COASTAL OHIO: LOCAL’S GUIDE TO THE BEACH AT MAUMEE BAY

We’ve had several people reach out to us with questions about the beach at Maumee Bay State Park so I thought I would put together a quick little guide for anyone thinking about visiting! It’s no secret that our family loves this beach. It’s only a 25 minute drive from our house and the beach offers some gorgeous views of Lake Erie. And since it’s a state park, the beach and the marshy trails surrounding it are open to the public during Ohio’s Stay at Home Order (just make sure you social distance yourself from others and bring your masks!).

Even though the beach is currently open, there are some limitations due to the current public health emergency. For starters, there are no public restrooms available. Under the Ohio Governor’s Stay at Home Order, all public restrooms are currently closed. Second, it is mandated you practice social distancing, so make sure to remain six feet away from others (park rangers do drive around regularly). Third, and this is true all the time, there are no lifeguards on duty on the main beach so you swim in the lake at your own risk!

Even though it’s probably obvious, I do need to point out that Ohio beaches are much, much smaller than beaches on the East Coast, in Florida, or California beaches. Because they are so small, what they lack in amenities such as access to refreshments, they make up for in less crowds and a more relaxed atmosphere .

So, without further ado, here are a few tips:

  1. Bring your own beach towel, blankets, or chairs (I love to bring our Turkish beach towels from Anchors Aweigh Supply Co.).  During the summer months I recommend a beach umbrella, too. 
  2. Pack a picnic basket or cooler with snack and refreshments.
  3. Bring extra clothing – it’s always at least ten degrees cooler along the shore than it is inland. 
  4. Get there early, especially in the warmer months.  Because Ohio beaches are smaller, they do fill up quicker.  We always get there around 10 a.m., which is at least an hour or more before the crowds.  This past weekend we had the entire beach to ourselves and it was amazing!
  5. Bring toys if you have kiddos – shovels, pails, buckets, bath toys, etc. 
  6. If you are an adult, bring a book, some music, or a magazine. 
  7. The beach is more gravely than sandy, so just keep that in mind.
  8. This beach doesn’t boast a ton of shells, so if you are looking to search for seashells by the seashore you will be quite disappointed.
  9. I’m not an expert on high tide and low tide, but currently it appears as though spring low tide is between 10am-1pm.  I include this because you have much more beach to walk around on. 

Another local tip, if the main beach is too crowded, the park also boasts a 57-acre in-land beach and lake! It’s about half a mile from the main beach and offers a much quieter atmosphere. Plus, you can swim, fish, paddleboat, and rent canoes on this lake!

Hopefully if you are planning a safe trip to the bay, these tips will help and prepare you for a lovely day at one of Ohio’s many Lake Erie beaches. 

Slainte,

Shannon 

COASTAL OHIO: ERIE AND ANCHOR DOCKS IN HARBOR TOWN

Almost one year ago, I sat at my computer and drafted up an email, mustering up the courage to hit send.  I had been following an Ohio based brand for quite a while and was pitching them an idea to collaborate with me.  It was my first time ever reaching out to a brand and I was so nervous.  

Within a couple of hours, the owner of the brand replied to my email and was just as excited as I was about the opportunity to work together.  After an hour long phone call we set up a day to get together for lunch and thus began my journey working with Erie and Anchor

Fast forward eleven months, and I’ve had the joy of watching my favorite Ohio brand open their first brick and mortar store. I remember sitting with Micah at our first lunch and talking about this dream of hers to someday open her own retail store. When she told me she was going to do it in the place that inspired Erie and Anchor, I knew without a doubt I wanted to be there for the opening.

This past weekend, Rob, Lilly and I hopped in the car for the hour long trip to Vermilion, Ohio for the soft opening of the Erie and Anchor flagship store. We had never been to Vermilion, but let me tell you, it is a coastal gem. It’s described as the “crowning jewel of the south shore of Lake Erie” and it’s 100% accurate.

This enchanting seaside community has all the charm of a New England coastal town. It’s full of quaint shops and restaurants, beautiful old “Lake Captain” homes, spectacular beaches, and an adorable lighthouse and maritime museum. It’s the perfect setting for an Erie and Anchor store and I’m already planning many more trips back to enjoy all the delights this coastal community has to offer.

The Erie and Anchor store is situated on the corner of Main Street and Liberty Avenue, right in the heart of “Harbor Town” (what the locals call the downtown).  It’s the perfect location! 

The inside of the store is absolutely gorgeous.  Everything from the window displays, to the hardwood floors, and shiplap wall are just stunning.  No detail was overlooked and it has such a cozy, easy going, lake vibe atmosphere.  

