How to Have the Perfect Summer


HOW TO// CATCH A FISH
Bay State sportfishing doesn't get any bigger or better than the hunt for striped bass. Local anglers scour the coast for lucky
locations to reel them in. And reel 'em in you must. “It's the biggest sport fish within reasonable distance of the shore, and it puts up a great fight,” says Scott Terry, a commercial fisherman on Martha's Vineyard.

To catch a 50-pound striper this summer, you'll need a few things —
fortitude, good fortune, and a 30-pound line and circle hook among
them. The half-hours before and after sunrise and sunset are prime
fishing time. Search out the most turbulent water around the shore —
waves, rocks, and rip tides — which is where striped bass feed.
Menhaden, eels, and herring are the best bait, though a swimming plug
lure will also work.

The bass come close to the shore at night, so if you want to cast
your line during daylight hours, you'll need a boat. Troll at depths of
40 to 60 feet, using a 50-pound wire line. Trial and error will lead
you to the best offshore locations, Terry says, but less patient
amateurs can simply sidle up to commercial boats fishing the
not-so-secret hot spots. Sure, you'll annoy the pros, but you'll also
guarantee yourself a striper or two. And by the way, unless you're
planning to go into the biz, you're limited by law to two fresh catches
per day. — John Wolfson

HOW TO//COOK A FISH

So you got lucky and landed a striped bass. The good news: You're
the envy of all your fishing friends. The bad news: You've got a heavy,
slippery piece of seafood on your hands. Fortunately for you, New
England stripers don't have to be gutted. These steps will start you on
your way to a fantastically filleted fish.

Lay the bass on its side and make a deep incision along the line of the gills, straight down to the bone.

Turn your knife horizontally and, using a sawing motion, move it
from head to tail, slicing the fillet away from the bones. Keep the
knife as flat as possible and make sure you can always hear the bones
under the knife. (It will make a soft zhujing sound.)

Repeat on the other side. — Jane Black

Pan-fried striped bass with tomato-corn salsa

Serves 2

2 8-oz. Striped bass fillets

1 ear corn, cooked, with kernels sliced off cob

2 ripe tomatoes, seeded and diced

2 tbsp. diced red onion

c. cilantro

2 tbsp. lime juice

2 tbsp. butter

1 tbsp. olive oil

salt and pepper

1. Combine corn, tomatoes, red onion, lime juice, and chopped
cilantro and season to taste with salt and pepper. 2. Season fish
fillets with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil. 3. Heat butter
in a large pan over medium heat until bubbling. 4. Sauté fillets, skin
side down, for about four minutes until flesh turns opaque. Turn
fillets over and cook for one minute. 5. Remove to a platter. Top with
salsa and serve.

HOW TO//FIND A LAST-MINUTE WEEKEND RENTAL

At some point every summer, recycled office air and claustrophobic
cubicles overwhelm even the most earnest of employees, and the summer
sunshine beckons. But finding a peak-season weekend rental without
months of planning takes a miracle, right? Not so. Reservation services
affiliated with inns, guesthouses, B&Bs, hotels, and condo rentals
up and down the coast are happy to do the work for you — so last-minute
plans don't have to mean last-choice options (as in, you, your spouse,
and all three kids sleeping in the same room).

Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket Reservations owner Barbara St.
Pierre offers hope to every last-minute traveler — even those Vineyard
optimists who contact her at 5 p.m. for lodging for that same evening.
“There's always something that happens at the last minute,” she says.
“Nothing is ever really sold out.” She makes no promises for the
ferries, but if you're a weekend warrior so spontaneous you've already
missed the last one, St. Pierre will find you a place in Woods Hole so
you can be first on the beach the next morning. — Blythe Copeland

Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket Reservations, 508-693-7200,
mvreservations.com; Cape Cod Travel, capecodtravel.com/golodging; Bed
& Breakfast Reservations (North Shore/Greater Boston/Cape Cod),
617-964-1606, bbreserve.com.

