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Gift Ideas for Summer House Guests

MAYBE YOU’RE invited to spend a summer weekend at a beach house in Cape Cod or Amagansett, or you’re going sailing on a pal’s boat in the Chesapeake or have been asked to spend a few days on a gorgeous farm in the West Virginia panhandle. Wherever you’re going, lucky you, sounds like great fun. If you’re like me, you’re planning your wardrobe. But more importantly, give some thought to an appropriate gift to show your appreciation for your friends’ efforts to house, feed and fete you.

Ask yourself: Do your friends have a pool, a house on the beach, like to solve puzzles, play games; are they boaters, foodies, art lovers? We’ve come up with some suggestions we think will fit most situations.  We hope they earn you a return invite.

—Janet Kelly


LEFT: Delight your coffee-loving hosts with Nespresso’s Aeroccino4, which can whip up frothy milk for lattes, hot chocolate or cold macchiatos to the drinking and viewing delight of all concerned.  Bloomingdale’s, $119.99. CENTER: When guests are coming over for a cookout, who couldn’t use a light but sturdy tray—in dishwasher-safe melamine? Especially one as attractive as Lenox’s new Rectangular Platter ($24) in this jolly blue geometric pattern. RIGHT: If you were visiting me, I would be happy to receive a package of Trofie Al Pesto Genovese (trofie pasta [17.6 ounces] and basil pesto. They remind me of the Ligurian region of Italy where I have spent many happy days among the olive trees and the sea. Eataly, $22.90.



LEFT: A lazy summer afternoon calls for a little sporting activity. Nothing too strenuous, mind you, but something to distract the guests while the hosts are cooking or taking a nap. A bocce set (bocce is to Italy like pétanque is to France) with eight painted, 3-inch wooden balls, one jack and a bag to store them comes to mind. $150, Fredericks & Mae. RIGHT: When visiting LittleBird Nancy in her new digs in Manhattan, you couldn’t go wrong bearing a gift like the John Derian Picture Book with Eye Tote ($100). It’s a compilation of 300 of the artist’s favorite 18th- and 19th-century images from his archive.



LEFT: Write your hosts an “open-now” note for this gift so they can immediately start capturing fun summer moments—on film. How retro. The candy-colored Instax Mini 9 Instant Camera ($59, Urban Outfitters) produces good-quality, credit card-sized prints. It’s a snap to use and has a lens for close-ups and a mirror for selfies.  RIGHT: Bet your friends at the beach don’t have a Brisker. If you bring them one, you’ll likely be their favorite guest. The Brisker Elite Electric Crisper ($179.99 Fante’s Kitchen Shop) is a food-storage appliance that keeps crackers, chips, nuts, cereals and cookies crisp, stuff that otherwise suffers in humidity.


LEFT: You can’t have too many good-looking beach/pool towels. This fresh-lemon Colloquial Beach Towel is part of a limited collection of prints that includes floral bouquets and rotary phones.  $58, Anthropologie. RIGHT: Small boat refrigerators don’t have a lot of capacity. When guests arrive, Scout Bags’ large (14.25″W x 12.5″H x 9.25″D) cooler, The Stiff One, with its hard, reinforced bottom, can come to the rescue with room for a 24-pack of beer, plus ice. A bottle opener and utensils fit into the exterior pockets. $49.50.

LEFT: Fresh flowers are always a treat, but think how easy it would be to pop a MacKenzie-Childs Courtly Check Rose ($14 each, Neiman Marcus) or three or more into a vase. No worries about wilting. RIGHT: When it’s hot outside, warm drinks don’t cut it. Vinglacé’s double-walled Wine Bottle Chiller ($90, Food52), which can keep a bottle of wine, water or champagne cold for about four hours, will keep both hosts and guests happy.


LEFT: Your friends who have pools have lounger floats, but do they possess a Parrot Pool Float ($59, Urban Outfitters)? It’s summertime; be playful.
RIGHT: Speaking of playful, the Casey Faux Boxwood Garden Dog (Grandin Road, $169) couldn’t be easier to maintain or fetch some smiles. Wherever it lands in the landscape, it’s a gift that will last for many seasons. No pruning involved.



This handsome Solid Brass Set of 4 Coasters will always come in handy. Backed with cork, they protect precious surfaces from unsightly rings. Plus, with use and age, an antique-looking patina will develop. $45, Goop.

It’s simply not summer without a margarita. This set of six colorful Margarita Glasses ($71.96 at Williams-Sonoma), made of food-grade, BPA-free plastic, makes sipping even more enjoyable because after the night is over, they can go straight into the dishwasher. Furthermore, they won’t crack, shatter, cloud or discolor.


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2 thoughts on “Gift Ideas for Summer House Guests

  1. Adrienne says:

    Perfect timing!! Thanks
    These posts are colorful and fun to explore!

    1. Janet Kelly says:

      Thanks, Adrienne!

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