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Name: Melanie Barger

Family: Surrounded by generations of family in the Golden Isles (nine-95 years old), Jon Phillip and Margaret Spiers; BB, Mac and Mary Banks Shelander; Jim Sr. and Mary Jane Barger; Jim Jr., Burch, James and George Barger; and Joyce and Albert Shelander (Albert at 95 remains active in sales as a thirdrd generation realtor in the Golden Isles).

Years in the Golden Isles: Lifetime, 50+ years

School: Frederica Academy ‘87 Randolph-Macon Woman’s College ‘91 (BA art/biology) University of Illinois at Chicago ‘95 (MAMS biomedical visualization)

Occupation: Realtor

Perfect Saturday in the Golden Isles: Any day is improved with a sunrise beach walk with anyone who will join me (our German Shorthair Pointer “Marsh” is always game). You never know what you may discover – every day there is something new and beautiful and exciting. Some of my best Saturdays have been spent fly fishing the flood tide and skinny water in the creeks with my son Jon Phillip; riding and hanging out at Frederica Stables with my daughter Margaret; or biking from King City to the village, lighthouse, on to Gould’s Inlet with Mary Banks. The perfect way to end the day is with a Barger Oyster Roast overlooking Postell Creek or enjoying the view from the Shelander’s historic screen porch on St. Simons Sound followed by a Low country boil from the lawn at sunset. The King City beachfront area is sacred ground and home to countless special memories from my earliest childhood and throughout my life. Enjoying the soft sound of the bagpipers from the Sea Island Lodge at sunset blending into the subtle sound of live music flowing from the village as darkness falls is the closest to my perfect day.

What is one thing every visitor must do before leaving the Golden Isles? A visit to the Golden Isles is not complete without exploring our marshes, rivers, and creeks – guided fishing trip, kayak tour with Southeast Adventure Outfitters, or a yacht cruise on the “String of Pearls.” If you want to discover the full magic and lure of the Golden Isles, visits to Cumberland, Little Cumberland, Little St. Simons, or Sapelo islands are essential to appreciating the true heart, beauty, soul and majesty of the Golden Isles.

Give us your elevator pitch for someone looking to move to the Golden Isles: The Golden Isles are rich in beauty, nature, culture, history, community, and lifestyle. There is always something new and beautiful to discover. The famous “Marshes of Glynn” provide expansive vistas and its estuaries are nurseries that play an important role in the ecosystem of the world. The Golden Isles is a beautiful intersection of natural beauty and human culture. At one point in my life, I realized a whole new level of opportunity in this little corner of the globe. Where else could I live where one child can be on a competition equestrian team and play violin in a youth orchestra while another child is able to hop on his bike to fish (fresh or saltwater) after school as another child plays a world championship golf course at a five-star resort, yet another prepares for a role in the Nutcracker as part of a ballet company? All the while, the Golden Isles maintains a true small community spirit. It is no wonder that the Golden Isles draws, nurtures, and inspires artists, playwrights, authors, musicians, inventors, scientists, designers, chefs, athletes, and entrepreneurs. For stints in my young adult life, I lived in Virginia, England, New York, Florida, Chicago, Arkansas, and Mississippi, which only enhanced my appreciation for my Golden Isles heritage. After over 50 years, I feel blessed to have grown up here, to rear my children here, and to call the Golden Isles my home.

What advice do you have for young adults interested in pursuing a career in real estate? Find a great mentor for inspiration and sage advice. I was blessed to have had the opportunity to serve as the executive assistant to Roy Hodnett, who with his daughter Pat Cooper, founded BHHS Hodnett Cooper Real Estate. The year I began to work for the World War II veteran, he turned 96 and was exactly twice my age on our shared birthday. Over the next three years, his life stories and personal experience with markets dating back to the Depression Era gave me a perspective beyond my years. Coming from almost a decade of working in ministry, I discovered that real estate is a wonderful opportunity to be of true service to people in a time of transition. If you have a heart for people and love to get behind their hopes and dreams, love a project or a puzzle, can pay attention to details without losing sight of the big picture, are not afraid of conflict but can see creative solutions towards peace-making, then real estate is a good fit for you. It helps if you are self-directed and others-motivated with a desire to explore some of everything from design, economics, law, ethics, business, construction, psychology, development, financing, homemaking, marketing to research. Listening to client’s stories and getting to the heart and motives of their goals is a privilege, an intimate process and a quick way to make fast friends. It helps that the Golden Isles sells itself.