Heritage Harbor Ottawa Blog

Articles Tagged with: Vacation Homes Illinois

6 Reasons Why Homeowners Built Their Vacation Home at Heritage Harbor

Waterfront living at its best! Heritage Harbor is located along the Illinois river and within the charming historic town of Ottawa. There is a variety of homes that range from quaint cottages to expansive single family homes. The possibilities are endless! Here are a few reasons why people have chosen Heritage Harbor:

Convenient for hosting family and friends
“One thing that we really love about our home is that everything that we could possibly need is on the main floor. All the other bedrooms and downstairs are for family and friends to come visit.” – Homeowners Ann & Harry

Ann and Harry used to own a home in Wisconsin, but they didn’t like the 2.5-hour drive and all the maintenance. Heritage Harbor is less than an hour away and offers little-to-no maintenance. They were not boaters when they purchased their vacation home, but now take full advantage of the Quest boat club where they can enjoy the benefits of boating, without having to own a boat. They also enjoy golfing, hiking and all the in-town activities of Ottawa.

State of the Art Marina
“I couldn’t believe the quality of the docks. I’ve been boating my whole life, and this marina can match and exceed almost any marina you’ll see on Lake Michigan.” – The Franco Family

Initially the Franco Family wasn’t looking for a second home – they were just interested in boating. Aside from boating, they fell in love downtown Ottawa, the friendly people, and being able to spend more time with both their immediate and extended family in such a friendly community.

A Sense of Community
“We live in a beautiful community. It’s very friendly, open, relaxing and enjoyable. It’s not a lake home and it’s not a cottage. You really have to come experience what it’s all about.” – The Morse Family

The Morse Family is from Batavia, IL. They are boat owners who were searching for a family-friendly place to get away and relax. They describe themselves as “outdoor people” who enjoy biking, boating and hiking.

Outdoor Living and Activities
“The amenities, river, boat club, hiking trails, bike paths and the outdoor living… this was the perfect fit for us. The one thing I noticed immediately was the nature.” – The Clancy Family

A family of five, the Clancys like to run, bike, fish, kayak and swim. They love having a place where the kids can get outside and have an adventure, and they feel Heritage Harbor has been great for their lifestyle and as an investment.

Quality of Construction
“I was very impressed with the quality of construction, the quality of the finishes, and how much you get for your money just an hour from Chicago.” – Homeowners Cindy & Bill

Bill and Cindy live in Naperville, IL with their teenage children. Previously, they were not boaters, so they appreciate having maintenance-free boating through Quest Boat Club. Their family also enjoys downtown Ottawa and the local festivals.

Charming Historic Town of Ottawa
“It’s perfectly private out here, yet we have access to the downtown area. It’s got the best of both worlds and downtown Ottawa has become incredibly beautiful.” – Homeowners Paul & Reggi

Paul and Reggi moved from Geneva, IL and made Heritage Harbor their primary residence. They appreciate the great people, dining and scenery. The low-maintenance, resort-feel of the community makes them feel like they are always on vacation.

Those are just a few of the many reasons why this is the place! There are currently 3 river front lots, 4 harbor front lots, and various interior lots available for your dream home. There is something for everyone! For more information, visit our website or give us a call 815-433-5000.

5 fun ways to spend a cloudy day in Ottawa, IL

You can plan your vacation months in advance, but thanks to unpredictable weather conditions, sometimes plans have to change. Fortunately, there’s a variety of fun events and activities you can attend in Ottawa on a cloudy or rainy day. Avoid cabin fever by having these five back-up ideas in mind as you plan your trip. Who knows? After reading our must-do cloudy day activities, you might find yourself hoping for a little rain during your stay!

Take a tour of Ottawa’s Reddick mansion

This magnificent mansion, standing 50 feet tall, was built before the Civil War by William Reddick. It’s one of the most expensive mansions constructed in the Midwest during the 1800s, and still looks beautiful to the modern eye today. Tours are available Wednesdays through Mondays from 11 to 3 p.m. Visit the Reddick Mansion’s website for more information.

Enjoy a cold one at Tangled Roots Brewing Company

Taking a break on an adults-only vacation? Then do so while sipping on delicious craft beer at Tangled Roots Brewing Company. This exciting new development opened downtown in the fall of 2015, and it attracts both visitors and locals every day. While sampling the craft selection, be sure to order some of the kitchen’s tasty offerings. The Tangled Roots Brewing Company supports local farmers by providing fresh food for guests.

