On Sea Glass and Rummy


If you have been around here for any length of time, you may have heard me speak about our favorite place, LBI.  LBI stands for Long Beach Island in NJ.  Also know as “the Jersey Shore”.  Despite television show representations, this part of the shore is quiet and healing for me and the love has been passed on to my husband and my girls.

Many years ago, when the girls were still small, I was walking along the beach on my own.  I came upon several people in the sand digging.  I was so confused as to what they were doing so I asked someone and was told they were searching for treasure, the ultimate treasure.

Sea glass.  Beach glass.  I have now even heard of it referred to as “mermaid tears”, of which I am not a fan.



That day the obsession began.  I too began digging and like I was at a slot machine, each time I found one I found myself thinking, I will head back once I find one more.  And then it was one more and then another.

I found myself checking the tide schedules and trying to get to the beach just before low tide, which seemed to the best time to hunt.  As much as I loved this version of treasure hunting, my kids and Dana did not like it.  After a few years, as the girls started to get a little older and better at finding it, the tide began to change.  All puns intended.  They too wanted to go out and there were even days we went out with nets to scoop just beyond the wave break area.

Nothing was better than the sound of someone standing upright yelling out “sea glass!”  We have a jar just for the LBI glass.  There is a jar for the glass I bought back when I visited a friend in Hawaii.

Slowly but surely over the years, sea glass has been harder and harder to find on LBI.  And since storm Sandy, there is pretty much no hope.  They have built up the sand dune very high and deeply towards the ocean in an attempt to protect the homes and roads on the island.  I totally understand the need, but it all feels so strangely different.



And so when we set out a few weeks ago for a couple of days away in Cape May, NJ, we researched ahead of time to see if there were any tips for the best places to hunt for sea glass.  It is funny.  I am such a homebody that as we were planning this trip, I would have been perfectly fine with just staying home and getting things done.  What a mistake that would have been.  A few days away, just us, no work, no distractions.  It was just what we needed.

And so in winter hats and rain boots instead of bare feet and bathing suits, we strained out necks looking in the sand for a long time.  I am not sure how long we were out there or how far we went.  It didn’t matter.  Each time I looked up it was such a beautiful sight.  Here we were, all four of us truthfully enjoying the same activity, together.  There was no checking social media or  to-do lists.  It was just the beautiful sound of someone yelling out “sea glass”.



And so the tone was set for the next few days.  Before dinner that night, we went to a “sister inn” to where we were staying and had a snack and drink.  We sat around our small table and brought out the deck of cards we had picked up that day and played several rounds of Rummy.  And such was born something else that it turns out we all love to do.

Sunshine and I during our Rummy game.


I am so painfully aware of how quickly the time is passing.  Not only are they preparing for different stages in their lives, but my role as their mom is changing.  It is just important, but I am still trying to navigate it all.   I am trying to parent them as best as I can and I thankful for the moments when they still enjoy spending time with us.  Even to take a selfie with mom.

Next time we have a window of a few days.  There will be no hesitation from me.  I will grab my boots, my net and my playing cards and I will be in the car ready to go.

Thank you so much for reading.


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13 thoughts on “On Sea Glass and Rummy”


  1. We have a property on the coast of Maine that was my husband’s grandparents retirement home. We share it with his siblings and a couple of cousins. I’ve been going there for over 40 years and collecting sea glass all that time. My daughter also loves doing it too. Now I am 63 and my daughter is 35 and we were talking recently how many hours we probably spent on our rocky shore finding sea glass. I have a glass lamp that I have put my glass in and every time I see it next to my chair I think of the time we spent together. So treasure this time together with your girls.

  2. We just purchased a condo on a barrier island on the gulf coast . I spend hours searching for sea glass and bought a special vase with a rattan base to display mine. My youngest loves to help me search for treasure. He always loves to skip broken pieces of sand dollars.

  3. Oh Laura, how very much I can relate to this post! I too began my seaglass combing days on LBI. My boys were just toddlers. I know exactly the area you speak of where the waves break. As my boys got older they too used nets to scoop up shells, rocks, and occasionally a coveted piece of seaglass! We’ve walked many beaches together as a family and have collected jars and jars of seaglass. I treasure those memories! Any time one of us returns from visiting a beach, the first question is always, “Was there any seaglass?!” Have you ever played Skip-Bo? It is our family card game of choice!

  4. i love the memories that you are creating for your sweet family. I am sure that one day when your girls are grown and you are sitting around someones gonna pull out the sea glass before you start your rummy game and say …remember this or that. precious post. have a great day!

  5. If you are looking for another sea glass spot I would suggest Sandy Hook National Park (New Jersey). You can search on the ocean side and the bay side. Happy hunting!!! I live in Monmouth Beach, NJ and also hunt for sea glass with my friend Carole and am amazed how many jars I have collected over the years.

  6. My sisters and I call it “making memories”. The beach sounds so lovely with the sparkle of sea glass and the excitement of your family finding treasure together. We use to look for rocks. I know it sounds crazy, but our kids have the best memories. And when we share our silliness at get togathers there is much laughter. It warms my heart — these “treasures”.

  7. I also have an obsession with sea glass! There’s not much here in Ohio (lol) but I could walk and dig with my toes or tools each time we get to a beach! I’ve not been to LBI so thanks for sharing!

  8. Laura
    I adore Cape May! My husband and I went a few years ago and stayed in a charming Victorian Inn. Sounds like your family had a wonderful time there.

    Your sea glass hunting reminds me of my shell hunting on a trip to Sanibel Island. I couldn’t straighten my back up for a week as I was bent over for hours at a time collecting the most beautiful shells.

  9. Oh what a sweet, sweet post! I miss my kids being under my roof (but happy to watch them grow as responsible adults too), but those days were so precious! You are building happy memories for your girls. Enjoy!

  10. Oh my! I kayak on the Hudson River, have been collecting “beach glass” for yrs! I have glass containers filled with it . White tumbled is the most common, green,Aqua , then cobalt my most prized. Either you get it or you don’t.