Best Ways to Enjoy Summer

21 ideas to make the most of summer, from finding the ultimate beach reads to making a lobster roll.

The Best Way to Catch Fireflies
David TsayDavid Tsay
How? With womanly wiles: "Fireflies blink to attract a mate," explains naturalist Lynn Havsall, director of programs at the George B. Dorr Museum of Natural History, in Bar Harbor, Maine. "Males fly around while females sit in trees, in shrubs, or on the ground. So find a female and watch her blinking pattern. Then imitate the pattern with a pen flashlight and the males will come to you."

A plus: The bugs move slowly, so they're easy to trap in a jar. Punch some holes in the lid and add a little grass and a piece of fruit for moisture. Admire your pretty night-lights till bedtime, then let them go.

Also See: Summer Party Planner

The Best Way to Get In and Out of a Hammock
Everyone looks good lazing in a hammock―it's getting in and out that's tricky. To make it less so, try these tips from Penny Waugh, a buyer for Ditte IsagerDitte Isager

-Position your backside toward the hammock's center and tilt back until you reach a 45-degree angle, with the hammock parallel to your rear.

-Gently sit back into the hammock and let it level out.

-Swing your legs up and stretch them out.

-Lie back. Loll. Sigh contentedly. For a graceful exit, sit upright and swing your legs off, anchoring your feet on the ground. Then push with your behind, gathering momentum to stand. "It's tricky, since there's nothing to hold on to," says Waugh. "But it's good for the glutes."

Also See: Ten Summer Hazards

The Best Way to Make a Traditional Lobster Roll
The Morrisons of Morrison's Maine Chowder House, in Freeport, Maine, have been hauling in their catch for more than 100 years. Steal their formula for the perfect lobster roll:
Elizabeth ZeschinElizabeth Zeschin
-Use the freshest lobster meat you can find. Ask your local fish store when its lobsters are delivered.

-Get a freshly baked New England-style hot-dog bun. Unlike a typical roll, this is split on the top and white on the sides, not crusty. (New England split-top rolls, $18 for twelve,

-Butter both sides of the bun, then grill each side (like a grilled cheese sandwich).

-Line the roll with lettuce for crunch (iceberg does the trick), then fill with lobster. Morrison's lets the succulent meat speak for itself, but some prefer a little mayo on the side.

-Open mouth. Insert heaven.

Also See: Mouthwatering Summer Ingredients

The Best Way to Stargaze
Channel your inner Copernicus with these celestial suggestions from astronomer Michael Smutko, Ph.D., of Chicago's Adler Planetarium.
Richard FelberRichard Felber

-Download and print a sky chart from (click on "Interactive Sky Chart") for the date and your location.

-Since summer weather tends to be humid and hazy, try to get to drier, higher ground for a clear view. "The desert is wonderful, and the mountains are also good," Smutko says. "But a dark spot away from streetlights will do just fine."

-To see planets, start in the early evening. In the summer, Venus appears prominently in the western horizon right after sunset, and Jupiter is the second brightest object in the evening sky―just look south.

-When it's dark, use your sky chart to help identify the Ursa Major (Big Bear) constellation. Start with the Big Dipper―a subgroup in Ursa Major―which looks like a big pot or a ladle. The front edge of the pot points to Polaris, the North Star.

Also See: 21 Great Summer Books

The Best Way to Cut Jeans into Shorts
What better way to declare the start of summer? The key to cutting off jeans is not to go too short too soon.
David TsayDavid Tsay
Slip on the jeans and mark the desired length on one leg with chalk. "Take them off, fold the leg at the mark, and iron the fold," says Caroline Calvin, creative director of Levi's. "Then cut just under the crease with fabric scissors. Lay the short jean leg on top of the other side and cut to evenly match." Repeat as needed to get the length you want. Ninety-degree days? Bring 'em on!

Also See: Easy Summer Fashion

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