For many Americans, summer means a chance to head to the beach -- from Myrtle Beach to the Jersey Shore to Cape Cod and Martha's Vineyard. Beach house life offers the chance to escape normal routine, whether for a day, a week or a longer stretch of time. Some people buy a vacation home to take full advantage of the season. Others in need of a more temporary retreat sign up for a beach rental or crash at a friend's shore house.
This summer we're bringing you an insider look at life on the shore. Each week writer Susan MacCallum-Whitcomb will report on summer beach house life from her vacation home on Pictou Island, Nova Scotia. Follow along for a glimpse of the shore, plus tips on what to pack, how to entertain guests and how to relax at your own beach house.