HOW TO//SURVIVE A NUDE BEACH

Unless you're European, nude beaches are as alien an environment as
Uranus. And while some believe a world gone au naturel would be a
veritable Garden of Eden, it would also sport seriously awkward
sunburns. When “where the sun don't shine” becomes irrelevant, take
extra care with the Coppertone.

A word of advice for men: If you're not particularly gifted, avoid
standing next to fire hoses, elephants, or the Washington Monument. And
cold, waist-deep water is only your friend until you step out of it.

For women: Ever feel self-conscious about your body? Uh-huh. Also,
ever want your picture on the Internet? Done. — Andrew Rimas

Although nude bathing is illegal in the Cape Cod National Seashore,
the rule is overlooked in a few secluded spots in Province-town and
between Long Nook Beach and Ballston Beach on the ocean side in Truro.
Also, Moshup Beach on Martha's Vineyard and an adjacent area of
Miacomet Beach in Nantucket have traditionally offered nude bathing out
of sight of the “textile” areas.

A Wasted Summer

A season of carousing leads to clarity. By Bill Simmons

In the summer of '96, I felt like an abandoned car — the kind with
six orange tickets stuck to the windshield, four broken windows, and no
tires to be seen. I was stripped. An aspiring sports columnist, I had
left a Boston newspaper in March after realizing it would take 10 years
to become the backup Bruins beat writer. Since no magazines would hire
me and Al Gore hadn't really perfected the Internet yet, I had no
options, no contacts, no leads, no money, and no idea what I was doing
with my life. I was lost. Totally, completely lost.

Desperate for money, I started bartending in Charlestown. I ended up
doing the restaurant/bar routine all summer — woke up at noon, worked
past midnight, stayed out partying until 3 a.m., spent cash like
Monopoly money — and it was the best thing that could have happened to
me. Everyone was lost, everyone just wanted to have fun, everyone was
engaging, and every night was more interesting than the last. I started
dating a curly-haired waitress who was just as screwed up as me;
somehow she was the perfect fit. All my new friends were running from
something, or patching their lives back together after their original
dreams didn't work out. Looking back, we were like the stranded
passengers on Lost : unsure of how we ended up there, but
feeling like there must have been a reason. Sometimes we ended up
stumbling back to an apartment in the wee hours, where someone would
invariably produce a bong and a bottle of wine pilfered from our
restaurant. And we would shoot the shit until the sun came up,
eventually passing out, waking up at 1 p.m., and starting the whole
process all over again. It was like buying an entire new family on
eBay.

The inherent danger of the restaurant business is that you could
look up from a drunken, smoky haze one morning and realize that three
years just passed, that the carpe diem mentality had
sidetracked the course of your life. Fortunately for me, that never
happened. Within a year, I was able to give writing one more shot, and
things eventually worked out for me. But it never would have happened
without the Summer of '96. Sometimes, to follow your dreams, you just
need to give up and start from scratch.

Bill Simmons is the Sports Guy for ESPN The Magazine and espn.com.

The Summer of Grub

Coming of age on a California commune. By Steve Almond

During the summer of 1971, my parents packed me and my twin brother,
Mike, into their aging Volvo wagon and headed for the hills. Our
destination was a sheep ranch in Sonoma, where a dozen couples hoped to
launch a commune called the Land.

The plan was for the group to build a large dwelling. There was a
cow for milking, chickens to provide eggs, and a garden. The women
would learn to weave. The children would play together. Life would be
simpler, more spontaneous, and cooperative.

To a four-year-old from the suburbs, the Land was an incredibly
weird, exhilarating place. Kids ran around naked. Women went topless.
The fresh milk poured onto my bowl of corn flakes contained tiny chunks of cream (the horror!). The source of this offending milk, a recalcitrant cow named Janis, later stomped on my foot.

