COASTAL OHIO: NATIONAL MUSEUM OF THE GREAT LAKES

Last weekend Rob and I safely ventured out in public to the National Museum of the Great Lakes.  What a treat! This museum completely exceeded our expectations and we could have easily spent much more time exploring the history of the Great Lakes.   

The National Museum of the Great Lakes consists of an indoor museum with over 300 photographs and artifacts that tell the story of the Great Lakes, a self guided tour of the 617-foot iron ore freighter the Colonel James M. Schoonmaker Museum Ship and the historic Museum Tug Ohio. In terms of safety during COVID, the museum requires face masks, social distancing, reservations, and the regular cleaning of surfaces. They also closed all hands-on and interactive exhibits. We were one of four parties the entire two hours we were there (two sets of couples, us, and a family of four). I felt very safe the entire time.

The museum itself tells tales spanning hundreds of years, beginning with the fur traders of the 1600s and ending with the sailors who sail the waterways today. I have never truly thought about the thousands of years of history of the Great Lakes and I was blown away by how dramatically the Great Lakes have impacted the North American continent. I loved learning more about Lake Erie, but I especially loved learning about the other Great Lakes. I realized I knew virtually nothing about Lake Ontario, Lake Huron, and Lake Superior. I also found it fascinating that because the Great Lakes are so large, they create their own weather!! So crazy!

We spent the majority of our time exploring the freighter and tug boat. The freighter was absolutely fascinating and it was my first time on a vessel this large. Walking up the gangway was incredibly terrifying for me (I am not a fan of heights), but once I was aboard the ship, I very much enjoyed the coastal views of downtown Toledo.

The first stop on the boat was the cargo hold – wow! What an enormous space! This was one of three cargo holds and this room alone can hold up to 5000 tons of bulk cargo (sand, stone, coal, iron ore, etc.). After the cargo hold we moved on to the First Engineers Cabin. I love seeing how sailors live and was fascinated by the living quarters.

Up next we ventured into the Crew Mess and Kitchen, which was quite spacious in my opinion! Off the kitchen was the Fantail, which just below this area is where the anchor chain locker is that holds a 4100 pound anchor – amazing!! After the Fantail we saw the Engine Room which is quite extraordinary – I for one could never work in this part of the ship though!

Having completed this side of the ship, we headed back down the deck and entered into the Passenger Hall, which compared to the rest of the boat was quite luxurious! With oak paneling and a grand staircase, one might they think they were on the Titanic (not really, but it was fancy!). Pretty much this entire side of the vessel is the Captain’s area – containing the Captain’s Lounge, Captain’s Offices, and Captain’s Cabin.

After we explored the Schoonmaker, we made our way to the Tug Ohio boat, which compared to the ship was quite tiny. It only took us about five minutes to explore the entire tug boat, but it was still fun to see how one operates and compare the difference in size between the two boats.

As with anything lately, I was nervous to explore this museum during COVID, but I’m very glad we did as it was truly fascinating. Plus, we enjoyed some panoramic views of downtown Toledo and the Maumee River, which even on a hazy gray day, was very beautiful.

If you are local to Northwest Ohio or are coming through the area, be sure to add this museum to your list of sites to see. It truly won’t disappoint.

Slainte,

Shannon

COASTAL OHIO: EAST HARBOR STATE PARK

It’s literally been months since Rob and I have done anything just the two of us.  We were supposed to be going away overnight this weekend, but we just aren’t comfortable staying somewhere else or straying too far from home.  We decided to take advantage of the fact that we have babysitters available and are enjoying a day trip to the lake.  

Last summer we stumbled upon East Harbor State Park and loved it.  Earlier this week when we were brainstorming places to go on the lake, we knew we wanted to go somewhere where there wouldn’t be a lot of people and where we could social distance.  East Harbor State Park seemed the perfect option.

Nestled along the Lake Erie shore, East Harbor State Park is a hidden jewel.  Visitors can enjoy everything from boating, fishing and swimming, to picnicking, camping, and hiking.  Last year we enjoyed the public beach, and my guess is this trip will also result in some beach time.  We are interested in exploring the marina and perhaps the hiking trails.  We plan on spending about an hour or two here so it may just turn into reading our books and relaxing on the beach.  

Be sure to follow along with us on Instagram as I’ll be posting to my stories!

Slainte,

Shannon

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 

HOLIDAY HOMEMAKING WITH WAYFAIR

It’s that time of year where magic seems to be in the air! Christmas is such a special time for gathering with family and friends and what better way to celebrate the season than with some festive and cozy decor! 

When Wayfair reached out to partner with me for their Holiday Homemaking Series, I was more than happy to share how I transform our home for the holidays.

I’m not the traditional red and green Christmas decorator. I never have been and I don’t know if I ever will. I tend to vibe better with shades of blue (shocker), silver, gold, and as of late, forest green.

