Post Wedding Shower

Thanksgiving Eve Gathering

Mansion in May

Wallpaper

Repair Months

Christmas 2009

Side Chairs

Fall Arrival 2009

The Beach House

A Casual Dinner Party

The Peonies Arrival

A Summer Dinner Party Table Setting

With longer days upon us coupled with beautiful weather, entertaining in the early summer takes on an almost ethereal feeling. The landscape is lush with leafy trees, the lawn thick and green, and the hedges neatly trimmed. Local farms begin to carry their fresh bounty, and cutting flowers establish themselves front and sentry in the garden.

My first party of the summer was a casual dinner party with cocktails on the patio, followed by dinner on the main terrace at Hidden Pond Farm. The 70-year-old terrace is laid with hand-cut, oversized bluestone and has rich green moss growing in between the 1-inch spaces of the stone. There are eight waist-high Italian terra cotta pots placed on the terrace—four planted with boxwood, four featuring a heady mixture of ivy, ferns and agapanthus—that lend a soothing drama to the space.

I set a 16-foot rectangular table upon the bluestone and laid a long burlap cloth over the table, the cloth gently grazing the ground while bleached wooden bamboo chairs and tan linen cushions completed the nature-inspired schematic. To further carry out the theme I played on contrast and texture: The contrasts of the rough fabric on the table, the heavy jagged edges of the stone terrace, the clear crystal of the glassware and the glass-globed torches along the edge of the terrace that sparkled at nightfall.

I used Creamware buffet plates, wooden-handled flatware, beige linen napkins and very simple yet elegant crystal stemware. Three zinnia pots were spaced in thirds down the center of the table. The brightly green tied party favors of recipe books and gummy bears were placed on each setting for the guests to take home.

We had 18 dinner guests ranging in age from 11- to 62-years-old, and asked that guests arrive at 5 p.m. to enjoy the early-evening air. Over champagne, pink lemonade and ice-cold beer, the adults watched the younger children toss a lacrosse ball and stage races across the lush lawn.

The menu was simple, fresh and well prepared. Men gravitated to watching the porterhouse steaks sizzle on the grill, while the ladies chatted at the table. We toasted to the joy of close friends and families, sharing in the delight of the advent of the new summer season.

Ingredients:

    Guest List
  • Friends with children of the same ages who had been to school since kindergarten
    Setting
  • Formal terrace with sweeping lawn overlooking hay fields
  • Tall oak, black walnut and chestnut trees
  • Carefully edged garden beds
    Tabletop
  • A burlap table cloth, interlined with a thick felt “bump” to lend weight and softness
  • Creamware buffet plates
  • Crystal stemware (washed and hand dried)
  • Three full multicolored bunches of garden zinnias placed in cement, low-pedestal baskets running down the table
    Food
  • Crisp tossed green salad
  • Grilled Porterhouse Steak
  • Dilled potato salad
  • Macaroni and Cheese
  • Asaparagus
  • Corn bread
    Party favors (tied with bright green grosgrain ribbon)
  • Summer recipe books for the ladies
  • Gummy bears for the children

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