My memories of the place are intense, if fragmentary. I remember a
woman named Robin taking me down to Austin Creek to fish, and returning
a giant, caviar-filled trout. I remember someone giving me a Jew's
harp. I was fascinated by how it felt to pluck it, and the way my teeth
reverberated as I twanged along to “American Pie.”

But the episode that best sums up that summer took place one night
after dinner. My mother had put Mike and me in a bath and gone to fetch
towels. We heard footsteps in the hall and looked up to find a man we
called Big John (there was also a Little John) standing in the doorway.

Big John gazed at us and smiled. “It sure looks nice in there.”

“It is!” Mike told him. “Would you like to take a bath with us?”

Big John nodded shyly, then proceeded to climb into the tub with us,
all 6-foot-4 of him, and we splashed happily, his jeans staining the
bath water brown, until our mother returned. The look on her face was
one of immeasurable dismay. She knew what we did not: that Big John was
in the midst of an intense acid trip.

Be that as it may, it now strikes me as wonderful human gesture:
impractical, ill-advised even, but undertaken in the spirit of honest
communion — like the hippie era itself.

I still miss the Land.

Steve Almond is the author of three books, including Candyfreak and My Life in Heavy Metal. He lives in Somerville.

HOW TO//KITEBOARD

“It takes three things to enjoy kiteboarding's thrills,” the
International Kiteboarding Organization promises: “Water . . . wind . .
. and you!”

If only it were so simple. After gathering the above elements,
novices are still saddled with anxieties such as, Should you ride a
directional? How do you relaunch your big kite? How do you fix a
bladder? How do you curl into the fetal position when gripped by fear
out on the water? All of which are important questions; none of which
we are qualified to answer. So we asked a pro.

“You start with a trainer kite — it's easy,” says Jim Ballantyne of
Sailworld Cape Cod. “You learn how to fly it out on a field. Then you
use your imagination with roller skates, skateboard, whatever, to pull
you along. After that, you take lessons with a school. That's about it.
It's very easy.”

Really?

“You have to be a good swimmer in good shape,” Ballantyne concedes.
“Most people are usually relatively athletic. It's very dangerous,
though.”

Hmm. — John Gonzalez

For information on how to kiteboard, visit kitesurfingboston.com or contact Sailworld Cape Cod at 508-759-6559.

HOW TO//PICK UP SOMEONE ON THE ESPLANADE

There's only one accessory that counts in the Esplanade icebreaker
game, and it comes with poop baggies. Dogs are masters at initiating
conversation — they're shameless flirts — and just owning one proves
you're sensitive and responsible.

Different dogs are bait for different singles. Men who wish to lure
preppy girls should play it conservative: Bring a golden retriever
(neutered), its rabies tag clearly visible. The Sports Club/LA hotties
need something athletic but rarefied; try a Rhodesian ridgeback or an
Alaskan malamute. Gay men may appreciate the statement made by either a
Rottweiler or a bichon frisé, but be sure it's kennel standard.
Terriers can attract Scotsmen. And chunky frat boys like bulldogs,
while hippies appreciate anything in a bandana. — A.R.

HOW TO// COOK CORN

The French like their maize creamed, puréed, or souffléd. They think
corn on the cob should be fed to pigs. But those gurus of gastronomy
have another think coming. Corn can be cooked on the cob and still
taste spectacular. Here's what Francophiles are regrettably forgoing:

Sweet Boiled: Submerge the husked ears in a large pot of water and
add 1 tablespoon each of sugar and salt. Boil for five minutes and
serve immediately.

GRILLED: Tuck slices of butter into unhusked ears and place them on
a hot grill. Cook for about 15 minutes until husks are blackened on all
sides. Remove husks from corn (wear oven gloves!). Serve with butter
and salt.

ROASTED: Place each husked ear on two pieces of heavy-duty aluminum
foil. Spread with softened butter and sprinkle with your choice of
seasonings. Seal corn completely in foil and lay on a grill. Turn
packages every minute or so and cook for about 10 minutes. (If you're
in a hurry, throw the corn directly onto the hot coals for about six
minutes.) — J.B.

