July 29, 2022 Tips
A Guide to Outdoor Dining + Tablescapes
The summers are not so long in the Hudson Valley, so we do our best to take advantage of them while we can. One of our favorite ways to enjoy the weather this season offers is to gather outside for a shared meal. Whether it’s a picnic for two or a full table for eight, we love the way the outdoor landscape and light enhances a meal, and complimenting it with a nice tablescape.
By Chrissy Lifton
For your table linens:
Summer is the perfect time to add a pop of color to your tabletop! You can start with a neutral base, like we discussed in our Building your Tabletop Collection journal. Add in a colorful Sol Runner in Cobalt or Hibiscus or a set of our Grid Napkins in Gold to add a summery element to your collection.
Summer is also one of the best times to support our local farmers and celebrate the bounty grown in this region. Take advantage of the food and flora local to you through buying from local farmers, foraging, or of course, harvesting if you’ve done some of your own growing! Adding these local elements not only celebrates the abundance around us and connect us to place, but is so (!) much more delicious, and adds a special dimension to our gatherings.
Some of our favorite places in the area to shop for a dinner party:
- Talbott and Arding in Hudson for cheeses and olives
- Cheezehound for delicious vegan cheeses made in the Catskill mountains—available at Mother Earth’s in Kingston or her shop in Livingston Manor which will open in August 2022 (!!)
- Grapefruit Wines in Hudson for natural wines
- Montgomery Farmstand or Hudson Farmers Market for produce
- Kingston Bread for the best bread!
Shared meals do not have to be elaborate! Better yet, serve something that can be eaten room temp, or even self-assembled. One of summer’s easiest and most delicious meals is a classic tomato-mozzerella-basil-pesto sandwich on good baguette. Throw together a quick summer salad and you’ve got yourself a meal! Try shredded greens like cabbage and kale, any shredded summer veggies like carrots, maybe some bitter greens like radicchio or dandelion, topped with a simple lemon/olive oil vinegarette and some toasted nuts and seeds (just ask about food allergies!).
Just-picked strawberries and cream (coconut or regular) are always a perfect easy summer dessert.
For cocktails, adding fresh summer herbs is a great way to punctuate the season. Try adding some of your leftover basil to your favorite summer drink! And for a special addition, our Wooden Spoon herbal tinctures work beautifully in cocktails.
The last details:
For decorating the table, forage! Keep a pair of clippers in your car and keep an eye out for what’s growing all around you. Tigerlillies grow everywhere in July in the Hudson Valley, along with Queen Anne’s lace and yarrow. Supporting local flower farmers at the farmer’s market, Flowerkraut in Hudson, or Hops Petunia in Kingston is always a reliably beautiful option as well!