enjoy all the conveniences of boat ownership without assuming the expense of boat ownership, maintenance, and seasonal storage.

Ask how long the boating season is at any communities you like. Water and weather conditions vary, but can mean a difference in as much as 1-2 months from one body of water to another. If boating is the main reason you’re looking for a vacation home, season length is key.

While you’re exploring any boating communities, you’re thinking of joining, get to know the locals. Find out if there are social events, from neighborhood block parties to fireworks festivals. A community that’s friendly and inclusive will be a lot easier to join than a marina that’s standoffish or suffers regular churn.

As a final factor in evaluating the boating options, consider potential boating destinations. If you pick a lakefront option, you are limited to the lake. Even if it’s a huge lake, you could tire of spending every Saturday exploring the same shorefront. A river offers somewhat more flexibility, especially if nearby riverfront towns have summer music festivals, waterfront dining, and more.

Heritage Harbor custom cottage with river views

4. Home Design
Once you’ve narrowed down the communities that are best for you, hone in on the homes. What designs are offered, and what meets your lifestyle?

An ideal community will offer different home plans and designs that allow you to select the best option for your budget, personal preferences, and more.

Does the home have a deck, patio, or other outdoor space that allows you to enjoy the sunset over the water? Are there outdoor amenities, storage space, or privacy screens from the neighbors?

Inside, is the space adequate for you, your family, and guests? Flexible lofts or dens allow you to accommodate extra guests.

For a second home, buying into a place that’s part of a homeowner’s association or HOA might make sense. If you only get to your second home one or two times a month, you’ll find that maintenance tasks claim your attention. A strong HOA will take care of common maintenance tasks, so you can just enjoy your home.

5. Financial Considerations

Make your final decision on what property is right by reviewing your budget and the finances.

Crunch the numbers for HOA fees, flood insurance, boat rental, dock fees and other variables to arrive at the true cost of ownership.

With something like a second home on the water, it’s important to consider the add-ons that you get. Waterfront access boosts your enjoyment of the home, but also the money you could get from renting it out to others and from reselling it years from now.

As you work through these five criteria, you can identify the right location for your second home, find the perfect community, and budget for the expense.

Video Tour of the Flite Series Interior Unit

Flite Series Interior Unit

Click here for the video tour!

Welcome to the Flite Series!  This contemporary vacation home is an interior unit.  It features 2 bedrooms, 3.5 baths, an open plan, a full finished walk-out basement and plenty of windows to showcase those incredible views!   For more information on the Flite Series and other homes at Heritage Harbor click here.

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