Over the weekend, my daughter The Heir and I went to historic Cape May, NJ to the North American Sea Glass Association annual convention.
For those of you asking, "What is sea glass?" My answer is simple: It's glass (or anything sturdy made by humans) that has been in the sea for awhile and then is thrown back up on the beach.
You're not going to find gorgeous chunks like this lying around ready to scoop up. But as you can see, sea glass is very beautiful.
Heir and I like to go beachcombing in search of sea glass. It's kind of a bonding thing, plus she has great eyesight and gives me almost all the good stuff she finds.
However, on Sunday we went to Cape May to see other peoples' sea glass. There was a contest, for one thing, and for another, there was an expert available to help identify stuff.
Part of the day was surprising, and part wasn't. So I'll go in order:
Surprising: Thousands of people, overwhelmingly female and white, are passionate about sea glass. The Cape May convention center was so packed that the fire marshall was monitoring how many people were in the building. Heir and I had to wait in line 30 minutes to get inside.
Surprising: The shard I brought for identification was the bottom of a rum bottle, probably from the 1830s. I had found it wedged in the rocks of a jetty.
Not surprising: When I showed the bottle shard to my friend who is absolutely obsessed with sea glass, she told me not to bother entering it in the contest, because some people had already entered similar shards.
Not surprising: There were many vendors of sea glass art and jewelry. Everything was extremely expensive, especially since I know that the raw material, sea glass, is found for free.
Surprising: A guy had his personal collection there, which he had found in the Delaware Bay. He had glass that could only come from Colonial times or some kind of mammoth shipwreck, it was so weathered and frosted and in huge, thick chunks.
Not surprising: The old bottles actually entered in the contest were not as nice as mine.
Not surprising: After 90 minutes of that crowd and those prices, Heir and I bagged the convention and set off to find our own sea glass.
Surprising: The Garden State Parkway has more exits going south than it does going north. And it's a long way between exits if you're traveling northbound.
Not surprising: When Heir and I got to the sea glass beach, there was someone already there combing. She had gone to the convention the previous day. She described how someone called the police because the building was so jam-packed, hence the fire marshall restrictions Heir and I experienced.
Not surprising: Heir found some beautiful pieces, including a light yellow shard and two deep lavendar shards.
Not surprising at all: Heir and I just loved being together. It had been a long time since we took a road trip.
Surprising: My favorite fruit stand on the way home from the shore still had fresh peaches, canteloupes, and tomatoes.
Surprising: I went to bed at 8:00 and slept right through the night. Nothing beats an afternoon at the beach for getting you blissfully relaxed.
All glory, laud, and honor to King Triton and Goddess Oshun who rule the briny deep and all its contents, organic and fabricated! Shrine of the Mists has a special section dedicated just to Them.