Lake Erie's Coastal Grandmas
The TikTok phenomenon finds a new aesthetic along our shore — and it’s not just for those with grandkids.
Summer is the time when fabrics get a little thinner, foundation is replaced by sunscreen, and you let your hair air dry.
Summer is also the time to steal a scene out of a Nancy Meyers romantic comedy (think Diane Keaton in Something’s Gotta Give) and act like the leading lady of your own life.
That means linen by day and light cashmere at night with a bouquet of fresh flowers — or a wine glass — in hand. Feet always in the sand.
And that aesthetic has a name, thanks to a video that went viral. It’s called Coastal Grandma — and it was coined by Lex Nicoleta on TikTok. But the Coastal Grandma ideal seems to appeal to women of all generations. It’s easy living, straw hats and long walks on the beach. It’s wisdom, rest and living your very best life.
This ideal is perfect for our shores. But instead of a snooty Californian sipping Chardonnay in Sonoma, a more down-to-earth, lake-loving coastal grandma emerges. One who spends summer weekends pontooning on Kelleys Island, sipping a glass of sauvignon blanc from Rocky Point Winery or decorating her cottage or home in Erie with eclectic antiques discovered at local flea markets.
She makes the most of sunny days, smells like cedarwood and isn’t afraid to get her hands dirty in the sand with her grandkids — or steering her own boat. Her wardrobe is polished, but not too polished; she’ll sport a breezy sundress, then throw on a worn-in hoodie once the sun goes down.
But above all, Lake Erie’s Coastal Grandma is a grandmother to everyone — always helping in her community, giving away beach glass to her friends and finding new crafts to try with her family. She makes the most of each day along Erie’s shores, constantly finding new things to love about our lake — and her life.
Jennifer Reed’s Treasures
Jennifer Reed is always moving. Whether it’s her hands working hard at creating her next piece of beach glass jewelry for her business, Relish Inc., or plotting boating trips with her husband, the metalsmith and jewelry maker from Erie, Pennsylvania, feels the most content when she’s in motion.
Heart of Glass: A trained metalsmith, Reed has been creating art out of glass given to her by Lake Erie since 1996. “My son was 6 at the time, and he found a piece of beach glass and asked me to make him a ring.”
Swaying and Waving: Even when Reed is taking time to relax, she needs to be on the move to feel like herself. This means going on walks along the peninsula or, even better, swaying with the Lake Erie waves on her boat. “I’d rather be on a boat,” Reed says. “When my husband and I travel, we’re looking for activities to do, like paddleboarding or renting a sailboat.”
Quality Uniform: When getting dressed for her busy days, Reed goes for the comfort of simple linens, soft knits and any non-synthetic materials, but you’ll also find a hint of eclecticism and genuine fun in her style. “I’m just as comfortable in my Carhartt painting overalls as I am in a linen button-down.”
Bejeweled: The signature of her style lies in her own pieces in which she adorns herself every day — and across all seasons. “I like building my wardrobe around the earrings because I’m enjoying them so much, and I tend to go for the blue colors – and usually something a little bit funky, a little bit longer.”
Always on the Job: “It’s hard for me to sit on a beach and just sunbathe,” Reed says. “So, if I’m at the beach, I’m usually looking for beach glass.”
Relishing the Moment: “Every morning I say, ‘thank you for this perfect day,’” Reed says. “Because I like to have an attitude of gratitude. It may not be as much as some people but it’s just enough for me.”
Erin Stack’s Adventures
Erin Stack lives and breathes Lake Erie. And the mother of four and grandmother of two from Avon Lake, Ohio, wouldn’t have it any other way. So, it makes sense that she owns the quintessential lake living lifestyle and apparel brand in the Cleveland area. But it isn’t just Coastal Cleveland that keeps her busy; she knows how to prioritize family fun and simple luxuries as much as she does running her small business.
Family Memories: Whether it’s jumping off their boat into the lake against a sherbet-colored sunset or savoring a pool day, Stack and her family have a common love language — water. One of their favorite pastimes is summer trips to Catawba Island every year. “I honestly believe that this tradition was the inception of Coastal Cleveland,” she says. “Traveling that Lake Erie coastline as a family, for over a decade, showed us so much of what lake living was all about.”
Casual Comfort: Stack’s outfits rely on dependable neutrals that she can switch out for any occasion. A pair of Lucky Brand white capris and black Old Navy flip-flops for a night on the patio and a pair of cut-offs and one of her Coastal Cleveland logo tees when out on the boat. No purse needed, either. “I throw on a little mascara and eyeliner, grab my phone and head out the door.”
Grandma Knows Best: Stack loves to create full-on field trips when she has her two grandkids — which they’ve adorably dubbed “Nonnie Adventure Days.” This can range from a tour of Cleveland’s museums, grabbing ice cream at Granny Joes in Vermilion, Ohio, or kayaking on the Black River just down the road in Lorain.
Local Love: If you ask her for a go-to place to relax, she recommends we look no further than Rocky Point Winery in Marblehead, Ohio. “I absolutely love hanging out here on a summer afternoon because I feel like I’m relaxing in someone’s backyard,” she says. “It’s a slice of heaven on earth for me.”
Day or Night: Stack’s activities range from fast-paced to relaxed, whether it’s sitting by the lake, sipping her favorite drink on a patio, hiking in the Cleveland Metroparks or boating over to the islands. Usually with her husband, Brian, by her side. “Sitting on Lake Erie, by ourselves, is the most tranquil, soul-filling experience,” she says.
Note to Self: Erin tries to live every day to the fullest. “We only have one life.”
Jane Anderson’s Lakeside Love
Jane Anderson’s love for Lakeside, Ohio, is unmatched. When asked about it, Anderson, who has been coming to the vacation town with her family since the 1980s, beams about everything it has to offer. When she’s not serving as chair of the town’s board of directors, you’ll catch her biking, playing shuffleboard or hosting patio dinners with her family.
Gather Round: It’s no surprise that Anderson’s cottage in Lakeside becomes a hot spot for her extended family and grandkids — and she doesn’t shy away from planning their itinerary. “Our cottage overflows with people,” she says. “There’s so much to do for different age levels, whether it be swimming, pickleball, shuffleboard or kids’ concerts.”
Cycling Diaries: For Anderson, one of her favorite modes of transportation is by bike, whether it’s taking casual rides along the Marblehead Peninsula or even taking a ferry across to Kelleys Island for an extra adventure.
Minimalist Approach: When asked what she always has in her bag, Anderson’s philosophy is less is more. Instead, she carries her phone, which has a small pouch on the back that holds her driver’s license and a credit card.
Cottage Dreams: Since Lakeside truly feels like a second home to Anderson, her cottage reflects a warm and lived-in style. “We wanted to make it beautiful, yet comfortable so people can come and feel like they could just relax here. Our color scheme is very clean — all different shades of blues and whites with a punch of yellow here and there. And we have artwork from the area that we have collected from local artists.”
Sundressed Up: Feminine and full-of-ease are Anderson’s personal style adjectives. “I’ll usually throw on a sundress and a pair of sandals in the summertime because it’s just so easy,” she says. “It’s usually either cotton or a linen dress, usually something from Tommy Bahama. But nothing super fancy.”
Morning Mantra: Before Anderson even steps out her front door, she shows gratitude. “Thank you, God, for this day.”
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