GIM November/December 2022

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Happy Holidays

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The Bubble Bar at Two Friends brings even more sparkle to holiday shopping and its certified sommelier Brandon Boudreau offers some ideas of perfect wine pairings for holiday dinners.


The glow of the Christmas season brings an extra layer of magic to Coastal ceremonies.



Local pros share the secrets of keeping guests happy (and full) during the holiday season.


Zack Gowen is an entrepreneur in the fullest sense of the word, opening restaurants, farms, and now a popular grab-and-go spot, Three Little Birds, Fly In, Fly Out.


Haley Meredith is a culinary instructor at the Golden Isles College and Career Academy and she also owns a side business, Ruby Lu’s, where she creates fabulous cake designs.


Happy Holidays!



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the Cover: This festive peppermint bark was whipped up by baker extraordinaire Haley Meredith, owner of Ruby Lu’s, which creates custom cakes and speciality desserts. It was styled and photographed by the brilliant Brooke Roberts.

Contributing Writers Page Aiken
Contributing Photographers Parker Alexander Jan Bone Kelli Boyd Derrick Davis Priscilla Ring John Krivec Querencia Creative 365 Degree Total Marketing Brooke Roberts Publisher Buff Leavy Editor Lindsey Adkison Director of Advertising and Marketing Assistant Editor Lauren McDonald Proofer Heather Murray Account Executive Jenn Agnew 3011 Altama Ave, Brunswick GA 31520 Kasey Rowell Stacey Nichols Donte Nunnally Terry Wilson Contributing Designers Golden Isles Magazine is published six times per year by Brunswick News Publishing Company To subscribe online to Golden Isles Magazine, go to Sales Assistant Joy Kendricks 8 GOLDEN ISLES 28 Market Street Suite 124 Saint Simons Island, GA (912) 638-5100 Dresses, Dresses, Dresses

3011 Altama Ave, Brunswick GA 31520


Golden Isles Magazine is in need of talented contributors. Unsolicited queries and submissions of art and stories are welcome.

Please include an email address and telephone number. Submit by email to the editor, Lindsey Adkison: or by mail to 3011 Altama Ave, Bruns wick. Only work accompanied by a self-addressed stamped envelope will be returned.


Information regarding advertising and rates is available by contacting Jenn Agnew at 912-265-8320, ext. 356 or by email at jagnew@thebrunswick; Kasey Rowell at 912-2658320 ext. 334 or krowell@thebruns; or Joy Kendricks, or call 912-265-8320 ext. 303.

All content is copyright of Golden Isles Magazine, a publication of Brunswick News Publishing Company. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form without express written permission from the publisher. We have sought to ensure accuracy and completeness of the content herein, but neither Golden Isles Magazine nor the publisher assumes responsibility for any errors, inaccuracies, omissions, or other inconsistencies, including those related to quotations. We reserve the right to refuse advertising. All advertisements appearing herein are accepted and published on the representation that the advertiser is properly authorized to publish the entire contents and subject matter thereof. All ads are paid advertisements and/or gifts given as part of a contractual agreement regarding Brunswick News Publishing Company. Neither Golden Isles Magazine nor the publisher is responsible for any statements, claims, or representations made by contributing writers, columnists, or photographers. Golden Isles Magazine and the publisher are also not responsible for anyone’s reliance on the content included in the publication. All projects described in this publication are for private, noncommercial use only. No right for commercial use or exploitation is given or implied.

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Editor’s Note

Voices from the past

If you are reading this right now, you’re looking into the past. Not long past, but August past.

It’s a weird trick of the publishing world to live so far in the future. While most folks are still frolicking with beach balls, we’re digging through attics to find garland and tinsel for holiday photo shoots. I now fully understand why craft stores start stocking Christmas decor in July … it’s for people like me who are living in a magazine-induced time warp.

I’ll be honest with y’all — it’s difficult to conjure holiday cheer in a sweltering 96 degree heat.

But there’s always a little spark of magic when we start pulling it together. We start exploring holiday stories and you can’t help but be drawn back to the Thanksgivings and Christmases past. And, as Ebenezer Scrooge learned long ago, the season isn’t about snazzy soirees or exchanging fancy gifts. It’s about the memories you make and the people you make them with.

