The long days of summer have me daydreaming of homemade ice cream, fireflies, and sparklers. Danny and I enjoyed working with Southern Living magazine on this photoshoot of our Guntersville lake house all dressed for July 4th. What will you be doing for the Fourth this year? Is your outdoor space ready to celebrate with you?
Danny and I look forward to spending the steamy weekends of July on Lake Guntersville where the pleasant breezes and lapping shoreline cool things down and slow our busy lives to a restful pace. To us, July 4 is Inaugural Day for summer. We declare our independence and take the beautiful drive through trees, fields, and mountain views to our retreat home for a weekend of eating, reading, and boating. Cue fireworks!
Half the fun is breaking out the red, white, and blue to dress our favorite outdoor spaces. Since food and conversation will be the primary focus, I begin with the outdoor furniture. Red and white striped weather-resistant cushions and blue and white chevron accent pillows give instant gratification with a pop of festive flair and the sweet promise of lazy afternoons and sparkling sunsets. We’ve had those cushions for years, and it’s amazing the memories that come out of storage with them.
Since the boathouse is our “front door” from the lakeside, we hang flags and bunting to greet our boating friends. This is a great way to connect with the lake community in the spirit of patriotism. Even our vintage Chris-Craft runabout has a flag to fly.
Because the Fourth is a little happier with a festive drink in hand, we stock the indoor and outdoor bars with good wine and mixers. Knowing our lovely pauses of quietude will be punctuated by bursts of family, friends, laughter, and storytelling, there’s no such thing as too much lemonade for the children in our lives. For the grownups, Danny will be serving his signature frozen margaritas. Danny is known for his boisterous invitation, “For a good time, come on over to Beverly’s boathouse,” but what he really means is come have one of his margaritas. I highly recommend them. Here’s his recipe.
Note: For this recipe, the can from the frozen margarita mix is the measuring cup.
1 can frozen margarita mix
1 can tequila
1/2 can triple sec
Pour all ingredients into a blender.* Add ice. Blend and serve.
*Danny uses his margarita machine, but your blender will do fine.
Just a few broad stripes and bright stars go a long way in decorating, so once our colors are flying, there’s plenty of time to put thought into the food and how it will be served. For our Fourth of July table this year, I think my Abigails dimpled glass bowls will be beautiful for serving dips and salsas because their watery edges and reflective glass echo the surface of the lake. And, not only will my Abigails green Bali dishes give a summery nod to green lawns and watermelon rinds, but they will beautifully display anything that comes off Danny’s grill. And, while I’m on the subject of food, I have to share my sister’s mango salsa and guacamole recipes to help you get your own party started.
3 mangos, peeled and diced
4-7 colored peppers, minced
1 jalapeno, minced
2-3 green onions, chopped
1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped
Sriracha (as needed for additional heat)
Juice of 1/2 lime
1/2 c. apricot preserves (or 1/4 c. brown sugar)
Mix all ingredients…taste…adjust and enjoy!
Serve with chips or as a condiment to fish or chicken.
3 avocados – peeled, pitted, and mashed
1 lime – juiced (approx. 1 Tbsp)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp. cayenne
1/2 c. onion diced
1/2 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
1/2 medium tomato diced (or 10 grape tomatoes cut into quarters)
1/4 c. fresh cilantro, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
Toss avocado pulp and lime juice in a medium bowl.
Add salt and cayenne.
Mash with potato masher or fork.
Fold in the onions, jalapeño, tomatoes, cilantro, and garlic
Serve and enjoy!
Whatever your plans for the Fourth, I hope you’ll find a way to recognize all the blessings we enjoy as Americans. We’ve been given much, and we have much to give. When the fireworks begin this year, I’ll say a prayer of thanksgiving and raise one of Danny’s margaritas to a nation where more than 40 years ago, I was free as a woman to build a thriving business and pursue my dream of helping others make their homes and lives more beautiful.
Happy 4th of July!
~ Beverly Farrington