Despite the profusion of lakes and rivers where I grew up in West Virginia, my family did not own a boat, and until the early 1990s, the only boats I’d been in (other than various ferries and a sternwheeler or two) were the canoes at my summer sleep-away camp. That all changed when my then-boyfriend John took me along for an afternoon of river boating with his family. Later, we spent countless hours on the rivers and lakes of our home state when he would visit. And eventually, we enjoyed the coastal waters on a regular basis. I will never turn down an opportunity to cruise the rivers of the Golden Isles. It’s so much fun to enjoy the fresh air and sunshine, take in the sights and stop in at nearby eateries for food and libations. Then there’s the wildlife. The abundance of birds, river otters, turtles and alligators, and all the other critters guarantee an ever-changing vista. Talk about your three-hour tour.

You’ll be able to plan your next nautical outing after reading the Coastal Illustrated feature. In it, we travel to Darien and Jekyll Island by boat and have plenty of recommendations for everyone to see and do. After grabbing some refreshments, stroll through Darien and take in Vernon Square and the Old Jail Museum. While on Jekyll Island, take a walk through the National Historic Landmark District, and visit both the Georgia Sea Turtle Center and Mosaic, the Jekyll Island Museum, and don’t forget to have a yummy meal or a sweet treat while there.

Of course, all days aren’t filled with sunshine, and there’s always something to be done around the house. This issue, in Coastal Home, we explore drapes, and how to determine which style, color and fabric fits your home. There is an almost endless number of ways to dress a window, and we take a look at a few of them.

If you’re looking for something to do, check out our Events page. It’s loaded with fun ideas for gathering and socializing. Please be sure to check with either the event organizer or the venue to determine what mask polities and social-distancing protocols are in place.

In our Local Q&A, meet Paul White, president and CEO of the Communities in Coastal Georgia Foundation. Paul enjoys spending time with his wife, Monica, and has two adult daughters who live in Atlanta. His favorite Golden Isles landmark is the beach.

St. Patrick’s Day is upon us and Cary Knapp has found a book that’s much more satisfying, and more authentically Irish, than green beer and all the U.S. trimmings of the annual Lenten break. In his latest memoir, “Walking With Ghosts,” actor Gabriel Byrne weaves a take of childhood memories and more recent episodes of his life.

Meet Emily Dunn in the Designer Q&A, and learn about her favorite design motifs, colors and upcoming trends. She also enjoys spending time with her kitties, socializing with friends, walking on the beach and de-stressing with yoga.

Nancy Phelan is the focus of the Realtor Q&A. Nancy has lived on St. Simons Island for 49 years, and knows the neighborhoods and the the people who’ve lived in them like the back of her hand. She enjoys spending time with her family, and loves visiting the St. Simons Island Public Library. Nancy also gives some sound economic advice.

Real estate reporter Gordon Jackson checks in with Allison van der Veer to find out what the housing market is like in the SoGlo (South of Gloucester) neighborhoods in Brunswick, and in the process reveals a secret – Allison came up with the SoGlo moniker. Enjoy learning about this eclectic collection of neighborhoods, which remains affordable.

Finally, take some time to pour over Cheri’s Shore Things celebrate all thiings green as St. Patrick’s Day approcaches. Cheri has personally sourced a ton of great merchandise, as well as food and drink from local establishments that tip their hats to Ireland.

As we move toward spring, take some time to get outdoors, whether walking, riding a bicycle, taking a drive or launching a boat for a spin. It’s a magical time of the year. And don’t forget to wash your hands. Enjoy the issue.