Grab a cup of joe at Jeremiah Joe Coffee

Jeremiah Joe Coffee offers all of your caffeinated favorites and a few new options too! From Mochas to Lattés and Little Joe’s for the little ones in your life (caffeine- free of course). Jeremiah Joe Coffee offers a large space where you can sit back and relax and enjoy the day inside sipping on your favorite hot or cold beverages and enjoying time with friends and family.

Spend some time browsing the Ottawa Historical and Scouting Heritage Museum

For just $3 per person ($2 for youth), you can spend a rainy afternoon learning a little Ottawa history. The Ottawa Historical and Scouting Heritage Museum is home to exhibits relating to the Boy Scouts of America, as Ottawa is home to one of the founders, William Dickson Boyce. This museum also includes special artifacts from the past, such as carriages and 19th-century pianos. Learn more about visiting hours here.

Have a blast bowling at Pinheadz Entertainment Center

When you’re ready to stop browsing museums and mansions, hit up the Pinheadz Entertainment Center for some energetic fun! The newly renovated entertainment center is home to bowling, bags and more fun games, and it also features a full-service bar and grill.

Take the kids out on a fun rollerskating adventure

Plan an activity the whole family can enjoy. The Paramount Skating Arena is open to people of all ages. Kids have a blast zooming around the rink, while the adults can relish in feeling like a teenager once again. Check the dates and hours here for the best times to visit.

Ottawa, IL is beautiful city and home to a wide range of activities. Come rain or shine, you’ll be ready for a fun, relaxing vacation.


Pocket Neighborhoods, Traditional Neighborhood Development and Cottage Living

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.


Living Larger in Smaller Homes Movement Gains Popularity

An emerging real estate movement is redefining the average American vacation home — the Not So Big House movement.

Recently, resort community Heritage Harbor Ottawa was a sponsor of the design series weekend “Living Large … in a not so big house,” in Naperville, IL, which hosted architect Sarah Susanka. The well-known architect was behind the launch of the “Not So Big” movement of house design, which means making homes better, not bigger.

Susanka says the market reflects a need for smaller, better-designed houses because they return the qualities customers seek, which include a sense of home and high quality craftsmanship. It’s not more square footage and ever-expanding ceilings that give a sense of comfort or a great community.

“When someone buys a Mercedes Benz or Jaguar, they look for quality, comfort, and detail,” Susanka tells Architecture Week. “Size has nothing to do with the appeal of these cars. If you wanted nothing but space, you could buy a truck. Why is it, then, that some people feel compelled to buy huge houses with empty, cathedral-like spaces that offer few comforts of home?”

The idea of that a sense of “home” having more to do with quality than quantity is also reflective in the waterfront homes at Heritage Harbor Ottawa. The resort resides in historic Ottawa, Ill., in the center of Starved Rock Country — also a target location for a Baby Boomer generation on the hunt for an adventure lifestyle.

There are a range of waterfront properties at Heritage Harbor, which also has a full-service marina with more than 450 boat slips, restaurant on-site, in-ground pool, walking path and year-round events. At Heritage Harbor there are well-designed, beautiful houses — whether used as a vacation or primary home — to fit everyone’s lifestyle. There are single-family cottages, row homes, Cape Cod inspired town homes, coach homes and more. All are designed for a lifetime of low-maintenance, such as maintenance-free exteriors, so not only is quality chosen over quantity, there are resort amenities at your disposable and the resort is in a prime location — there’s less daily stress to deal with.

And according to 2011 data, many Boomers are avoiding possible later stress now by jumping on and seizing real estate opportunities.

MarketWatch.com reported in September 2011 that many in the Boomer generation are deciding to buy a vacation home now that will eventually become their primary residence. In 2010, the National Association of Realtors reported that 34 percent of people who purchased vacation homes planned on using it as their primary home at some point in the future.

Plus, it’s just a good investment, says George Harvey, resort and second home chairman for the National Association of Realtors.

