Beach Glass Weekend

ashtabula harbor light building at sunset

Ashtabula Harbor Light building at sunset (Wirestock Creators /

Ashtabula lift bridge

Ashtabula lift bridge (Alesha Arreguin/

Mark your calendar to visit historic Ashtabula County this summer. Ashtabula County, in Ohio’s northeast corner, boasts more than 30 wineries and breweries, is the covered bridge capital of the state, and is home to some great beachcombing spots on Lake Erie’s shores. And every June, Ashtabula hosts the Ashtabula Harbor Beach Glass Festival along the streets downtown.

Scenes from the festival

Created originally by Troy and Lorie Dalrymple, the event was born out of a deep love of beach glass jewelry. The Dalrymples started the festival with only ten vendors and a goal to share their passion for beach glass and coastal treasures. Since then, the event has grown, and last year featured 130 vendors and attracted 15,000 attendees from Buffalo, Pittsburgh, Detroit, and across Ohio.

Scenes from the festival

The festival, now organized by Melody Shiflet, is beach glass and beach themed, with some vendors offering food and a variety of other items. Melody loves showcasing the creativity of the vendors, as well as the love each artist puts in their work to be shared with thousands of strangers. Melody herself isn’t a beachcomber. “I can’t find beach glass to save my life!” she laughs. However, she loves a wonderful necklace with a piece of Lake Erie pirate glass she bought from one of the festival vendors.

scenes from the festival

 The festival is held in the center of town, with tents lining the streets of the commercial district. Vendors show off their creations incorporating beach glass, rocks, driftwood, and other items related to the beach. Festivalgoers get a chance to speak with the artists, get a look at some creative ways to use beach glass, and stroll along the harbor.

Scenes from the festival

While in Ashtabula, you can also visit Ashtabula Maritime & Surface Transportation Museum, open Friday through Monday from noon to 4 pm in the summer. Head out to Walnut Beach for some beachcombing and a view of the Ashtabula lighthouse, built in 1836. Melody recommends making a reservation at Rennick Meat Market for brunch or dinner. “Chef Jennifer and her staff bring a touch of elegance and sophistication to classic butcher-inspired meals.”

Netcher Road Covered Bridge

Netcher Road Covered Bridge (J. Norman Reid/

Leave time to check out a few of the 19 covered bridges in the county, visit some of the 31 wineries in the Grand River Valley, and shop in the local shops and boutiques.

Ashtabula area map

Ashtabula area map (Tudoran Andrei/

Just a hop, skip, and a jump away you’ll find Geneva-on-the-Lake, a small resort town on the shore of Lake Erie. Hit the beach in Conneaut to look for beach glass remnants from General Electric’s lamp base factory, and just an hour away is the city of Cleveland with fun nightlife, world-class restaurants, and historic buildings. Don’t miss the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the scenic beaches.

Learn about more upcoming beachcombing festivals and events ›

All photos by Melody Shifflet except as marked.

This article appeared in Beachcombing Magazine Volume 42 May/June 2024.

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