Mt. Rainier and Lenticular Clouds - Dec. 2008 copyright: JMM

April 8, 2013

Glass Beach

My nirvana is Glass Beach, in Fort Bragg, California.  It was an old bottle dump and now the beach is all beach glass.  The first time I went in 1995, I was unprepared for what I found.  My automatic camera was in my jacket pocket.  It flew out of the pocket and broke on a rock but I didn't care, I was too busy stuffing my jeans pockets with glass.  I had so much glass in them that both pockets ripped out of the pants.  That trip was forevermore known as, 'The Greedy Grab at Glass Beach'.  

The second & third times I went, in 1998 and 99, I brought a baggie.  Taking gobs and gobs of it is definitely frowned upon, so I only dug for and selected extremely rare pieces.  I really didn't take that much, considering it's all beach glass.  I do kind of regret that but I was trying not to get in trouble with the locals that were there too.  And to be honest, once you're there, it's just so full of regular white, brown and green that all you want to do is look for the other colours, because you know they're there.  You don't have to settle for white, green and brown.  Now that the internet has made info and photos of this beach so easily available, more people are visiting and stripping the place by the bagful, which is also unfortunate.  There is a jewelry page I follow on Facebook that makes beach glass jewelry and they put up as a status, "Just got a fresh batch of glass shipped in from Glass Beach!" That really bummed me out. I've had photos of it posted to my Facebook wall multiple times, so people are very much aware of this once-hidden gem.


Took mom and dad there when they visited in the spring of 1999, right before I moved north to Washington.  My mom always complained that she could never find beach glass so I took her for a foolproof hunt.  My dad proved very adept at spotting red pieces.  I also collected a lot of ceramic or china shards here.

Surprisingly....or not....these are the only 3 photos I took of Glass Beach.  Maybe I was too busy digging to bother?  That's probably it.

Here are some pics of the stuff I collected at Glass Beach.  

 

Red is the rarest colour of them all.  Early glassmaking used gold to make red, so it was very expensive and people were less likely to toss red glass items in a bottle dump.  All the red I've ever found was at this beach.


I also picked up quite a few pieces of beach crockery too.  You never see that on the east coast.

While digging for glass, I also found these cool shells.

30 comments:

  1. I always enjoy looking at your beach glass collection. I so would love to visit "Glass Beach" some day. I too would be in my glory. Love the photo of Mom and Dad.

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  2. Cool!

    When I read "Glass Beach" all I could think of was horrific cut up feet! I have never heard of this place before. So glad you were able to get to it before it got too popular. That stuff is just amazing...

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  3. I love finding old glass. Haven't found beach glass before but have found several nice pieces around old fallen down houses and barns. The stuff you found is gorgeous. I love the pics! Nice pic of your mom and dad too. :)

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  4. oh i love beach glass---i bought some once for my grand-kids but the found kind it so cool :)

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  5. That place looks awesome - I'd never heard of the place. i wish people wouldn't grab it by the bagful. Gems like this are only gems for other generations when we take care of them!

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  6. Amazing,it's something I've never really thought of.I used to live beside a bottle factory and behind it they had mountains of broken glass and as children we used to steal some of the glass,none as nice as yours.

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  7. Looking for beach glass is kind of an obsession for me....I haven't been in about a month and am getting the urge to go to my 'secret spot' before the summer season starts. I also wish people wouldn't take so much from Glass Beach but it's unstoppable now, unless the town of Fort Bragg prohibits access to the beach and closes the road to it.

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  8. I can see why you'd be happy there!

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  9. Wow. I'd love that beach. The blue and turquoise are my faves,but I'd sit and ooh and ah over many of those. It's recycling, anyway. I'm glad you found some shells.

    Light, windows and coloured glass - soothing to me.

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  10. So, do you have to wear pretty sturdy shoes in order to not get cut up feet? Or is the glass mostly smoothed by the water?

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  11. I have always wanted to visit this place - haven't so far - pout. Nice post.

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  12. Having just learned wire wrapping, I'm hoping to find some great pieces of beach glass while in Monterey. Your post inspires me to create a piece of jewelry to commemorate our trip. Nice photo of the folks, too.

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  13. how beautiful....I've never heard of a place like that. I do love finding sea glass on regular beaches though. Thanks for sharing.

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  14. I've never heard of glass beach! What an incredible place!

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  15. Ooh!! I want some!!! My kids would love this. We are planning a road trip from Portland to the Bay Area this summer. Maybe we can fit this in. The Wikipedia site says that collecting is not allowed on the park but on the periphery. Is that where you went? I would love to hear more of your thoughts on this spot--can you e-mail me at organic_mama@yahoo.com? Thanks!

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  16. What a crazy place! Disturbing, but fascinating. Putting it on the to-go list!

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  17. I'd love to visit there. One of the necklaces I bought at a craft fair had a piece of blue beach glass as its centerpiece, and I wore that thing until it wore out. Then I restrung it and am still wearing it. LOVE beach glass.

    Tina @ Life is Good
    Co-host, April 2013 A-Z Challenge Blog
    @TinaLifeisGood, #atozchallenge

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  18. That's amazing, I never even knew such a place existed. And what a lovely memory, of visiting it with your mom and dad. :-)
    Some Dark Romantic

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  19. I never heard of Glass Beach before. I would just love to be there and see all that glass in one place.

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  20. As I've never lived by the sea or ocean, I do long for vacations in such place. You found such beautiful pieces you can definitely use in your colorful projects.

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  21. Thanks all!!! Hunting for beach glass has gotten to be a huge hobby for people so it's much harder to find it. I have my own secret spot that's only accessible in winter b/c it's a private beach. The summer is coming and with it tourists (and fees to park) so it's really hard to find glass now till fall. Except at Glass Beach!!! There's supposedly a place up north of Boston that's good but I haven't been up there yet. The thought of slogging thru that city both ways bums me out.

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  22. First time I ever heard to Glass Beach and I'm originally from California (well originally sort of - I lived most of my childhood there but was born in Messina, Sicily). Guess maybe it wasn't all that popular back in the age of dinosaurs - lol)
    True sea glass is getting very scarce these days - perhaps it is because everything now comes in plastic ! :(

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  23. Hi Jo Jo .. aren't they amazing - each of the photos just has some wonderful pieces in it ..

    and I love seeing your parents - and yes, your mother does look cold!

    Glass Beach .. what an incredible place ... cheers Hilary

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  24. You found a treasure trove full! Wow! Every time you talk about beach glass I get a mental image of my bare feet sliced to ribbons!!

    Kathy
    http://gigglingtruckerswife.blogspot.com

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  25. That is amazing! I bet it was a lot of fun just to find all those different colors.
    Valerie
    Everyday Inspired

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  26. Oh not to worry....beach glass is so smooth that you can't cut your feet. I would worry more about the broken shells.

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  27. I am so impressed you are doing the Blogging A to Z thing... I have no discipline1 Jealous!

    Lovely photos, as always.

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  28. It's a far cry from what it was, Jo. Too many hoarders through the years. I have some with me here from our decade in Mendo. We loved living on that amazing stretch of coast, but it can't compare to what we've found here.

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  29. What a cool beach! I see why it would be hard not to be greedy.

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  30. What a beautiful collection of beach glass.

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