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Could this be the life you searching for?

“See why people are flocking to Heritage Harbor – The Hidden Gem of the Midwest”

An ideal day looks unique for different people; however, there are a few key underlying elements that tend to be similar. At the heart of what people are drawn to are the lifegiving aspects of connection, nature, and living an active life full of purpose. A life lived with passion and purpose is attractive, inspiring, and highly sought-after. A quick 90-minute drive leads you from the hustle and bustle of downtown Chicago to the refreshing waterfront community of Heritage Harbor in the heart of Starved Rock Country. We recognize what your soul is searching for and can’t wait to share the Harbor Life with you!

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Life’s A Beach! Knots Landing

Life’s A Beach!

Or at least it should be!!! If yours isn’t exactly ‘beachy’, then you’re in luck! The Heritage Harbor crew has been hard at work planning and creating yet another new oasis of fun for your entertainment pleasure. Knots Landing is a fun collection of relaxing areas, including North Beach, the Harbor Walk, Activity Wharf, and the Event Center Pavilion. Knots Landing is your ‘one-stop-wharf’ for all entertainment needs.


Relax…Unwind…Get in a flip-flop state of mind at the North Beach

Looking for a place where you can unwind, sink your toes in the sand, and soak in the harbor views? North Beach will be your retreat of choice! Our soft white sand beach is fully equipped with lounge chairs, umbrellas, fire pit, and games for your recreational pleasure. Settle into the comfortable reclining loungers under an umbrella, and feel the stress melt away. Situated right on the harbor, you can watch the goings on of our vibrant marina. The Beach Shack at Knots Landing will soon make its appearance, offering visitor information, drink service, and light snacks for beach goers on weekends, holidays, or for special events.


Guess what’s currently in the works?

The large floating Activity Wharf will reside below North Beach. This floating structure will provide water sport equipment rental services, the opportunity for pop-up artisan kiosks, group exercise classes, and other great activities. The sky is the limit! The Wharf adjoins the Event Center Pavilion and acts as the grand entrance to be utilized as a pre-event and reception area for social gatherings.


You don’t want to miss this…

Reserve the floating Event Center Pavilion for your next private special event and dazzle your guests with a memorable experience. This floating entertainment space can comfortably accommodate around 200 people, and is well-suited for any event including weddings, parties, classes and seminars. This unique gathering place is one-of-a kind and will be the location of many resort special events including music festivals, beer gardens, and other community social gatherings.

Knots Landing will be unrivaled in Starved Rock Country for entertainment and fun as an outdoor activity and event space.


MAKE YOUR VERY OWN INDEPENDENCE DECLARATION THIS FOURTH OF JULY

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! 

Southern Charm II Under Construction

This is so exciting!  Welcome to Southern Charm II!  This beautiful 2-story home offers 1,000 square feet of living space.  It features charming cottage style architecture with an inviting front porch.  Inside you will find an open plan with 9’ ceilings on the first floor, stainless steel kitchen appliances, 2 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms, and designer plumbing fixtures.  Outdoor living spaces include a porch off the living room and a balcony off the master bedroom.

This lovely home is in Heritage Harbor’s newest neighborhood, The Villas at Heron’s Landing.  This quaint neighborhood will feature just 31 cottage homes. Each home will have the pleasure of water views, either of the Harbor or the Illinois River.  

Call (815) 433-5000 or visit our website to schedule a Dusty Boots Tour today!

 

 

 

Heritage Harbor Begins Construction on New Waterfront Neighborhood

Villas at Herons Landing

 

Heritage Harbor is excited to introduce their newest cottage neighborhood, Villas at Heron’s Landing. Every home in this new pocket neighborhood is situated along the water. Take a peek into this special neighborhood being constructed by a trusted Starved Rock Country home developer.

 

Meet Villas at Heron’s Landing

Heritage Harbor is located in Ottawa, IL along the banks of the Illinois River, minutes from Starved Rock State Park. The Villas at Heron’s Landing offers uniquely designed cottages for sale within the Heritage Harbor resort community. This pocket neighborhood is ideally nestled between the scenic river’s edge of the Illinois River and Heritage Harbor’s 32-acre state-of-the-art marina.

 

Only 31 homes are being built in the new waterfront neighborhood, with prices ranging from the upper $200’s to the upper $300’s. There are eight different floor plans offered within Villas at Heron’s Landing. Floor plans include:

 

• Harbor Bluff I & II
• River’s Edge
• Morning Sun
• Southern Charm I & II
• Waterfront Villa I & II

 

These floor plans feature 2-3 bedrooms, 1.5-2.5 baths and range from 1,000-1,350 square feet. Open plan living, inviting front porches, private rear porches, abundant natural light, 9’ ceilings, and well-equipped master suites are just a few of the nice features you’ll find inside each home. Certain plans have unique spaces such as lofts, dining banquettes, home offices, flex rooms, and bench seats with a view. Luxurious finishes include over-sized white trim, stainless appliances, solid core doors, custom cabinetry, a 50-gallon hot water heater, hardboard lap siding, and your choice of concrete of Cambria quartz counters, to name a few.

 

No matter which floor plan buyers choose, they’ll get to enjoy all the amenities offered in this vibrant marina resort community. The onsite restaurant, Red Dog Grill is just steps away from the neighborhood and offers convenient dine-in and out options. Heron’s Landing residents have access to their own community clubhouse and swimming pool, and the adjacent marina overs a wide variety of waterfront recreation including rentals for kayaks, paddle boards and boats. Residents praise the relaxed, friendly atmosphere, the waterfront views, and the many activities events at the resort.

 


About Heritage Harbor
Located 90 minutes from Chicago, Heritage Harbor Ottawa is the gateway to all the adventure of Starved Rock Country. Heritage Harbor offers waterfront living minutes from the charming town of Ottawa and close enough to Chicago to be a second home. Ottawa has year-round outdoor recreation, boating, golf, biking, hiking, skydiving and ziplining for adrenaline junkies, and plenty of shopping and dining options.

 

Beyond Ottawa, Starved Rock Country offers so much to see and do all throughout the year. Spring is waterfall season, and there are great hikes that get visitors close to the falls. Summer means swimming, boating, fishing, and enjoying the Illinois River. Come fall, leaf peeping on hikes, horseback riding, or nature photography tours highlight the scene. In winter, cross country ski trails, snowmobile trails, and ATVs compete with quiet nights around the fire with friends new and old.

 

As a marina resort community, Heritage Harbor is all about comfortable waterfront living and amenities geared toward recreation. Boaters love the full-service marina complete with concrete floating docks and boat slips for residents. Homeowners who don’t have their own boat can try renting a boat for the season through the Quest Express Boat Club. Kayak, paddleboards and canoe rentals are also available.

 

 

The developers behind Heritage Harbor are committed to keeping the community welcoming through shared public places, while maintaining private spaces for residents. The professional landscaping throughout preserves the Illinois landscape with native plantings, creates defined neighborhoods within Heritage Harbor, and makes walking the dog or going for a stroll pleasant at any time of year.

 

Heritage Harbor specializes in getaway cottages, waterfront homes, and pocket neighborhoods that create a sense of connection among residents. There are investment opportunities as well as rentable cottages within Heritage Harbor.

 

Opportunities to buy into the Villas at Herons Landing are limited. Call (815) 433-5000 to learn more or reserve a discovery tour today.

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.

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.

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

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