So many things can take you right back to happy times of Christmas past. It could be anything — a song, a smell, or a dish. My grandmother, like so many others I’m sure, always made those ever-popular white wedding cookies (in Alabama we called them Italian wedding cookies, though through a collective newsroom Google session we discovered they’re actually Arabic — who knew). But, those will always trigger Christmas nostalgia for me.

Food is a powerful source of memories. Taking a bite of a toasty piece of bread or a melt-in-your mouth dessert takes you right back to days gone by, helping us hold on to those special times. That’s why our holiday food issue is a favorite. This one won’t disappoint either. It’s rooted in festive, family fun.

For starters, I met up with Chef Haley Meredith (who we’ve lovingly dubbed the Cake Queen) to learn all about

how she makes these incredible confections. I also pinned down the always-on-the-move Zack Gowen to hear about all of his food-centric ventures, including his latest, Three Little Birds, Fly In, Fly Out, an hommage to his three little girls. I also beeped by Two Friends Bubble Bar to talk shopping and sparkling wine (it’s a tough life but someone has to do it). I also spoke with some Christmas-time brides who shared how they wove holiday merriment into their stunning weddings. And last but certainly not least, Taylor Cooper chatted with local experts who share some seasonal inspiration for feeding guests.

We hope you enjoy these stories. And please remember — it’s easy to get tangled in the hustle and drama of this busy time of year. It’s easy to get flustered and frustrated. But it’s so important not to let that get in the way of creating memories.

Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas — Lindsey
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@mygvarts: This is so exciting!

@tarryalong: That cover is A-mazing!

@candace_hires: I absolutely love this cover!!!

@bongangart: This was fun!!

Megan Torello: Earth Mother

Sara Vande Linde Giannakakis: Awesome

Cullen Peck: That’s so awesome and so deserved!!!

Elizabeth Holladay Bravo!!!

Joanne DiEmidio Wow!!

Word On The Street

Your reactions sent to us by emails, posts, & tweets


Sid Summerhill: Shape and Form

@andersonfineartgallery: Fabu lous artist and interesting life to date.

Kevin Bongang: Master of Color

@rachelfitzrealtor: I am so thankful for the LIFE he brings to our area!!

If you prefer to send us your comments by email, contact Editor Lindsey Adkison at Anything posted to our social media accounts or emailed directly to the editor will be considered for publication. Comments may be edited for clarity or grammar.


@darleneprosperi: Love it!!! So creative!!!

@emmythomo: The Dish: Mallery Street Cafe

Lori Duncan: AHMAZIng ginger chicken salad!

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Jennifer Tacbas: Kudos to the photographer (Daniel Thomp son)! That’s a stunning photo.

Pamper Polish & Primp: @ashleereidmore: So awesome!

@bernadettdraftsphotography: Ohhhh, I love it!!

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Shrimp & Grits Festivalreturns for anniversary year

TTyler Dominey has attended the Shrimp & Grits Fes tival on Jekyll Island for so long that he recalls when he was one of only a handful of vendors on site.

Dominey will return for this year’s festival Nov. 4 to 6, and he is among many who highly anticipate seeing the event come back in full force.

Dominey, who recycles boat propeller blades to make his artwork, has been a vendor at the festival for many years. He fashions the propeller blades into marine life and other nautical figures like sea turtles, sea horses, lighthouses, crabs and

Qmore. Prices for the pieces range from $40 to $1,000.

“It’s kind of a misbelief that I take broken propellers and make this stuff,” Dominey says. “It’s actually new sheet metal that I use. I think people get it mixed up because I’m in the propeller repair business.”

The Shrimp & Grits Festival is Dominey’s favorite event to attend.

“It by far has been my best show that I ever did


anywhere,” he says. “It’s gotten bigger. I love the music, the food. Everybody’s in a good mood, and it’s a joy to be there.”

The festival is a laid-back event featuring art, food, and family-centered activities under the live oaks of Jekyll Island’s Historic District.

