Beach Party Ideas
Glowing Shell Arrangement
You can use oversize shells to bring a touch of the seashore -- and a romantic atmosphere -- to an evening at home. We used "lion's paw" shells (Lyropecten nodosus), available inexpensively from online auctions and souvenir shops. Fill a shallow tray with sand, arrange pairs of your prettiest specimens, and place a votive candle at the center of each pair (leaving room for the flames to flicker safely). Set the tray on a low table, and gather your guests for a drink on the patio.
Light up a table with this sand-and-shell centerpiece. Use candle adhesive to secure slender tapers to the bottom of a clear glass vase. Carefully pour in a few inches of sand, then arrange shells on top. Besides refracting the candlelight for added ambience, the vase will protect the flames from breeze.
A string of beach treasures casts a dreamy glow on a patio or porch. To get the look, decorate a string of small white lights with clean, dry shells.
These charming candles are inspired by the free-form sand candles of the 1960s. Use a variety of sand castle molds to bring the beach to your table.
Beach Bucket Cachepots
Free from gritty sand and briny water, beach pails are pleasing to the eye, with their sturdy proportions and bold palette. So put them to decorative use, on display as cachepots hiding less attractive flowerpots within. Collect your favorites from the local discount store.
Throw a Stove Top Clambake
No need to dig a pit in the sand! Steam lobsters, clams, mussels, shrimp, corn on the cob, potatoes, and chorizo in beer from the comfort of your kitchen for a casual summer dinner party.
Clams on the Half Shell
Raw clams, such as these cherrystones and littlenecks, are easiest to open when they've been chilled for a few hours; the cold relaxes the muscle that keeps them clamped shut. Use a thin-bladed clam knife, which, unlike a pointed oyster knife, has a rounded tip and one sharp side. Serve them on a bed of ice with chilled glasses of rose.
Dress sweet, tender chunks of lobster meat with mayonnaise, lemon juice, and a sprinkling of chives and tarragon to make the irresistible filling for this classic of New England summer dining. Toast the buns in a buttered skillet just before filling them.
Cinnamon-sugar sand and sliced almond adornments transform these lemony sugar cookies into sweet sand dollars.
Store-bought madeleines edged with pink sanding sugar resemble delicately scalloped clam shells. Fill them with strawberry ice cream and serve on a bed of graham cracker "sand."