My inspiration for our Christmas decor definitely comes from our current decor. Because our color scheme is already 90% blue and white, my holiday decorating typically takes on a coastal vibe. I love to decorate using shades of blue, gold and silver.

Every year I add a little more decor items to my collection. This year I was yearning for simple, so I’ve added no fuss mini wreaths, faux snow coated trees, and fresh greenery. The touches I added this year actually ended up taking on a colonial vibe and I’m totally loving the colonial, coastal mix.

Christmas is all about adding subtle touches to your space to make it feel warm and inviting. Adding in a soft throw blanket or some fun pillows (loving this ski inspired one right now) can instantly soften a room and make it feel welcoming.

One of the things I love about Wayfair is the variety they offer! Sometimes it’s hard to find Christmas pieces that vibe with my style, but Wayfair has an entire section dedicated to Coastal Christmas. I’m loving this Aegean Key Jute Tree Skirt and these white poinsettia flowers for my tree. Adding white sparkly flowers and stringing nautical rope as garland on our tree definitely gives it that coastal vibe that I so love.

In addition to its variety, Wayfair also offers tips for decorating, such as what size Christmas tree skirt you need, how many ornaments to use on your tree, and how much garland you need for the size of your tree!  They have some really helpful resources if you ever need some inspiration! 

Below I’ve rounded up some of my Wayfair Christmas favorites for this year.  Definitely be sure to check out my picks and let me know what you find for yourself! 

Sláinte, 

Shannon

Special thank you to Wayfair for partnering with me on this post.  All opinions are my own.  

3 PREPPY WAYS TO STYLE A SWEATER BLAZER – PART II

Part II – WEEKEND STYLE 
Last week I shared how to style this J.Crew sweater blazer for the holidays and today I’m sharing how to style it for the weekend, aka a more casual look. 
One of the things I love about this sweater is it’s versatility.  I do wear this to work A LOT.  It’s the perfect neutral and helps to instantly make my look more professional.  BUT, it also works perfectly if you are going for a casual look.  
My weekend look usually includes a t-shirt and jeans with a sweatshirt.  By swapping out my sweatshirt with this blazer sweater, my look is still casual, but a teensy bit more out together.  And comfy as heck! 
Adding a pair of booties also gives this look an extra splash of style.  But you can easily swap out the booties for tennis shoes, boat shoes, Wellies, or snow boots.
I’ve linked the details of my outfit below! You’ll definitely want to check out where my tee and knit hat are from (hint hint: two of favorite women owned small businesses)! 
Have the best week friends! 
Sláinte,
Shannon 
SHOP THE LOOK

DAY TRIPPIN’ TO THE BAY

One of my absolute favorite things about Ohio is it’s proximity to Lake Erie.  People never think of Ohio as a coastal state.  But in fact, the entire northern border of the state rests on the lake.   There are 100 miles of Lake Erie shore between Toledo and Cleveland.  I never appreciated my proximity to this body of water until the last few years.  I’m so fortunate that we live 25 minutes from the bay and about an hour from Marblehead Point.  

This past weekend we took L to Maumee Bay State Park, which sits right on the bay of the lake (hence the name).  Maumee Bay State Park includes two sandy public beaches, a two mile boardwalk, nature center, and a golf course, along with many other activities.  

We took L back in April, but she was too young to enjoy the water.  I was thrilled to see how much she loved it this time around (just like her mama!).  We wouldn’t let her get in because Lake Erie isn’t the cleanest of lakes (every summer we get an awful algae bloom – I will share a post on that another day).  
It was so refreshing and rejuvenating to walk along the lake and listen to the quiet waves crashing on the beach.  I have no idea where my love for the water comes from, but I sure do love it. 
This trip was even more special being able to share it with L.  She was completely entranced by the water and I wanted so badly to let her play in it.  I think one of the greatest joys of being a parent is watching your children experience something new with such immense joy.  I savor these special moments.

I love talking about coastal Ohio and am happy to share more of you guys are interested! You can also check out Ohio Explored or Ohio Find It Here.  Both are great resources for all things Ohio! 
Sláinte,
Shannon 

OUTFIT DETAILS:

S.LYNCH KNIT HAT | J.CREW FACTORY VEST | J.CREW FACTORY STRIPED SHIRT | J.CREW FACTORY DENIM JEANS | HUNTER BOOTS

COASTAL OHIO GIVEAWAY

By now you guys should know how much I love all things nautical, particularly coastal Ohio. Through my love for our Great Lakes, I have fallen in love with some awesome, awesome brands.

One of my first “Instagram” (and now real life) friends is a local artist who paints the most gorgeous scenes of coastal Ohio and farmland Ohio. Michelle Brunner of Michelle Brunner Art is a local artist who shares my love for all things blue and white and coastal. Her artwork is colorful, impressionistic, and thought provoking. I am in awe of her talent, ability to find the beauty in our state, and her kind, warm soul. I am so honored to have a few of her original paintings hanging in our home.

