Aerial Photos Edmund Gudenas
Photos Steven Drescher and Josie Koler
“My dad says, ‘you came to the island with me and you went home with your mom'”, Danielle Nawrocki shared sweetly across the indoor bar at Saint Hazards on Middle Bass Island. “I was conceived there (Put-in-Bay). The island is going to be my home forever. South Bass Island has a huge part of my heart.”
Nawrocki splurged in the gift shop on a round seashell with a stainless steel cutout of South Bass Island jewelry piece to wear above her heart during a day of island hopping via the Sonny S with her beau’s best friend Johnny Martens.
“I found some of the best jewelry,” explained the employee of two well-known island joints, The Roundhouse and The Blue Luna Ristorante Italiano, “one would pay a lot of money for these cutouts on Put-in-Bay and this is awesome.”
“(The jewelry has) way better quality here. Not to harp on my island, but yes,” observed Martens who was born on South Bass Island, grew up on South Bass Island and lives on South Bass Island. He’s part of the family that started E’s Put-in-Bay Golf Carts.
“…and I’m Nicole Beachy now,” a new bride filled us in on her new gig in life.
“Because two weeks ago she married my son,” Loretta Beachy and her new daughter-in-law Nicole, announced to everyone the reason for their island gift shop excursion at Saint Hazards on Middle Bass Island.
“We are buying the Middle Bass cut out (necklace). The piece is unique and different from anything else we’ve seen on the island,” Nicole offered.
For thirty-seven years the Beachy family from Plain City, Ohio has been vacationing to MBI. Every weekend from March through November they catch the ferry to cross the lake from the mainland.
“His family would always come up two weeks out of the year. He introduced me to the island, and then we got married, this is what happened. We bought a place up here years ago,” Loretta let on.
For part-time Floridian and Marblehead, Ohio resident, Marcie Hoerig visits a different Lake Erie Island every year along with her girlfriend who lives in Port Clinton.
“We try to hit at least one island every year to come over and visit… and we found this little (Saint Hazards) place,” Hoerig described the flow. “I’m more into the stones. A lot of stones and natural pieces like seashells, abalone, I have a lot of that plus mother of pearls, pearls and sometimes I am attracted to the beading.”
“They’re handmade in Bali. They’re stainless on seashells,” Ed Gudenas proprietor of Saint Hazards Adventures offered of the gift shop treasures. “We have Put-in-Bay, Middle Bass and a couple of Kelleys, and ‘The Monument‘. Other places don’t have these pieces and they’re a lot less expensive.”
The island entrepreneur, former politician, and globe-trotting photographer received inspiration to bring the jewels to Middle Bass Island through swanky jewelers who share pages with his photographs in publications such as Harbour Magazine Ile De Saint Barthelemy – Port de Gustavia.
A glimpse through the pages of the luxury life magazine from the French Caribbean shows the models of Diamond Genesis draped in diamonds, gold and sapphires showcasing the beloved island of St. Barth’s. The craft spans nearly three decades and is a chic and elegant way to celebrate Lake Erie Love. Gudenas’ collection includes bracelets, necklaces, earrings, key chains, and accenting beaded necklaces.
Jewelry, any jewelry, whether made of diamonds or purchased during a cruise ship stop on a Caribbean vacation is used to mark momentous occasions. Perhaps the most notable – an engagement to be married, bringing a new baby into the world, to celebrate a professional milestone, or in this case a distant destination in Lake Erie, which is now a destination marking married life for Nicole Beachy.
“We’re going to rock it out today. We’re just going to wear the pieces today. Loretta was looking for a Middle Bass gift piece. There are not a lot of places that have the little island cut-out,” the new bride gushed.
The memories are just beginning, and now they’re marked around her neck with a seashell cut-out of Middle Bass Island.
The prices are worth gushing over as well. During the off-season which is now through May 31st travelers can pick out any piece for just ten dollars, which is a mere fraction of the forty-thousand dollar price tag of The Saint Barth Collection by Diamond Genesis in the far off French Caribbean. Saint Hazards Waterfront Resort can also, and is willing to, ship anywhere in the world so the love for Lake Erie’s paradise islands can spread. To order call 419-285-6121, email [email protected], or visit the gift shop this summer.