Fourth of July weekend is here, and you have that coveted summer invite: a long weekend at a friend’s house outside of the city. As you rush to set your out-of-office message, pick up a bottle of suntan lotion, stuff a few bathing suits and a beach towels in your tote bag, and grab your beach tent, don’t forget the most important item on the packing list: a gift for your gracious host. Sure, a bottle of white wine is easy — but why not bring something more memorable? Whether you’re headed to a North Fork bungalow or a seaside shack on the Jersey Shore, here are some more creative ideas.
With a speakeasy-inspired cocktail in hand, of course, thanks to the Jack Rudy cocktail mixers you brought.
Buy it: Elderflower Tonic, $15; Sweet Tea Syrup, $19; Small Batch Grenadine, $20; Bourbon Cocktail Cherries, $20, all at Amazon
A Stellarscope is the perfect gift for stargazing hosts — just set the date and your latitude, point toward the North Star, and enjoy the constellations in the clear Catskills skies.
Buy it: $35 on Amazon
North Fork Victorian
It’s Friday afternoon, and you’re stuck in traffic headed out to North Fork. What better opportunity to be the stellar guest whose gift arrives before she even steps in the door? Try shrimp-cocktail delivery, from the Lobster Guy in Maine. Show up with some cocktail sauce (Bookbinder’s is one of the better jarred options).
Buy it: Shrimp cocktail, $20 at the Lobster Guy; and cocktail sauce $14 at Amazon
Consider a pair of lightweight binoculars for Berkshires hosts — they can bring these on hikes up Mount Greylock, or to Tanglewood when they have lawn seats for a summer concert.
Buy it: $32 at Amazon
A classic L.L. Bean tote, monogrammed with your host’s initials, is ideal for gathering veggies at the local farmers market, or for filling with books at the Lenox Library’s popular annual book sale.
Buy it: $55 at L.L. Bean
Fire Island Timeshare
Delaware County Farmhouse
It wouldn’t be a farmhouse without a big farm table. Get your hosts cheery classic tableware, like Kim Seybert’s gingham cocktail napkins and a bright geranium-print oilcloth tablecloth from the Vermont Country Store.
Buy it: $20 for 6 at Neiman Marcus; from $45 at Vermont Country Store
Jersey Shore Seaside Shack