The event has not been hosted since 2019, as the COVID-19 pandemic canceled the event in 2020 and 2021. This year, the event will celebrate its 15th anniversary.

There isn’t a more beautiful setting to experience this type of event, says Alexa Hawkins, director of marketing and communications for the Jekyll Island Authority.

“It’s a great way for visitors to experience many of the aspects that make the coastal region of Georgia so unique,” she says. “The Shrimp & Grits Festival celebrates a ‘truly Southern’ dish, showcasing the freshest seafood caught off Jekyll Island and the waterways of the Golden Isles and highlights many of the state’s Georgia Grown farmers, chefs, and small businesses.”

This year’s Shrimp & Grits festival coincides with the year-long celebration of Jekyll’s 75 years as a state park.

“At this year’s festival, we will be honoring state-era musical history with a performance by The Tams Friday night, along with a spectacular fireworks show,” Hawkins says. “Saturday night will also feature a performance by the band TRIBUTE — a celebration of the Allman Brothers.”

In past years, the event has been held in September. Jekyll Island Authority opted to push the festival back to November in 2020, to avoid hurricane season and hotter weather. The pandemic disrupted that plan.

“This year the event will take place in November, and we are anticipating the weather to be a bit more mild and cooler than the September time frame of years past,” Hawkins says. “It’s also the 15th anniversary of the festival, so coupled with the ongoing celebration as a state park, we are simply excited to celebrate with the community and the many partners around the region who have supported this event for so many years.”

More than 130 artist market and Georgia Grown vendors will be at this year’s festival, along with more than 25 food vendors. Favorite local shrimp and grits vendors returning this year include the Jekyll Island Club Resort’s The Wharf and Eighty Ocean restaurants, Halyard Restaurant Group, McGarvey’s Wee Pub, and Zachry’s Riverhouse.

The event won’t be shy about promoting its namesake. There will be an abundance of food options, including shrimp and grits, as well as other cuisine options for those wanting something different.

There will be half-off sampling of the shrimp and grits recipes on Friday night, with a People’s Choice Award given based on votes from the public.

The festival is a free event. Participants can also purchase a ticket to the “festival within a festival” experience, the Craft Brew Fest. Tickets cost $30 in advance online and $35 at the festival, which includes 20 tasting tickets for 2-oz pours each, a commemorative tasting glass, and access to additional live music and a big-screen TV to watch live college football games.

The event will feature several beer selections, and there will be wine and readyto-drink cocktails available.

Music will be performed by well-known local and regional talents on four stages at the festival.

A Kids’ Zone also ensures the festival is family-friendly for all ages.

Shopping, of course, will also be a huge draw. Each vendor is selected by a committee to ensure the festival has ample


variety and everything is hand-made and grown in Georgia.

Like Dominey, Troy and Lori Hoper with Hopers Handmades.

The married duo will bring their handmade soaps, candles, and woodworking pieces to the festival.

“My wife does candles and soaps. She makes them all herself, 100% soy candles,” Troy says. “And then I do woodworking.”

He unveiled a new piece — wooden maps of the coastal area and other areas — just before the COVID-19 pandemic, and they’ve been such a big hit that Hoper is worried he’ll sell out quickly at this year’s festival.

“They are just selling like crazy,” he says.

He’ll have a wide variety of pieces to sell, though, including rustic bottle openers, plaques, signs, games, wind chimes and more.

Hopers Handmades has attended the Shrimp & Grits Festival for more than a decade, and Troy Hoper says the event’s atmosphere is unique.

“You’re not in the middle of a street or a parking lot,” he says. “You’re in a nice area that’s comfort able, it’s relaxing. It’s just really nice to come to.”

He encouraged festival attendees to stop by their table.

“Our things are different,” he says. “They’re not things you can go to the store and buy. They’re not things you can order from Amazon or something. Our things are unique, and we make them all.”

Insider tips for attendees:

• Come prepared to walk — it is a large walking festival, with over 32 acres of activities. Comfy shoes are best.

• Be prepared for a high volume of vehicles crossing the causeway and around the island. Plan to arrive early. Friday evening and Sunday tend to see a little less traffic.

• All vendors accept and prefer credit cards, but ATMs will be available around the festival grounds.