Last month, Harvey told the Charleston Business Journal that many second-home buyers start out as repeat vacationers before venturing into the real estate market. When they do invest in a vacation home it’s not only for personal pleasure, he says, as many Boomers aren’t retiring completely, but instead transitioning to part-time work. Real estate is viewed as an investment for the future.

“We’re in a perfect place for real estate investment (in the resort market),” Harvey said. “The worst is behind us and the upside is looking good.”

Ottawa, Illinois, and Heritage Harbor is the ideal place to start the next phase of life for those looking to make life transition, while making a smart investment. The locale of Ottawa in La Salle County fills all of the needs for those living or vacationing at Heritage Harbor as it does for anyone wanting to live an adventure-type lifestyle. But a great perk is that the location still allows everyone fast and easy access to Chicagoland and its suburbs. Not to mention, the historic town and vistas hold a spectacular beauty.

Those who call Heritage Harbor home are never too far away from the hustle and bustle of city life, but are far enough away to relax and enjoy life. No one has to make a choice of one or the other. At Heritage Harbor Ottawa, everyone has the flexibility to create their perfect lifestyle in the ideal waterfront home.

For more information, to schedule a tour of a Heritage Harbor waterfront home or for directions to the resort community, contact Heritage Harbor at 815-433-5000

Changing Boomer Generation Redefines Retirement as it Looks for an Adventure Lifestyle

Not every generation wants what the previous generation did. Recent studies and surveys show this is even truer when it comes to the more than 60 million Baby Boomers who will soon find themselves transitioning into retirement or already have. Many Boomers are looking for a community similar to the one found in Ottawa, Illinois, at Heritage Harbor Ottawa to meet their new retirement needs — waterfront real estate with the creature comforts of retirement, but plenty of recreational activities, a strong sense of community and still within reach of urban areas.

Not every generation wants what the previous generation did. Recent studies and surveys show this is even truer when it comes to the more than 60 million Baby Boomers who will soon find themselves transitioning into retirement or already have.

While previous generations have traveled far from their families in retirement to settle elsewhere, many variables are changing the landscape of life after full-time work and past notions of what retirement life would look like.

Many Boomers are looking for a community similar to the one found in Ottawa, Illinois, at Heritage Harbor Ottawa to meet their new retirement needs — a place with the creature comforts of retirement, but plenty of recreational activities, a strong sense of community, still within reach of urban areas and yet offers strong waterfront real estate values in the Midwest.

A resort community like Heritage Harbor in Ottawa, Ill., sits on prime scenic Illinois River waterfront property and offers amenities, such as a full-service marina with more than 450 boat slips, restaurant on-site, low-maintenance homes, in-ground pool, walking path and year-round activities.

“Once we saw what Heritage Harbor had to offer, we knew we had to be here,” said Harry Hultgren, who along with his wife, Ann, owns a cottage-style home in the waterfront community. “The opportunities for outdoor recreation and relaxation are simply unbeatable.”

Economic changes are shifting the mindset of Boomers. While in the past many would relocate to southern states, such as Florida or Arizona, studies show the age group is deciding to stay closer to their family and friends while continuing to pursue entrepreneurial opportunities well into retirement. They are redefining retirement. And with that redefinition, according to Baby Boomer Magazine, they are looking at building a more active and diverse lifestyle as well — physically and mentally.

According to Discovery Fit and Health, one of the 10 most popular activities for those of the Boomer generation is anything to do with aquatic recreation — an easy task when cruising via boat through the Illinois River or exploring one of its many channels or islands. It’s no surprise that latest U.S. Census data available shows a rising number of Boomers living in coastal communities, such as those along rivers, lakes and oceans.

While Heritage Harbor offers a variety of scenic waterfront homes and cottages to fit everyone’s lifestyle (click here to learn more) the unique location in Ottawa and Starved Rock Country completes the package, which mirrors the slogan: “Life is an Adventure … Live it Here.” Having four state parks within 15 miles is one of the reasons Tom Heimsoth, developer of Heritage Harbor, selected the location.

“People enjoy activities such as hiking, biking, dining, shopping and want to do it in a resort-like setting so they always feel like they are on vacation,” Heimsoth said.