HOW TO//SURVIVE A ROAD TRIP WITH KIDS

Game Boys, cheesy crackers, emotional trauma. These are the pillars
of the family road trip. And while pillow fights and wedgies may be
inevitable, there are some strategies for parents to weather a
tantrum's brunt.

Be patient. No one ever solved anything by yelling, “I'll turn this
car around! Don't think I won't!” Kids will call your bluff and
blackmail you into stopping at Six Flags. Remember, children are like
North Korea: They're cunning, ruthless, and unafraid of international
sanction.

Be playful. Repetitive games like “Name that Roadkill” or “Spell the
Central Asian Capitals” are ideal for distracting bored young minds.
Avoid more-incendiary games like “Stupid Says What?” and “Let's Count
the Reasons Why My Sibling Is a Troll.”

Be parsimonious. Dole out treats one at a time, and only when the
rumpus becomes intolerable. That way the kids will learn the valuable
lesson that whining works.

Be prolix. Nothing sedates the back seat quicker than a dose of
education. Discuss the history of the area, or its geological
formation. A good starting point might be, “You may be wondering why
this rest stop is named after Clara Barton,” or, “Do you know what's
cooler than Pokémon? Glaciation.”

Be paranoid. Yes, they are plotting against you. — A.R.

HOW TO//BEAT CAPE COD TRAFFIC

There's no greater buzzkill for Cape-bound cruisers than coming to a
screeching halt 10 miles before the Sagamore Bridge. Follow these tips
to avoid getaway gridlock.

Start out early. Very, very early. “Thursdays are becoming the
heaviest afternoon ride down to the Cape,” says Cindy Campbell of
SmartRoutes. She suggests leaving on Thursdays before noon.

Go by sea. Bay State Cruise Company (Seaport World Trade Center) and
Boston Harbor Cruises (Long Wharf) cut travel time in half with their
90-minute trips to Provincetown. Both charge $59 round-trip.

Wing it. Cape Air ($195 round-trip, with discount ticket books for
frequent travelers) and US Airways ($380 on average, round-trip) offer
daily flights from Logan to Hyannis. Cape Air also flies to P-town for
$210 round-trip.

Eat and run. Grab some takeout and take advantage of what Campbell
calls the “dinner-hour lull,” after 5 p.m. on Sundays, on the way home.
— Brian Bowen

HOW TO//GET A LIFEGUARD TO NOTICE YOU

Of course you want the lifeguard's attention. Toned, tanned, with
those mysterious dark sunglasses and potential for heroism, this summer
superhero is the catch of the day. Faking a drowning may seem like the
best way to get noticed, but beware: Lifeguards don't find this tactic
particularly appealing, and, besides, a less desirable sunbather in a
Speedo might beat the Baywatchers to it with some sketchy CPR. Instead,
try a strategically placed beach blanket, an out-of-bounds Frisbee
throw, or a catchy line like, “Is it the weather or are you naturally
that hot?” All tickets to some serious on- and off-duty consideration.
— B.C.

HOW TO//HIKE THE WHITES

With 48 peaks higher than 4,000 feet and more than 1,200 miles of
trails, the White Mountains of New Hampshire are legendary for good
reason. To avoid hazards on our hikes, we got practical pointers from
Rob Burbank, a member of the Appalachian Mountain Club's White Mountain
4,000-footer group. Yep, he's climbed all 48. So pay attention.

Plan ahead. Know the weather. Read guides. Buy maps. Talk to people who've hiked the Whites and returned in one piece.

Bring a buddy. “Don't hike alone,” Burbank advises. And always give others your itinerary.

Dress well. Even on gorgeous summer days, the weather can get nasty. Bring layers, including a wind-and-rain-proof outer shell.

Eat, drink, and be merry. Burbank recommends drinking at least two
quarts of water per day. Carry healthy snacks like trail mix and energy
bars, and nibble often to keep fatigue at bay.

