Danielle Bauer is a beachcomber from Lakeport, Michigan. Though Lakeport is her home, Danielle often beachcombs at Lexington, a charming village located in the “thumb” of Michigan. Set on the coast of Lake Huron, Lexington is a short drive from the Detroit, Tri-City, and Flint areas. This village of around 1,200 people has a rich history of the lumber trade, when steam ships carried their cargos to ports along the shores of the Great Lakes.
Danielle’s been collecting since she was very young, inspired by her grandmother’s interest in searching for beach glass. She visits Lexington year-round and stays at a summer home that has been in her family for many years. Today, she collects primarily sea glass, but also pottery and Petoskey stones. She most often hunts with her mother Gail, along with their German Shepherds, Tasha and Quest. She goes to the beach in the morning at least once a week and tries to go three or four times if her schedule allows.
“My mom and I went to a new beach area last summer to see if we could get some different beach glass pieces and ended up parking somewhere we shouldn’t have (oops),” Danielle laughs. “The owner of the property chased us down and asked what we were doing there and why we parked on his property. Good thing we live in a small town and everyone knows everyone! The guy ended up being friends with my dad.”
Her favorite three finds are a red piece, a dark long oval teal piece, and an extremely rare grey piece.
“Anytime I find a special piece of beach glass, I always say my grandma is watching from above.”
Over the years, Danielle has collected so many full jars of treasures that she cannot even imagine how many pounds of glass she has. She keeps all of her special finds (reds, pinks, purples, teals, and greys) in a special jar.
“Beachcombing to me is more than just walking on the beach and looking for treasures,” says Danielle. “It is a way to let go of any stress or anxiety I may be feeling and clear my head from a long day.”
Danielle says there are many locations on Lake Huron to hunt for beach treasures. You can beachcomb right in Lexington harbor or travel to public access sites. If you follow Lake Huron either down to Port Huron or up to Port Sanilac, there are many different beaches with hidden treasures.
One of Danielle’s favorite spots is Lakeport State Park, which has two campgrounds, a picnic area, and a beautiful beach. In Lake Huron, you can search just on the shore or wade into the shallows when the water is clear. For some areas around the lake, wading is necessary due to recent water rise and the dwindling size of the beaches.
There are many locations to visit when you aren’t on the beach. The quintessential experience is visiting the boardwalk at Lexington State Harbor. Danielle also recommends catching live music at the Lexington Village Theater, and trying out some craft beer, fine wine, and delicious food at Lexington Brewing Co. and Wine House. For some non-beachcombing lake activities, Danielle likes paddle boarding, kayaking, beach volleyball, boating, or just plain relaxing. If you’re interested in golf, there’s Lakeview Hills Golf Resort and Putt’in 4 Paws Adventure Golf & Driving Range.
If you’re looking for a place to stay, there’s a nice variety of B&Bs, cottages, and hotels to fit your needs. For small-town shopping, take a stroll down Main Street and Huron Ave—Danielle’s two favorite shops are The Painted Paddle and Lexington General Store. After beachcombing, Danielle recommends getting a pizza or a sandwich at Sweetwater Gourmet Deli & Bar, or visiting Bunny’s Frozen Custard or the Oh! Fudge Shoppe for a sweet treat.
Danielle says that summer is the best time to visit Lexington, as all the stores and restaurants are open. Also, during the summer, there are frequent craft shows, music in the park, bike nights, and many Independence Day events.
This article appeared in the Beachcombing Magazine March/April 2020 issue.