In addition to the state parks, the history of downtown Ottawa wasn’t overlooked. The town is rich in architecture, has great annual events such as the Two Rivers Wine and Jazz Festival, outdoor Farmer’s Market, Midwest Morel Fest, outdoor music and other events that allow Boomers to enjoy their “off” time. Not to mention running parallel to Heritage Harbor is the I&M Canal, which is 61 miles of walking, biking and snowmobiling trail. Lastly, Discovery Fit and Health includes sky diving as a Top 10 eventual “must-do” for Boomers, which is especially accessible in the Ottawa area with SkyDive Chicago, the Midwest’s major destination for sky divers, just north of town.

As with any real estate property, location is key to what attracts people to an area and can be an important factor in its value. Realtor Judy Marsales recently told Real Estate Wealth magazine that the image and community where real estate properties sit can have as much to do with interest as the property itself. Marsales says locations that get the most real estate buzz have features in the surrounding community such as “wonderful vistas, biking paths, picnic areas and many music festivals,” among other amenities. She also confirmed that one of the latest real estate trends in the Boomer generation is a renewed interest in relocating to waterfront properties.    

The locale of Ottawa, Ill., in La Salle County fills all of these needs for those living or vacationing at Heritage Harbor Ottawa. Additionally, the area allows homeowners to experience a real sense of community that can be lacking in larger suburban or urban areas. It’s a less complicated way of life. But getting back to the urban area is just a hop, jump and skip away as Chicago and its suburbs, such as Huntley, Elgin, Romeoville, Shorewood, Crest Hill and more are a mere commute away.

It’s easy to continue working or telecommute if needed, as studies show more Boomers are working later into life and are choosing to explore entrepreneurial opportunities after full-time work. You’re never too far away from the hustle and bustle, but far enough to relax and enjoy life. No one has to make a choice of one or the other as those living and vacationing at Heritage Harbor have the flexibility to create their ideal lifestyle.

No other area can offer the recreational opportunities or strong sense of community like Heritage Harbor Ottawa can.

Cruise Night in Ottawa

Old Town of Downtown Ottawa was a car enthusiast’s dream Friday night. With over 5 city blocks of great cars & trucks, there was something for everyone.


This family friendly event had a mix of styles and eras. There was everything from a classic Ford Model T to a 2010 Chevy Camaro with a slick custom paint job. There was music, food vendors, and many car owners that were happy to share a story or two about what made their car unique.


The LaSalle County Cruisers’ Annual Cruise Night in Downtown Ottawa was a great way to kick off Father’s day weekend.


If you missed Ottawa’s cruise night or just love classic cars venture to downtown Oglesby Saturday June 26th from 3-8 pm for the Oglesby Custom Car Show.


Stay tuned to learn more about the Adventure Lifestyle available at Heritage Harbor Ottawa and the surrounding communities.

Sunset Showcase

With temperatures in the mid 80’s and sunny, the weather could not have been more perfect for a night at the marina. On Thursday, June 17th Heritage Harbor Marina was host to well over 700 members and guests of the Ottawa Area Chamber of Commerce.


Meg Skelly, Assistant Executive Director Ottawa Area Chamber of Commerce, had this to say about the event, “It was a beautiful night at the harbor and we couldn’t have asked for better support from all the Heritage Harbor team.”


The evening was full of breathtaking scenery, delicious food, refreshing drinks, live music and lots of fun including golf chipping and a charity duck derby hosted by ONYX (Ottawa Network of Young eXecs)


Bagshot Row performed from 6-9 and will be making a return appearance on July 3rd for HHO’s  4th of July celebration.


Stay tuned to learn more about the Adventure Lifestyle available at Heritage Harbor Ottawa.

The Captain’s Log of Winter Fun: Ottawa Area Events for November & December


Though Heritage Harbor will always be our focus, we hope your experience goes far beyond our entrance. The Ottawa area is bursting with special events, from children’s programs to eagle watching. We’ve tried to alert you to some of the best, so if you need directions or more information give us a call…

Art in the Park Any day @ Starved Rock State Park
Looking for a fall hike—from sunrise to sunset you can seek out the awesome wood carvings on the Lodge grounds and in the Park. Grab a map at the Lodge reception desk and start your hunt: from Indian carvings and Animal carvings to totems and functional carved art–you’ll have fun finding all the art the park has to offer!

