Vacation House Gift Guide: Thank-you presents for summer hosts that'll guarantee a return invite

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An invite to a friend's vacation house is the ultimate score: You're guaranteed a weekend respite from the city in the company of those you actually like, and at no cost. Reasons enough to not arrive empty-handed, even if your hosts expect no gifts and tell you not to bring anything besides your ready-for-fun self. Provided you're on your best behavior while you're there — for pointers, check out our guide on how to be a great holiday guest  — these gifts, which fit all sorts of budgets (and go beyond the usual bottle of wine), will ensure that your friends know how happy you are to be included—and how much you'd love to a return offer. 

Your buddies don't have to be from Brooklyn to appreciate the humor in this pair of borough-specific salt-and-pepper shakers. You may even score extra points if their city apartment is actually in Brooklyn. Brooklynese "Sawlt & Peppa" Pair, Fishs Eddy, $15.95

How fitting to gift Hamptonites (or should we say East Egg-ites?) with a tote bearing the iconic cover of F. Scott Fitzgerald's classic. Throw in a copy of the tome itself if theirs is well-loved and well-thumbed. The Great Gatsby Tote Bag, Book Culture, $18

Why stop at shakers? Even for those who love to cook, gourmet salts can still be too decadently priced for a splurge. Take the guilt out of this guilty cooking pleasure by gifting your host with a container or two. Jacobsen Salt Co. Italian White Truffle Salt, Williams-Sonoma, $24.95 (salt alone) or $44.95 (salt and a clay cellar)

A six-pack of beer is a fairly safe bet; better yet, throw in a gorgeous brass bottle opener that actually works — sourced from a bespoke Williamsburg boutique, no less — and you have yourself the perfect present. Roll Bottle Opener, Beam, $30

Aprons aren't simply utilitarian anymore. Help your hosts make a sartorial statement — and keep splatters off outfits — with a stylish pocketed (great for stashing kitchen implements) apron. Lotta Jansdotter Kitchen Apron, Duncan and York via Shoptiques, $32

Start the weekend right with a cocktail or two, courtesy of you. This bottle, distilled in East Williamsburg (buy local!), will keep everyone in good spirits. Owney's New York City Rum, Astor Wines and Spirits, $34.99

As scented candles go, Diptyque is spendy. But there's a reason this Parisian import is a gift-giving classic: Its fragrance oozes French chic, and its candles last forever. This lavender-scented version will transport you to the fields of Provence, a journey that can only be bested by an actual trip there. (Pick another present if your hosts are actually inviting you to the south of France. Also, lucky you!) Diptyque Feuille de Lavande Candle, Barney's, $60 

Toasters are usually kitchen after-thoughts; buy a basic one and you're done. Why not up the ante for your hosts with a Smeg toaster that'll match their kitchen color scheme? They'll be reminded of your thoughtfulness for years—Smeg is known for high-style appliances that are durable, too. Smeg two-slice toaster, West Elm, $139.95


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