Pack smart. Get a backpack that fits you comfortably. Make sure it
has a first-aid kit, light source, matches in a waterproof container,
and extra socks.

Boot up. They should fit well and provide ankle support. Wear wool or synthetic socks.

Choose wisely. For an easy warmup, take the 1-mile route from the
Pinkham Visitor Center to Lost Pond. For a moderate jaunt, try the
3.2-mile hike up and down Mount Willard. And for an advanced path,
allow eight hours to get up Mount Washington on the Boott Spur Trail
and down on the Lion Head Trail. Finally, if you want a hard-core
multi-day experience, try the 23.2-mile (one way!) traverse of the
Presidential Range, and stay overnight in the AMC huts. — Christie
Matheson

For more information, visit outdoors.org or contact Rob Burbank at 603-466-2721.

HOW TO//DIG CLAMS

So you hook your own worms and catch your own fish. You're a natural
in the water. You've even been known to shuck an oyster or two.
Impressive. But the real question — and test of a sea dog — remains:
Can you dig your own clams? We admit we can't, so we enlisted a pro. At
80, Ipswich shellfish constable Phil Kent is as salty as the clam flats
he's in charge of protecting. But after a little prying, he opens up
about how to excavate the world's most famous soft-shell clams.

Buy a shellfishing permit ($20) at Town Hall. The Ipswich town
clerk's office closes at noon on Fridays, so show up early to get a
Saturday permit. Be sure to ask about red tide warnings.

Buy a clam rake. Kent recommends the custom-built jobbies at Tedford's Hardware near the center of town ($42).

Rake at low tide on the mud flats — tiny holes mark the spots where
clams hide — but don't overthink your technique. “Shovel the sand
between your legs,” Kent says.

Before dinner, spend a few hours soaking your robust haul in
saltwater (it gets rid of the grit) and your back in a hot bath
(ditto).

Feeling bent out of shape? Not to worry: your days of graceful
digging are on the horizon. “Not many people work with their hind end
higher than their head,” Kent says. “But you get used to it.” — Francis
Storrs

Ipswich Town Hall, 25 Green St., Ipswich, 978-356-6600; Tedford's Hardware & Lumber, 10 Brown Sq., Ipswich, 978-356-4387.

Down on the Farm

A writer's rural and rustic summer. By Pagan Kennedy

To get to Dennis's farm in western Mass., you bump along a dirt
road, tree branches slapping the windows of your car. About a
quarter-mile into the woods, the road dead-ends in a mini-junkyard of
rusty Volvos and VWs. Nearby sits Dennis's handcrafted farmhouse, a
cowboy palace decorated with rattlesnake skins and posters of prominent
Rastafarians. A tufty green meadow stretches down to the pond, which
is, oddly, equipped with a stove.

Dennis was away during July and August, and needed someone to take
care of his spread. My best friend Liz and I jumped at the chance. We
figured we could be super-productive away from the distractions of
Boston. She was working on a documentary film; I was trying to finish a
book. So we loaded our laptops, fax machines, manuscripts, and floppy
disks into the house.

We managed to stick to our boot camp plan through the first morning.
That afternoon, we each sagged in an inner tube, floating on the tawny
pond. “I feel like I'm stoned,” Liz said.

We discovered that, indeed, the farm itself was a powerful euphoric
drug. You couldn't live there without your mind turning from something
sharp, like a tack, into something soft, like a plate of hash brownies.
Instead of working, we spent hours observing the few farm animals; they
provided cheap, sitcom-ish entertainment, out here beyond the reach of
the TV signal. The sheepdog marched around like Ralph Kramden, growling
bossily and sometimes humping his charges. The sheep moved in a ditsy
and frazzled pack, a bunch of Edith Bunkers.

