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Author Hannah McKinnon's Beach Bag Staples for the Lakeside Author-Mom

I double dog dare you to take a peek inside my beach bag. No, really. As a young family heading to the beach, we pack to stay. Whether it be gear or snack supplies, we tote enough provisions to sustain an Everest climbing crew of eight. Plus two Sherpas.

Sunscreen: My girls and I are fair-skinned blondies, so we don’t mess around. Add to that, allergy-prone.  We love zinc-based sunscreens with SPF 30 or higher. Don’t forget to reapply every two hours- by the time everyone’s finally caught and covered, you’ll have about thirty minutes before the next go-around.

Lip Balm: Eos lip balms are super cute, natural, and smell like berries. What’s better than a berry kiss at the beach?

Sunglasses & Hats: having seen the bottom-end of a toddler crushing down on them, my Ray-Bans have seen better days. But I love the classic look and polarized protection for our blue eyes. For sun coverage, the kids favor Black Dog baseball caps. For me, it’s usually my straw cowboy hat.

Sand toys: if we’re on the Cape, we grab our crab nets. If we’re home by the lake, we sport our goggles. Luckily, pink-haired mermaids go everywhere! Leave room for rocks. Or more accurately, small boulders. The littlest people in your clan typically mine the largest rocks. And yes, you will be hauling them home in that bag of yours.

Snacks: sandwiches are always packed, but usually end up full of just that- sand. We also throw in fresh fruit, chips, granola bars, and a big bag of sliced watermelon. And if the watermelon is a pool of pink mush by day’s end? Margaritas! (By the time you unpack at home, you’ll need one!)

A great beach book: A beach towel is naked without a good book. Grab a copy of THE LAKE SEASON! I don’t get much down time watching my girls in the water, but when the ice cream truck pulls in, toss them some change and grab your book. Dig into a chapter while the kids dig into their ice cream. A really good chapter may call for seconds!

Hannah McKinnon graduated from Connecticut College and the University of South Australia. She lives in Fairfield County, Connecticut, with her family, a flock of chickens, and two rescue dogs.

About The Lake Season

Set in the weeks leading up to an idyllic New England wedding, this “enticing and refreshing” (Nancy Thayer, New York Times bestselling author) novel sparkles with wry wit, sweet romance, and long-kept family secrets.

Iris Standish has always been the responsible older sister: the one with the steady marriage, loving family, and sensible job. But this summer, as her carefully-constructed life spins out of her control, a cryptic postcard from her beautiful, free-spirited sister Leah arrives at the perfect time: Please Come. Iris seizes her chance to escape to her childhood lakeside home, where Leah is planning her wedding to a man their New Hampshire clan has never met.

Still, despite the rush of dress fittings, floral arrangements, and rehearsal dinners, Iris is learning to put herself first. And amid a backdrop of late-night swims and a soul-restoring barn renovation comes Cooper Woods, an old friend who beckons with the promise of a new start.

But Leah has secrets of her own, and while her sister faces a past that has finally caught up to her, Iris prepares to say good-bye to a future that is suddenly far from certain. As Hampstead Lake shimmers in the background, Iris must decide when to wade in cautiously and when to dive—and, ultimately, how to ferry herself to safe harbors in this enticing novel of sisters, second chances, and the ties that bind.

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