I have always been a water baby. From the time I could splash in a baby pool, frolicking in the water has been irresistible to me. My parents didn’t install a pool at our house, but we, along with many of our friends and neighbors, belonged to a neighborhood swim club. This was the place we learned to swim, competed in swim meets against other clubs, learned about highlighting our hair with Sun-In and tanning with baby oil and iodine (neither are good ideas!) and began to figure out the intricacies of cliques and flirting. Between the swim club, summer camp and our vacations, I think I spent the majority of my childhood and young adult summers in, on or beside the water. Unfortunately, I have not lounged poolside once this year, and putting this issue together made me yearn for a cool dip in the water.

Our lives have certainly changed from a year ago, but families are still gathering together for meals and recreation. In our Coastal Illustrated feature, “Brunching With the Bishops,” Cheri Leavy meets with three generations of the Bishop family, and learns about their brunch tradition, in addition to accessing a few of Mary Bishop’s brunch recipes. From the beautifully set table, to the lovingly prepared food, the Bishops celebrate family in an enviable way. We also discovered something else – Mary Bishop, known affectionately as “Mimi” by her four grandchildren – is a birthday cake baker extraordinaire. We have her cake recipe, as well as three different frostings from which to choose, too. If you don’t have weekend plans, brunching like the Bishops would be a good place to start.

Meanwhile, our Coastal Home feature takes relaxation to a whole new level. In “Idyllic Idylls,” we explore the importance of outdoor spaces – including pools, patios and pavilions – in our lives. These features not only provide places to eat, hang out with family members and relax, when water features are installed, they also provide a sense of tranquility that’s difficult to find these days. We speak with Chad Goehring, of Harrison Design Associates, and landscape architect Jeff Homans.

In “Shore Things,” Cheri Leavy expands on the relaxing theme of this last issue in July by having recommendations for everything from pool floats to patio fashions and everything in between for outdoor fun at home.

Summer vacations are off the calendar for many of us this year, but never fear. Our literary columnist, Cary Knapp, has provided a selection of books for the armchair traveler. All five of her recommendations sound fantastic, but since I’m absolutely craving an exotic, globetrotting trip, I’m going to begin with Monisha Rajesh’s new memoir, “Around the World in 80 Trains: A 45,000-Mile Adventure,” which details an adventurous seven-month (mostly-by-rail) trip she and her fiancé took in 2015, during which they visited multiple countries on three continents.

Horticulture columnist Anne Ditmer takes on bugs that brunch and has advice about what to do about those pesky armyworms and other creatures who enjoy sabotaging beautiful lawns.

We also have some fun people for you to either meet, or get to know better. In our Local Q&A, Brunswick stewmaster and boiled peanut purveyor Mark Hanna is featured. Those of you who know him will not be surprised that one of his favorite local landmarks is the Golden Ray. In our Designer Q&A, we meet Jackie Seymour whose unique approach to interior design, coupled with her warm personality, turns clients into lifelong friends. Finally, our Realtor Q&A features Jill Jernigan, broker at Top Producers Coastal GA Inc. Jill, who has lived in the Golden Isles for about 25 years, tells us about her favorite ways to spend her free time, and how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the local real estate market.

This issue is packed with fun reads, good information and interesting people. Pour a refreshing glass of your favorite beverage, kick back and enjoy the issue. Oh, and don’t forget to wash your hands!