• Bring your ID if you’re interested in partaking at one of the several bars or purchasing a ticket to the Craft Brew Festival.

• Shop for merchandise in the official Shrimp & Grits Festival Gifts Tent and pick up this year’s commemorative festival poster.

• Be sure to read the festival FAQ online before heading to Jekyll Island at shrimpgrits.


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Like Home:

PorchFest Shines a Light on Downtown Brunswick

TThe concept is simple. Start with a bunch of local per formers, set them up on porches of the historic homes in Downtown Brunswick, invite all your friends, and let the magic happen.

The result? One of the most anticipated public events of the year — PorchFestBWK.

In partnership with the City of Brunswick and the Down town Development Authority, PorchFestBWK is a free-ad mission, family-friendly event that celebrates the diversity, uniqueness, and beauty of the Historic Old Town Brunswick neighborhood and her residents. Utilizing the talents and generosity of volunteers, as well as local and regional per formers, this music festival turns porches into stages as artists share their talents with members of our community.

The event takes place the second Sunday in November. This year, PorchFestBWK 2022 will take place from noon to 6 p.m. on November 13, rain or shine.

While it seems like an idea that would have been born in Brunswick, the concept of PorchFest started in Ithaca, New York, in 2007.

Inspired by a couple of roaming ukulele players, two neigh bors crafted the idea, and a national sensation was born. Since then, PorchFests have sprung up all over the country, each one uniquely reflective of their host neighborhood but with the same basic concept: performers + porches = community.

The PorchFest story in Brunswick began much the same way. The brainchild of Historic Old Town residents Angie Young and Susan Bates, the pair sold other enthusiastic neighbors on the concept and spent months, and their own money, planning the first PorchFestBWK in 2018.

Twenty-eight porches and performers were a part of the inaugural event, everyone donating their time and talents to the cause.

And then it rained.

The rain didn’t dampen the spirits of this group, though. The show went on, and the event was a success.

Since then, PorchFestBWK has grown substantially in size and popularity. An estimated 5,000 people flooded the streets of Old Town in 2021 to hear over 50 performers on 50


Cozy Up to Fall Flavors

different porches. Porch FestBKW 2022 is expected to draw even larger crowds.

“It’s just a fun day,” says Jennifer George, Old Town resident and founding member of PorchFestBWK. “The eclectic nature of the event is so fitting for our neighborhood. You can feel the energy in the air on the day of the event.”

Since the event began with a grassroots group of neighborhood do-gooders, the current leadership has worked hard to preserve the principles on which the event was built.

“We’ve taken the time to boil down the essence of the event and have put things in place to make sure it remains true to its initial purpose,” says Ashley Raybould, planning com mittee member. “It’s a day to celebrate the diversity, uniqueness, and beauty of where we live and to recognize the talents and generosity of our local and regional performers.”

Generosity, indeed, since performers donate their time and talent to entertain the community without compensation.

“We encourage them to bring tip jars, but bands and performers volunteer to be a part of PorchFestBWK,” says Angie Young, Old Town resident and founding PorchFestBWK member.

“The fact that PorchFest has morphed into such a cool event that our very talented performers donate their time speaks volumes for both the event itself and the generosity of these tal ented individuals. Without them, the event wouldn’t happen.”

The variety of performers is another draw to the event.

“There is literally something for everyone,” says Susan Bates, founding member and porch host. “It runs the gamut from heavy metal bands to ukulele players … bluegrass gospel groups to belly dancers … Elvis impersonators to drag queens, and everything in between.”

The eclectic nature of the lineup is one of the major draws for the event.

“I think one of the most exciting things about the event is that it has become such of a draw for locals and visitors alike,” says Travis Stegall, porch host and planning committee member.

“I get excited when I hear people say, ‘We have friends coming into town for PorchFest.’ To think our crazy idea has turned into a destination event speaks so well for the event and for our city.”

So far, PorchFestBWK 2022 is shaping up to be another record-breaking event. Still, porches, performers, volunteers and sponsors are needed to meet the high expectations of the planning committee.

“Even free events cost money,” says Ashby Worley, founding member and event finance chair.