In August, the plumbing sprang a leak. We walked over to a
neighbor's place. “Don't you know what the cars are for?” he asked,
frowning. “Cut some hose out of one of the engines and use that to
patch up the leak.” That was the moment we truly appreciated the genius
of Dennis's place. It was all one big self-sustaining organism, even
the stuff that looked like junk.

We never managed to fix the leak. Instead, we began pumping our
water by hand from the well so that, by the end of summer, we smelled
of sheep shit and our hair had matted into knots. Bliss.

Pagan Kennedy is the author of seven books, including Black Livingstone and Stripping and Other Stories. She lives in Somerville.

Cabin Fever

Different species meet in the woods. By Stephen McCauley

The real estate agent described it as a cabin on a clear lake by the
Adirondack Park. Seven hours from Boston. Forty-five minutes to the
nearest town. Built entirely from trees logged on the property.

“The family who owns it has a house on the estate,” she said. “They only come up on weekends.”

This was the summer of 1992. In those days, the idea of spending
three months in a remote corner of the Adirondacks was attractive. My
partner, Sebastian, and I sublet our apartment in Cambridge and packed
two typewriters and many boxes of books.

The cabin was dark, but roomier and even more peaceful than we'd expected.

At twilight, the lake turned the color of fire, then deep shades of
green before dimming to silent black. Loon laughter echoed in the
moonlight.

A week after we arrived, the drone of an engine cut the silence. A
plane circled overhead, landed on the water, and pulled up to the dock.
A heavy man in aviators emerged, beer in hand. Half an hour later a
convoy of Jeeps, a pickup truck, and a couple of wagons bounced down
the road.

The owners had arrived.

They'd been expecting a husband and wife, but adjusted. “What the hell,” the patriarch said. “Come to dinner anyway.”

There were three big-boned adult daughters, a college-age son, and a
confusion of spouses. They identified themselves by their vehicles: the
Jeep Cherokee, the Land Rover, the Jet Ski, the plane, the all-terrain
vehicle, the cigarette boat.

Dinner conversation comprised fiercely competitive boasts of accidents:

“I drove off the side of the road in the ATV and went flying down the cliff. Thirty-seven stitches.”

“I got tossed from the back of the boat and sliced my leg open on the outboard.”

“Supposedly, I died for a couple minutes when I hit the tree.”

Every Friday, the plane dropped from the sky and the convoy arrived.
Then the water-skiing competition began. The dodge-'em game on Jet Skis
ensued. Late at night, ATVs raced through the woods.

That summer we planned weekend trips to more-serene and restful places — Montreal, Albany, Manhattan, Schenectady.

Stephen McCauley is the author of The Man of the House and The Object of My Affection. He lives in Cambridge.

HOW TO//HAVE A PERFECT GETAWAY

Single. “, “Being single is no reason
to spend your weekends wallowing. Rather, rejoice in your independence
and plan for some free-form fun.

Round up your best friends, rent a car with a sunroof, and laugh your way down to the Cape and Islands.

Spend the days soaking up sunshine while chatting up various other vacationers.

Sip summer cocktails as ocean breezes lend a magical aura to beach
bars. Try the Chicken Box on Nantucket, where Jimmy Buffett is rumored
to drop in, or the Beachcomber in Wellfleet for dancing and drinks on
the dunes. You might just meet a fellow solo sun-seeker (or decide
you're better off without). — B.C.

Chicken Box, 14 Daves St., Nantucket, 508-228-9717; Beachcomber, 1120 Cahoon Hollow Rd., Wellfleet, 508-349-6055.

“, “

luxury. If you think sleeping on anything less than
400-thread-count sheets is roughing it, you're in luck. Many nearby
resorts are ready to provide your every unnecessary necessity.

Order a limo service for driving distances or a private plane for far-out destinations.

Appreciate amenities such as plush robes and award-winning on-site chefs. Look for Mobil Five-Star or AAA Five-Diamond ratings.

Do it behind closed doors: Even if they don't advertise it, great
destinations provide in-room massages, spa services, and dining.