One of my favorite parts of the store includes the back wall which boasts five rowing oars and two floating shelves with nautical rope. So simple, yet perfectly preppy and right on brand. I also love the large wooden sign behind the checkout desk that is a beautiful replica of the logo. It’s one of the first things you see upon walking into the store and it’s just stunning.

Micah will be selling not only Erie and Anchor merchandise, but also merchandise from Coastal Cleveland, Shabby Shore, and a few other Ohio based companies. It’s truly a store that embraces coastal Ohio and the community that loves the lake.

I had no idea what this brand would come to mean to me and how much working with Micah would change my blogging life. I’m so grateful for her support, encouragement and friendship. I don’t know where A Dash of Solt would be without her. I’m so thrilled that I have been able to watch her grow her brand, not only across Ohio, but across the country.

The Erie and Anchor store will be open on Saturdays and Sundays from 12-6:00 p.m. until the grand opening weekend on March 21 and March 22.  If you aren’t local to Ohio, you can always shop their merchandise online.  And as always, a percentage of each purchase made is donated to the research and cleaning up of Lake Erie! 

Congratulations on a beautiful dream coming true, Micah!! Thanks for letting me be a part of it. 

Sláinte,

Shannon 

MY BLOGGING JOURNEY

Happy 2020 friends! I took a short hiatus from my blog to be present over the holidays, but I’m back and ready for the excitement of a new year.

Instead of doing a resolutions post or even a goals post, I want to write about why I blog. In a market that’s insanely saturated with fashion bloggers, mommy bloggers, interior design bloggers, etc. it can feel daunting and intimidating. So I need to write this post for me, to remind myself why I started this journey.

In 2012 I was working in retail management and needed a creative outlet for my love of fashion.  I launched my first fashion blog and had a blast styling outfits.  It was probably my most creative era of dressing and I seriously had so much fun.

In 2013 I landed a job doing social media and marketing for a local nonprofit.  My blog was pushed to the wayside because I wanted nothing to do with social media by the time the workday ended.

Fast forward to summer 2017 and I had that itch again. I needed a creative outlet to share all my passion and love for fashion and home decor. I relaunched my blog and started gaining some traction. And then in early 2018 I became pregnant with our sweet Lillypad and I was soooo sick. I could barely look at my phone, let alone get on Instagram or blog. So I took a whole year off.

I started blogging once every week or two in 2019 and shared everything from fashion to home decor to Motherhood.  And it felt good.  I started creating partnerships with brands and meeting so many amazing people who I can say are truly my friends and a great support system.  

As great as 2019 was for my blogging and Instagram, it was also a year full of comparisons and feeling not good enough. It’s extremely frustrating to watch new bloggers launch their blog or Instagram and overnight, have thousands of followers. Don’t get me wrong, I’m SO happy for these individuals who are putting themselves out there and doing what they love. BUT, it definitely makes me question what’s wrong with my content? Why isn’t my IG following growing? I’m doing all the same things as that blogger and they have tons of more followers. All of these thoughts are constantly circulating in my head and many times I’ve wanted to quit.

BUT I haven’t. And that’s important. My focus has shifted so much over my blogging journey and although I’ve definitely struggled with the numbers game and finding my identity as a blogger (Am I fashion blogger? Home decor blogger? Mommy blogger?), I’ve realized it’s the journey that matters. It doesn’t matter how many followers I have or how many clicks or comments I have, what matters is doing what I love and connecting with other humans. Who cares if I don’t have 50K or even 5K following me (do I really want that many followers anyway? Especially with showing Lilly sometimes?). I think what I have learned is that I have found my tribe. I have an amazing support system and some incredible people who follow me and support me in this endeavor and those are the people I want following me.

This blog is a space where I can share all the things I love and am passionate about.  It’s a space where I can let my creativity run wild. A space for me to have fun with fashion, share decorating projects, and connect with other mamas.  It’s a space for me to show others the beauty of coastal Ohio.  And it’s a space for me to support other women, creatives, and bloggers who have truly become friends.  

So this year, my goal for my blog is to create and cultivate a community of fellow likeminded humans who are passionate about fashion, motherhood, home decor, small businesses, and coastal Ohio (or any place coastal really). I hope my content, whether it is fashion advice, a home project, a motherhood update, a trip to a Lake Erie island, or sharing a new brand, will either inspire you, connect with you, or resonate with you in some way.

I really believe blogging and Instagram were created to provide a sense of community in this crazy digital world and that’s exactly how I am going to use these platforms in 2020. 

So cheers to a blessed year full of creativity, community, inspiration, and showing up.  Thanks for following along on this solty journey of mine. It’s going to be a magical ride.

Sláinte,

Shannon