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If you hadn’t noticed, fall is most definitely in the air. From the first slightly brisk breeze, with its passing wave of “cool,” to the ubiquitous pumpkin spice everything lining the grocers’ aisles, and the roar of capacity crowds at football stadiums every weekend, it’s easy to tell. This summer has passed swiftly, and there was even some travel on the schedule, including a fantastic birthday celebration with family in Atlanta and points north. You really haven’t been surprised until you’re awakened from a sound sleep by your grandchildren’s giggles. Priceless. We began with the virtual VanGogh exhibit in Kirkwood, and then there were two days of panning for gold, tubing the “’Hooch,” and shopping – lots of shopping in Dahlonega and Helen. Those rolling mountains and rushing streams in North Georgia made this transplanted mountain girl feel right at home.

Our Coastal Illustrated feature will make everyone feel at home, too, as we pick out some of our favorite meals, sightseeing tips and refreshing beverages for locals to enjoy and tourists to explore while out and about. We’ve got the inside scoop on how to have fun in our Golden Isles. My favorite part of this feature was learning about the ghost of J.P. Morgan, who still haunts San Souci at the Jekyll Island Club Hotel. Early risers report being able to smell cigar smoke when they stay in the building.

In Shore Things, Cheri Leavy’s topic is “Perspectives.” Enjoy all the selections she’s made in accessories, apparel, food, beverages and lots of other interesting merchandise.

Our Events calendar details all sorts of fun activities for you and yours to take advantage of – from craft fairs to evenings at the cinema watching foreign films, and everything in between.

Ralph Basham, the retired head of the Secret Service, Customs and Border Patrol and the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, calls St. Simons Island home, and is the focus of our Local Q+A. He talks about his family, and his stellar career in federal law enforcement. His most memorable moment with the Secret Service will touch your heart. We actually have two versions of his interview. We are running an abbreviated version in print and the entire interview online. Enjoy.

In her review, Cary Knapp discusses “Whereabouts,” the newest novel by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jhuma Lahiri, who is the head of the creative writing program at Princeton University. The new book, told in first-person, was written in Italian and translated into English by the author. The 50 or so vignettes that make up the book capture the narrator’s observations in that particular place or time. As Cary writes, the vignettes “paint a picture of a solitary soul moving pensively about an unnamed city” in what we suspect is Italy.

We dropped in on the final “Little Light Music” concert and captured some scenes from The Sensational Sounds of Motown. Our page is filled with fun, familiar faces!

In our Coastal Home feature, we spoke with Dawn Hart, co-owner at ACE Garden Center, and Jeff Homans, a landscape architect, about how to create focal points – in this case water features and courtyards – in your home garden. They both have a ton of aspirational, but very achievable tips.

Reporter Gordon Jackson explores the ins-and-outs of homeowner’s insurance in this issue’s real estate article, and has some valuable consumer information.

Meet Bill Keim in our Realtor Q&A. Now retired, Bill talks about his real estate career, and his competitive nature. Bill was a High School All-American swimmer, and later, a professional race car driver.

Elizabeth Zachry is in the spotlight of our Designer Q+A. She is an interior designer with Taylor House Interiors, and has lived in the Golden Isles since 1975. Elizabeth discusses her design aesthetic and her love of spending time on the beaches of Jekyll Island.

Anne Ditmer, as always, has great advice in our Blooming Issues column. Trees are always a concern, and when you need advice, cutting corners is probably not a great idea. Anne makes the case for hiring a certified arborist to inspect the trees on your property and recommend a course of action.

We hope you enjoy this issue. In the meantime, stay safe, but get out there and enjoy. We’re embarking on the most pleasant time of the year. And don’t forget to wash your hands.