Another favorite brand that I’ve come to absolutely adore is Erie and Anchor. A lifestyle brand designed for anyone who loves to live and play on Lake Erie, Erie and Anchor offers cozy sweatshirts, lightweight tees, canvas totes, baby gear, baseball hats, and wine tumblers. Launching just over a year ago, Erie and Anchor is committed to supporting the Great Lakes. For every purchase made, 5% of earnings are donated back to Lake Erie to help support water quality and research. The family based company is passionate about ensuring the lake will still be a place of enjoyment and relaxation for decades to come. I’m so proud to support their top notch product and beautiful mission.

I’m so thrilled to be partnering with these two Ohio based influencers for a fun Labor Day giveaway!! Head to my Instagram for all the details!

Giveaway ends at 9/2 at 11:59pm EST. Winner will be announced via Instagram on 9/3.

Please Note: US residents only. This giveaway is in no way sponsored, administered or endorsed by Instagram. By entering you are confirming you are at least 18 years of age, release Instagram of responsibility, and agree to Instagram’s terms of use. Void where prohibited by law.

Good luck!!

Shannon

PRETTY LITTLE END TABLES

Home decor projects have definitely slipped to the wayside these last couple of months. In fact, we are currently undergoing baby proofing everything and I’m packing away many of my decor pieces (who knew things like vases, lamps, furniture, etc. could be so dangerous?!)

One area that has fortunately received some love and attention is our master bedroom. For the past five plus years, we’ve been using mismatched hand-me-down pieces for our side tables. They are so dinky and small, I don’t even know if they really count for end tables.

BEFORE:

My aunt graciously gave us two Queen Anne style tables a few years ago that have been pretty much acting as storage. They are quite outdated, but their size is proportionally perfect for our bed and so I decided, what the heck, maybe they will look cute with some paint.

AFTER:

I decided to spray paint these white and what a difference!! Painting these bright white gave them whole new life and a fresh new look. You can finally see the sea shell detail on the front, which is just the cutest.

I used Krylon Fusion All In One Satin Primer and Paint spray paint from Lowes for the tables. I ended up spraying two coats plus touch ups just to make sure the white covered the original wood finish. Isn’t it amazing how much just a little bit of paint can transform a space?!

I am not a fan of clutter, so I love that the tables have drawers – it makes it easy to hide phone cords, chapstick, journals, etc.

I’m not sure how I want to style them yet, so I’m going to keep it simple for now with a few books and fresh flowers.

Now the question is, what should I spray paint next?!

Sláinte,

Shannon

p.s. My lamps are 50% off right now during the Labor Day sales on Wayfair.

SUMMER GIVEAWAY!

This week is the official kick off to summer and I’m so pumped to be partnering with TWO of my favorite brands for a giveaway!! 

I’ve partnered with Erie and Anchor to give away one of their adorable baseball hats and with Anchors Aweigh Supply Co. to give away one of their beautiful Turkish towels!

Erie and Anchor is a local, family owned business that sells unique nautical apparel and gifts. From cozy sweatshirts, to lightweight tees, to canvas totes, baseball hats, and wine tumblers – Erie and Anchor has something for everyone!

Plus, for every purchase made, 5% of earnings are donated back to Lake Erie to help support water quality and research.  The family based company is passionate about ensuring the lake will still be a place of enjoyment and relaxation for decades to come.

Anchors Aweigh Supply Co. is a Turkish-American business that sells luxe seaside inspired essentials.  They sell high quality, handmade beach towels, bath and kitchen towels, bathrobes, and more! If you like stripes, you will love the patterns of these products.  

Not only do I LOVE the look and quality of the products, but I also love that all of their products are 100% Turkish cotton, free from harmful chemicals (a win for this mama!). All of the items are handmade by Turkish women using safe and ethical working conditions.  The owner has real relationships with the women who make the towels and I absolutely love that. Such a fantastic business model! 

I love supporting other women and their businesses and I’m so honored to be partnering with these two brands.  I highly recommend checking out both companies and treating yourself to something special! 

Now for the fun giveaway! To enter all you have to do is head to my Instagram and follow the steps below! 

1.  Like the picture

2. Follow me (@shannonsolt), @erieandanchor, and @anchorsaweighsupplyco 

3. Tag 3 friends in the comments 

4.  For bonus entries, share in your Instagram stories!

It’s that simple! Good luck!

Giveaway will close on Sunday, June 23 at 11:59pm EST and the winner will be announced on Monday, June 24.

Please Note: US residents only. This giveaway is in no way sponsored, administered or endorsed by Instagram. By entering you are confirming you are at least 18 years of age, release Instagram of responsibility, and agree to Instagram’s terms of use. Void where prohibited by law.