Magazine - Beautiful Beaches - Fairport Harbor Lakefront Park
As the sun peaks over the horizon, the morning stillness is broken by the slap-swish of the paddle propelling Donna Clark forward toward a new day. It's 7 a.m., and Clark is alone at Fairport Harbor Lakefront Park along Lake Erie in Lake County. She relishes these moments, when life's stresses float away on Lake Erie and the nearby Grand River, which she navigates in her kayak. That's undoubtedly the reason her favorite kayak is named Andante, meaning "slow and easy with feeling."
"This is the time when the beach and lake are mine," she says.
But this penchant for seclusion doesn't mean the 43-year-old Kirtland resident doesn't play well with others. She says one of Fairport Harbor's main attributes is the fact that it attracts sports enthusiasts from around the state who like to kayak, sail, Jet Ski or play volleyball, making the weekends seem like a scene from "Beach Blanket Bingo."
"I ask if anyone wants to go sailing and 10 hands shoot up," Clark says. "There's this great sense of community when you find people who share the same interests you do."
In addition to countless opportunities to indulge in a strenuous sporting life, Fairport Harbor's 800-yard-long beach offers quiet places to spot eagles, herons and gulls.
Like Clark, many collectors come to comb the sand for beach glass. "You'll always find something that's worth the hunt," she says.
Where's her favorite spot for looking? "That's my
secret," she says with a smile.