Maggie Ehrlich, left, and Meta Martinez, right, look at rocks they’ve collected over the years.

Maggie Ehrlich, left, and Meta Martinez, right, look at rocks they’ve collected over the years.

Photo by Alyssa Ochss

Rock hunters find cool stones, spend time together

By: Alyssa Ochss | Metro | Published April 18, 2024

 Teddy Ehrlich shows off the rock he’s found while his twin sister Arlie Ehrich searches for more rocks.

Teddy Ehrlich shows off the rock he’s found while his twin sister Arlie Ehrich searches for more rocks.

Photo provided by Maggie Ehrlich


METRO DETROIT — Rock hunting is a fun pastime spent finding unique stones alone or with friends and family.

Maggie Ehrlich, a rockhound and a Grosse Pointe native, lived in California for around 20 years before making her home in Michigan once again. During her time on the West Coast, every summer, she and her husband came back to the Mitten State to visit her mother in Charlevoix. During their summer trips, her favorite thing to do was to collect Petoskey stones with her nieces.

Now she takes her children, twins Arlie and Teddy Ehrlich, rock hunting.

“I was just kind of always hoping that I would have kids and I ended up having my twins and be able to do this with them,” Ehrlich said. “It was really special when we were able to start taking them up there, too.”

Ehrlich has taken them rock hunting in Michigan and on the East Coast. Ehrlich’s friend and fellow rock hunter, Meta Martinez, is originally from Grosse Pointe and lived on the East Coast north of Boston for around 25 years. Ehrlich said Martinez watched her kids and called her a second mom to them.

“She also loves to rock hunt,” Ehrlich said. “So when she is watching my kids a lot of the time she does that with them on Belle Isle.”

Martinez has been rock collecting and hunting since she was a little girl. She also took her own children out rock hunting. She has a small box of numbered rocks she’s kept from when she was a child that her children also played with.

“At one point I had a card that I would write down what type of rock it was,” Martinez said. “Of course, the card is long gone, and then numbered it.”

Martinez’s love of rock hunting started when she was a child. Her parents built her childhood home in the place of another house that was torn down. Supposedly, she explained, there were underground tunnels that lead to the lake. There was also a lot of upturned earth on the property.

“It was kid heaven,” Martinez said. “To go out there and just start picking through the debris and the dirt and stuff that’d been turned up when this old house had been torn down. And we loved collecting stones from that area.”

She also said her grandparents had a house in Port Huron and she took trips Up North.

When Martinez lived on the East Coast, she collected sea glass.

“Which we consider our own rocks on the East Coast,” Martinez said with a laugh.

According to the Pure Michigan website, there are federal rules and regulations to follow when rock hunting.

“According to the Michigan DNR, you are only allowed to remove 25 pounds of stones per year. If any Petoskey Stone weighs over 25 pounds, the DNR has the right to confiscate it,” the website stated. “If you’re strolling the shores of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore for your search, keep in mind that stones must remain where you find them.”

But Martinez said rules like these might be in place to keep people from taking home boatloads of stones to fill gardens. Ehrlich said she, as well as her nieces, would take home a couple of stones and put the rest back.

“The fun is the hunt, right?” Ehrlich said. “And if they’re all gone, there’s nothing to hunt for anymore.”

Aside from Petoskey stones, other rocks found in Michigan include Leland blue stones, agates, various forms of fossilized coral, granite and much more.

Ehrlich joked that the pose of Charlevoix is the bent over person searching for rocks. Martinez added there was a time when her friend asked why her head swiveled from side to side while walking on the beach.

“I was like, ‘I was looking for treasures, you know,’” Martinez said. “‘And rocks and sea glass and shells and different things.’”

She added, while in the rock hunting zone, she can spot the rocks she wants from a mile away.

Both have tried using rock tumblers before, but the machines can be very loud.

“I tried it in an apartment building, and I felt like I was going to get a fine from our landlord,” Ehrlich said.

Ehrlich joined a rockhound Facebook group and now that she’s back in Michigan she wants to explore more locations to find cool rocks. Martinez would like to go to the Upper Peninsula.

“The whole Lake Huron side is completely new to me, I was just looking at Oscoda,” Ehrlich said. “There’s like a great creek there, but also just the water line.”

Rock hunters are really nice, Martinez said, and she recalled a time when a man gave up his whole collection of rocks to a group of children who were getting frustrated with their searches.

“I think we’re all in it for the thrill of the hunt, you know, a little bit,” Ehrlich said.

Martinez said it’s nice to walk along the water and it’s a nice thing to do together with family.

“It’s just a fun thing to do together and again it’s something that you’re not going out and buying something,” Martinez said.

To find out more about rock hunting, visit the Pure Michigan website at To find out more about Michigan’s state parks, visit the Michigan Department of Natural Resources page at