Friday, June 21

How to Welcome Summer Weekend Guests

Being a good host is something of a lost art. Balancing the roles of tour guide, innkeeper, cook and friend - while still managing to have fun yourself - can be challenging, to say the least. Make visiting friends and family feel at home, and ease the burden on yourself, this summer with a little extra preparation. Read on for a few ways to welcome Summer guests, and make weekend visits more fun.

Provide a grab-and-go breakfast station. Take a cue from hotels and keep breakfast cereals, muffins, bagels and other essentials together on the counter for early risers. Give guests a quick kitchen tour the night before so they can get their morning coffee or tea without waiting for you. Make it extra-special by leaving a bowl of fruit salad and a plate of meat and cheese in your fridge. It's a nice touch that doesn't take much extra effort.

Set a casual tone. My father-in-law told me once that it didn't look like anyone lived in our home. For my OCD-spirit, this was wonderful news, however, when guests come to stay I want my home to be more accessible and less like a museum. I'm not saying you shouldn't clean and straighten up a bit before guests arrive, but keeping things as close to the usual state of things around the house will help put your guests at ease. 

Prep your front porch. It's the first thing guests see, after all, so make sure it is well lit, freshly swept and outfitted with clean cushions and green plants.

Stock your guest bedroom and bathroom with the essentials. Clean sheets and extra  towels are a no-brainer, but try adding a few of these extras to take your guest to the next level:
  • iPod dock with speakers and/or small TV
  • Alarm clock
  • If possible provide an Internet connection
  • An assortment of magazines
  • The latest best seller
  • An electric tea kettle/coffee pot
  • Breath mints and gum
  • Small basket with sample-size toiletries
  • New toothbrush and razor
  • A small can of hairspray
  • Earplugs
  • A fluffy, clean robe and pair of slippers
  • Bottled water or their favorite drink
  • Local travel guide with a list of activities and a map
  • Place an over-stuffed arm chair in the corner of the room
  • A small writing desk
  • An extra blanket and small oscillating fan - your guest may not be comfortable with your AC or lack of one.

Make young guests feel at home. Make the stay in a new place easier on little ones by making their bed bright, fresh and inviting. If you have a beloved teddy bear add him to their bed along with anything else you think they will enjoy. Be sure to ask parents of young children in advance if there is anything you can have ready for them — borrowing a high chair from a friend, for instance, means the grownups can pack lighter.

Allow for downtime. It's all too easy to fall into the trap of over-planning activities for weekend guests. Having a few tentative outings or projects on the agenda can be helpful, but avoid the urge to fill every last second. Most guests will really appreciate some blocks of unstructured time to relax, chat, read, nap or even venture out on their own.

Give guests a job in the kitchen. When dinnertime rolls around, feel free to have guests pitch in with a few simple tasks in the kitchen. Ask them to fill tea glasses with ice, choose the music, prep greens for a salad or set the table, and soon your visitors will be feeling right at home.

Eat alfresco. Eating outdoors makes food tastier, conversation livelier and people more relaxed. Even if you don't have an outdoor table, consider carrying your kitchen table outside for the evening. It will make for a memorable night.

Provide old-school entertainment. With the over-saturation of high-tech gadgets in our lives these days, it can feel really refreshing, and even indulgent, to unplug for an afternoon. Play board games or cards, work on a big puzzle, read, talk, go for a walk, ride bikes or swim.

Fill bags with outing essentials. I love the idea of keeping bags by the door, ready to go for typical outings. You could have a beach bag with sunscreen, towels and spare sunglasses, or a picnic basket with blankets, cutlery and unbreakable dishes. Just grab the appropriate tote and head out!

Reconnect at the end of the day. Even if you and your visitors part ways during the day, it can be nice to regroup and kick back together at the end of the day. Make a ritual of carrying snacks and beverages into the backyard or onto the porch and sharing stories from your day.

Put yourself in the shoes of your guests, it can be difficult to stay in a home when you have needs and are on vacation but don’t want to be an imposition to the host. Think and plan ahead to make your Summer guests feel welcomed and relaxed in your home....'ll be glad ya did!


1 comment:

  1. Who has been able to sample the various services on this list and can be able to pick out the best one?
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