Sea Glass from Lake Champlain

Sea Glass

Sea Glass from Lake Champlain collected in Grand Isle, VT
Sea Glass from Lake Champlain

I went on a sea glass hunt across our 260′ of shoreline a few times this week. The first time was a calm day and just a few hours before sunset with the sun shining brilliantly. The next time was the day after a storm, but still with the bright sun assisting me. The photo to the left is what I collected on those two shoreline excursions. The pen is there to indicate the size of my stash! No, that is not a lake find. I went a third time on a cloudy day and still managed to pick up a few more pieces!

The lake level is very low for this time of year and it had been a while since I last carried out my sea glass circuit, so the larger size of this find isn’t surprising. My collection included pieces of ceramic and newer shards of glass.  I could tell these pieces of glass were newer because their edges were sharp and not softened from years of tumbling in the lake.

I rely on the sun to create the sparkle leading me to the sea glass nearest the water’s edge. My scouring involves walking both up and down the beach front because the reflection may be visible in one direction, but not the other. With the sun lower in the sky, the light strikes the sea glass at an angle creating that gleam I need to locate the piece. Checking the shoreline after a big storm churn often leads to major sea glass success.

My hobby started in 2009 when we bought our seasonal, furnished, lakefront home in North Hero. The house came with a big, thick jar full of sea glass on display in the living room. It really looked like a piece of art with all the various shapes and colors. Some pieces were more complete and appeared to be very old. I learned that all of this glass was collected on our shoreline.

When you start to really think about this, the notion of sea glass is two-fold.

  1. It’s pollution — broken bottles, china, dishes, etc. that ended up in our wonderful lake.
  2. But when collected, it can become a work of art.
Sea Glass from Lake Champlain
Sea Glass from Lake Champlain

Good can come from the bad.

I knew that if I came across a piece of glass on our shoreline, I wasn’t going to leave it for fear that someone could injure themselves. So if I was going to collect it, why not display these pieces that could share a story?

This, of course, meant that I needed to collect vases and jars that were large enough and heavy-duty enough to hold my treasures! You know what I’m looking for at yard sales and in those “Free” piles!

I’ve shared my hobby with many who’ve visited us. The kids seems to appreciate this hobby the most.

Lake Champlain Sea Glass Art
Sea Glass Art by Cameron

I was surprised by this framed sea glass art made by one of the children that accompanied me on a sea glass pursuit. She took her cache home and then presented her gift to me at Christmas. I still proudly display this work in my living room. The shapes of the sea glass and from whence they came inspired her to create this 3-dimensional sailboat scene!

I have some interesting pieces like old glass electrical insulators and medicine bottles. Red and blue glass are my prized color finds — they are rare. My favorite piece is a complete bottle base with “patented 1905” imprinted on it. I don’t remember which jar it’s in right now, but I’m pretty sure it’s placed carefully so that it’s visible from the top or side of the container it’s resting in.

My sea glass collections have made it to our vacation rental homes too! In Sandy Cove Lake House, I have a lamp with a clear glass base filled with sea glass. There’s a big, thick vase on display in The Green Cottage. I’ve noticed that some guests have added to the collection too!

My interest in this hobby persists. I wonder what my next great find will be.






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1 Comment

  1. sbonfigli says:

    There are several State Parks in the Champlain Islands where you could try your luck. I’m hoping that there wouldn’t be glass underfoot at these beaches, but I know they are publicly accessible. Alburgh Dunes State Park is a local favorite beach if you just want to hang out at a beach. North Hero State Park is more for walking and picnicking. Knight Point State Park at the southern end of North Hero has a beach, hiking and picnic areas. Sand Bar State Park in Milton, just before you reach the Islands has picnicking as well as a beach. Grand Isle State Park is for camping only — no day visits.

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