“We are so fortunate to have community members who believe in this event as much as we do and do nate their time and money to make sure it’s a great day, but we can always use additional hands and resources.”


p.m. on November 13, rain


shine in

streets of the downtown historic district. Visit

for more information.

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Simonsof Rock and Roll

The comes to St.

When you ask someone who their favorite superhero was growing up, you may hear common answers like Superman, Spiderman, Wonder Woman, or Ironman.

What about Elvis Presley?

The King of Rock and Roll — who was also known to wear a signature cape — became Cote Deonath’s favorite superhero when he was just 2 years old. He became hooked while watching Elvis sing and dance in the 1962 film, “Follow That Dream.”

“I remember it opening up with a wide shot of them in their buggy and Elvis is singing a song and he’s just having a good time. He had this million-dollar smile and jet black hair. I was like, ‘Who is that?’,” Deonath says. “I know it sounds crazy, 2-years-old but that image is ingrained in my mind.”

Wearing a gold jumpsuit, 4-year-old Deonath sang “Heartbreak Hotel” and “Blue Suede Shoes” during his first live performance at school. He remembers wanting to sing the rest of the CD and never leave the stage.

“It just snowballed from there,” Deonath says with a laugh.

Now a professional Elvis Tribute Artist with the king al ways on his mind, Deonath started his own production company, 49th PL Productions, to host Elvis Festivals across the country.

In December, the production company will travel to the Golden Isles to host their first Elvis Tribute Festival on St. Simons Island. It is an entirely separate event from the one hosted in downtown Brunswick.

The Georgia Elvis Festival will be held at Epworth by the Sea from December 1 to 3.

Deonath said everyone at 49th PL Productions is “super pumped” to bring Elvis back to Georgia and host the festival on St. Simons Island.

“It has always been a dream of mine to bring a respect able Elvis Festival to the state of Georgia. There’s a lot of Georgia Elvis fans and Elvis loved Georgia,” he says.


Guests with a burning love for the King should expect authentic and honorable Elvis perfor mances at the festival, Deonath says. There will be 12 headliners performing and seven shows available for Elvis fans to enjoy and leave them all shook up.

“(The performers) eat, sleep, and breathe Elvis, they handle it with care. They love what they do and they’re fans first because, at the end of the day, we are all fans,” he says.

If Elvis enthusiasts have suspicious minds about attending the festival, they should expect to get a taste of the multiple sides of the King’s music. The festival’s performances will show case different eras of Elvis including country, rhythm and blues, love songs, gospel and — of course — rock and roll, Deonath says.

“You kind of get a sample of everything, but not too much because we always want peo ple to leave and say, ‘Well, man, we gotta go back cause we didn’t hear this song or get to see everything,’” he says.

While performing, Deonath loves to see the smiles on people’s faces from the stage and feel connected with the audience. He said he tries to focus on having fun and learning how to entertain and make people happy instead of looking more at the production side of the performance.

“Our No. 1 goal within our company is to not only support the people but also support the town that we’re coming and doing (the festi val) in,” he says.

Deonath believes that Elvis Tribute Festivals like the one on St. Simons Island all help to keep the King of Rock and Roll’s legacy alive. Audiences can’t help falling in love with Elvis’s music all over again after attending these shows.

“(The festival) is a time to escape and have fun. We all forget the real world for a second and just kind of be with our Elvis family during the shows,” he says.

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Cafe, thrift store brings new model to Glynn County

The next chapter in the Gathering Place’s long story in the Golden Isles looks to create a self-sustaining model of workforce development.

The Gathering Place, a ministry-focused student leadership development organization that offers mentor groups, outreach events, and internships, opened this year its new center, called Gather, a coffee shop and thrift store at 3883 Altama Avenue in Brunswick. After a summer operations rollout, the center is in full swing this fall.

Gather is located directly beside Brunswick High School and across the street from College of Coastal Georgia, where many BHS and Glynn Academy students participate in dual enrollment, making the center easily accessible to area youth.

The Gathering Place has been serving the community’s youth for around four decades, and Gather is the next part of that narrative, says Lucas Ramirez, CEO of the Gathering Place.