Choose the ultimate destination. Park Plaza Travel's Nanci Lane recommends the Berkshires' Blantyre and Vermont's Twin Farms.

Remember to book well in advance. Then sit back, accept champagne
from your private butler, and try not to think about the bill. — C.M.

Blantyre, 16 Blantyre Rd., Lenox, 413-637-3556; Twin Farms, Stage Road, Barnard, Vt., 800-894-6327.

“, “

Romantic. What could be more romantic than a
secluded getaway? Not much, so long as you know whether your sweetie
savors surprises or prefers play-by-play itineraries.

Have your honey pack a bag for the weekend, and then whisk him or
her away after work. “Mystery,” says relationship expert Dr. Janice
Levine, “is the key to intrigue and excitement.”

Bring props — lingerie, wine, bubble bath — but leave cell phones and laptops behind.

Choose an inn or B&B that's remote so the focus is on you and
your number one. Avoid resorts that attract kids and families — romance
and tykes don't mix. Snuggle up at Vermont's Blueberry Hill Inn or the
White Barn Inn in Kennebunkport, Maine.

A few days at a retreat might be just what your relationship needs.
Or at least what you need to get out of the doghouse after last year's
camping-in-the-backwoods-but-forgetting-the-tent fiasco. — Julie Suratt

Blueberry Hill Inn, Ripton Road, Goshen, Vt., 800-448-0707; White Barn Inn, 37 Beach Ave., Kennebunkport, Maine, 207-967-2321.

HOW TO//BUILD A SANDCASTLE

Who said artists have to stick to the studio? There's plenty of
sculpting to be done outdoors. Just ask Justin Gordon, the man behind
the Topsfield Fair's 60-ton sand sculptures. Here, the master molder
fills us in on how to structure a sandcastle.

Grab the tools of the trade: a good shovel, bucket, putty knife, melon baller, and funnel.

Squeeze a handful of sand. If it falls apart, you have crummy
material. Head to Gloucester's Good Harbor Beach or Wingaersheek Beach
for castle-grade sand.

Create a mountain of sand and pack it down as hard as you can.

Carve the castle from the top down, and carve deep. Deep details create great shadows and good pictures.

Make a royal forest by dripping watery sand into pointy piles.

Use a straw to blow away excess sand. One crucial caution: Do not suck in.

Watch out for little kids. They like to wreck things. — F.S.

HOW TO//MIX A COOL COCKTAIL

Most mixed-drink maniacs know that making the ultimate blended
beverage takes little more than a frosty glass and some creative
thinking. But for cocktail cynics, help is here from Bomboa bartender
Jennifer Murphy in the form of her cantaloupe�Thai basil concoction.

De-seed and remove the rind of one large ripe cantaloupe. Cut melon into chunks and place in a large pitcher.

Dump in a bottle or two of melon-flavored vodka (Murphy recommends
Skyy) and refrigerate the combined ingredients for up to four days.

Mix the now peach-colored vodka with a splash of lemon juice and two
Thai basil leaves. Add a dash of sugar and several ice cubes.

Shake, strain, and pour straight up or on the rocks.

Take a sip and chill — it's hot outside. — Erin Byers

HOW TO//BUDGET FOR SUMMER

$10.40 : gas to idle for five hours at the Sagamore Bridge

$10.50: one Fenway Frank and one Sam Adams

$11: one visit to a tanning bed to maintain your summer glow

$11.39 : over-the-counter remedies to treat jellyfish stings

$11.88: 48 minutes of iTunes songs to create the perfect playlist for

a road trip with friends to Manchester's Singing Beach

$12: dry-cleaning for your seersucker suit

$29: an upgrade from a standard rental car to a convertible

$29.99: one plastic kiddie pool for backyard bathing

$75: one margarita-induced tattoo (plus at least $75 to have it removed when you wake up the next day)

$ 360: emergency-room visit after a kiteboarding incident

$7,950,000: a waterfront home in Chatham — B.B. and Sarah Parsons