Reddick Mansion Tours Saturdays from Noon-3 pm or by appointment
The Reddick Mansion stands facing historic Washington Square and was built in 1858 for the then-costly sum of $25,000. Mr. Reddick served as a state senator. Mr. Stephen A. Douglas was one of the many politicians entertained at the Reddicks’ home. This mansion has been restored to its original splendor and is open for tours on Saturdays from noon to 3 p.m. or by request by calling the Reddick Mansion Association at 815-433-6100.

Bluegrass Jam Sessions First Friday of every month @ 7:00 p.m.
Come out and join for an evening of Bluegrass music performed by Ottawa area musicians. Jam Session located at Christ Episcopal Church, 113 E Lafayette Street in Ottawa. For more information call (815) 257-6868.

Book Mouse Toddler Time Every third Saturday of the month 10:30 a.m. to 11 a.m.
Led by Mrs. B and Ms. Rachel, it’s a half hour of story-telling, wiggle-around-time, and poetry. Toddlers 2-5 and parents are welcome to join the fun. The Book Mouse, 820 LaSalle Street in Ottawa. For more information call (815) 433-7323

Festival of Lights Parade Friday, November 27th 6-9:00 p.m.
Celebrate the holiday season in Ottawa with the lighting up of Washington Square and a Christmas Parade. Meet on LaSalle Street for the parade and follow Santa to the Square.

Victorian Christmas Weekend of November 27th-29th
The Reddick Mansion will be decked out in its Victorian Christmas Decor. The Reddick Mansion stands facing historic Washington Square and was built in 1858 for the then-costly sum of $25,000. Mr. Reddick served as a state senator. Mr. Stephen A. Douglas was one of the many politicians entertained at the Reddicks’ home. This mansion has been restored to its original splendor and is open for tours everyday except for Tuesdays for more information contact the Reddick Mansion. On Saturday, November 28th from 10-3:00 p.m. by appointment you can have your family portrait taken in front of the beautifully decorated Victorian Christmas tree inside the Reddick Mansion. For more information or to make a portrait appointment, call (815) 433-6100.

Christmas at the Lodge with Prairie Singers Friday, December 4th 7-9:00 p.m.
Presented by the Prairie Singers 7:00-9:00p.m. The Prairie Singers are a chamber ensemble that will perform music from a broad range of historical periods, along with a wide variety of show tunes, popular, and classical favorites. We will start the evening with a few seasonal songs before enjoying a delicious dinner served in the historic Starved Rock Lodge. After dinner the Prairie Singers will deliver a musical delight to warm the heart. Tickets are $37.00 per person. For more information and to purchase tickets call 815-220-7386.

Christmas Farmer’s Market Saturday, December 12th 8:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m
The Ottawa Chamber of Commerce invites you to this special Holiday inspired edition to Ottawa’s Farmers Market. The vendors will be offering a wide variety of goods, greenery, dog biscuits, jams & jellies, candy, gifts…and much, much more!! With the motto of we BAKE it, we GROW it, and we SELL it FRESH, you’re sure to find something fantastic at the Ottawa Christmas Farmers Market. The Farmer’s Market will be set up at Jeremiah Joes’ Coffee at 807 LaSalle Street.

Ottawa‘s Ice Odyssey Saturday, December 12th 10 a.m.- 4:00 p.m.
The Ottawa Downtown Merchants are proud to present the First Ice Odyssey. Come downtown Ottawa and enjoy vendors, snowmen, elves, greenery for sale and amazing art of Ice Sculptures. Fun for the entire family. Contact ottawadowntownmerchants@gmail.com.

Breakfast with Santa Saturday, December 19th @ Starved Rock Lodge 8:30-11:30 a.m
Join the jolliest man himself, as well as the Mrs., for a breakfast buffet right at Starved Rock Lodge. Following breakfast, you’ll be treated to Christmas stories told by Mrs. Claus. Children may take turns sitting on Santa’s lap to tell him their Christmas wishes and receive a chocolate treat. Adults $11.95 Under 10 $8.95. Early reservations a must. 800-868-7625 ext. 386

Let’s go to the Movies at the Roxy! Wednesday, Dec. 30th @ 10 a.m.
Calling all grade school students – come to the Roxy for a free movie which includes free soft drinks and popcorn! Movie has not yet been announced. Roxy Cinemas is located at 820 LaSalle Street in Ottawa, (815) 433-8303.

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