“When you think about who we are as an organization, it’s youth-focused leadership development, but we also want to marry that story with self-sustainability,” he says.

The space is unique in Glynn County, he says. The 12,000-

square-foot building includes a coffee shop, thrift store, meeting spaces, and donation center.

A large area in the center can also be transformed into an event space.

The coffee shop’s menu features all-day breakfast and allday lunch options, with an assortment of coffee drinks and other beverages, baked goods, sandwiches, salads, and more.

Gather staffs around 20 full-time employees. Over the summer, eight students in the Gathering Place’s Doulos internship program worked at the center. Volunteers also support operations.

Around three-fourths of the center staff are local college and high school students. Job opportunities include baristas, retail workers, and donation center processors. The pay starts at $10 an hour plus tips.

Gather is more than a place of employment, though. The mission is workforce development, so there’s a continuous focus on learning, says Andrew Jones, director of Gather. And students are responding well to the opportunity.

“We had some students who worked here as a part of the


Doulos program, and they said, ‘Hey we want to stay on during the school year and keep working here,’” he says. “That’s one evidence of success, in that they’re actually entering the workforce and staying in the workforce when they go through the program.”

Gather aims to go the extra mile to train its staff on how to be successful members of the workforce, he says. It also fosters a culture of teamwork, referring to employees as “team members” rather than staff.

“We want them to feel like they’re part of a team and part of a family,” Jones says.

Gathering Place’s mission is to “reach, equip, and send,” Ramirez says. Gather offers new ways to do that.

“We exist to reach students with the gospel, equip them as strong leaders in whatever vocation they want to go to, and we want to send them to do just that,” he says. “Send them with the influence of the Lord to whatever vocation, whether it’s a teacher, lawyer, stay-at-home mom, anything. We want them to be equipped and sent to do that.”

Gather has been a $4 million dollar project that included purchasing the land, constructing a new building on site, and adding landscaping. Community fundraising and grants from local groups and organizations outside of the area made the project possible.

“We really see our donors, not as just a donor, but as an investor,” Ramirez says. “… If you invest in something, you’re expecting a return on that investment.”

The community can continue supporting the center by donating items to either be sold in the thrift store or recycled. Donations can be dropped off onsite, and larger items can be picked up by Gather’s box truck.

“We accept everything, basically, except mattresses,” Ramirez says. “Clothing, toys, housewares, furniture.”

Increased self-sustainability is a smart approach for most nonprofits, he says. While fundraising events, grantwriting, and donations will always been a core part of the nonprofit funding model, Ramirez says, The Gathering Place wanted to lean into community-driven self-sustainability.

“How can we think creatively about increasing the diversity of revenue streams that fund the very important work in our community?” Ramirez asks. “This center’s vision really came in as a way to marry our mission with sustainability.”

At Gather, the nonprofit’s fundraising and outreach programming overlap.

“It fits the narrative of the Gathering Place story for 40 years,” Ramirez says.



Bed Spread offers joy to children

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,

While visions of sugarplums danced in their heads

This classic Christmas description hails from, “A Visit from St. Nicholas,” by Clement Clark Moore ... though it’s most commonly referred to by its famous first line — “’Twas the Night Before Christmas.”

It paints a time-honored picture of Christmas Eve and it’s the way that many envision the winter’s night — a roaring fire, matching pajamas, and happy children.

But that is not the case for all little ones, as Rees Carroll knows all too well. The founder of the local non-profit Operation Bed Spread first became acquainted with the need while serving as a mentor in 2012. Then, the student he was working with couldn’t stay awake during the school day because he didn’t have a bed of his own to sleep in at night.

After providing the little boy and his sister with a bed, Carroll became aware of just how great the need was, and thus Operation Bed Spread was born.

Since its founding, the nonprofit has provided beds for more than 1,500 people, mostly local children.

It’s a staggering figure, he concedes.

“You can’t get emotionally involved with every family or you wouldn’t get

anything done. But it’s hard. You see people who have nothing. A lot of times, the bed we deliver is the only furniture in the house,” Carroll says.

The beds themselves are simple — a twin size mattress, frame, and box spring — but they mean so much to the children who acquire them. Not only does it allow for a good night’s sleep, it’s often one of their few real possessions.

“It is pitiful,” Carroll says. “There are so many kids here who just don’t have beds, and they get so excited to have something.”

But to keep this critical mission going, the group has got to maintain sup port. The organization and its board put out the call for funds year-round, hosting two events to help fill the coffers — Back to School BEDlam in the fall and Holiday BEDlam closer to the holidays.

The latter is scheduled for 6 to 9 p.m. December 9 at Ziggy Mahoney’s in Retreat Plaza on St. Simons Island. Every cent of the funds raised from the $25 ticket price, raffle items, and other games goes back into the mission.

“We have really great raffle items, and last year we had a pool tournament, which was a lot of fun. These pieces of it are just as important as the ticket sales for us to be able to turn a profit. But the fundraisers also cost money. Last year, our December fundraiser raised $10,000 but we had to pay $6,000. We made $4,000, which is

good, but we were only able to help about 12 kids,” he says. While the fundraisers provided a much-needed boost, the lack of consistent funding is an ongoing challenge. For the past couple of years, Carroll has had to put out a frantic call close to Christmas in order to meet the requests in time for Santa’s arrival. The community always rallies to help them meet the goal, raising tens of thousands of dollars in time for a Christmas miracle.

And for that, Carroll is exceedingly grateful. But he wishes that they wouldn’t have to face such dire straits to receive support.

“We are so grateful. We truly are, but I wish folks understood that the need isn’t just at Christmas. It’s year-round. If people could commit to giving just a little bit every month, that would be huge,” he says.

For those who want to help, Carroll can assure them that it’s incredibly worth the effort. It can quite literally change the life of a local child. And, during the holiday season, that is even more meaningful.

“What if it was your child sleeping on the floor on Christmas Eve? Put yourself in someone else’s shoes. You could help someone else get their baby off the floor so they’re not waking up there on Christmas,” he says. “There are so many of us who are blessed in this community, which is why it’s so important to help some one else.”



November to December

Glynn Community Crisis Center is currently selling tickets for the 22nd Taste of Glynn, slated for 5 to 8 p.m. Jan. 15 at the King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort on St. Simons Island. Advance tickets are $50 and are available at

Through November 18

The Live Oaks Garden Club will host its 23rd annual Poinset tia Sale. There will be red, white, and pink plants for sale. They cost $20 each. Orders will be taken through Novem ber 18. The poinsettia will be available for pick up from noon to 6 p.m. December 2 at Saint Simons Community Church, 2700 Frederica Road, St. Simons Island. To order, visit

November 4 to 6

The Annual Jekyll Island Shrimp and Grits Festival will be held in Jekyll Island’s National Historic District. The threeday event will be from 4 to 6 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday; and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. The festival com bines shrimp and grits with family-friendly entertainment, an artists’ market, live music, kids’ zone, food, a craft brew fest, and more. For more information, visit

Around the Town

November 11

The Humane Society of South Coastal Georgia will host its Blue Jean Ball from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. at Forbes Farm, 2610 Lawrence Road, St. Simons Island. There will be local food, an open bar, live music, and a live auction. For more infor mation, visit

November 13

PorchFestBWK will be held from noon to 6 p.m. along the streets of the downtown historic district. Bands will perform on porches of homes. Food trucks and beverage stations will offer items for sale. Admission is free. The event will be held rain or shine. For details, visit

November 14 to 20

The RSM Classic, hosted by Davis Love III, will be held from November 14 to 20 at the Sea Island Golf Club on St. Simons Island. For ticket prices and details, visit

November 18

The Boys and Girls Club of Southeast Georgia will host a Taste of the Wild from 6 to 10 p.m. at Oaks on the River, 205 Fort King George Dr., Darien. A variety of wild game will be served. For details or to purchase tickets, visit

November 25

The Jekyll Island Arts Association will host its Merry Artists Market from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Goodyear Cottage, 321 Riverview Dr., on Jekyll Island. The event is free and open to the public. For more information, visit



December 1 to 3

The Georgia Elvis Festival will be held at Epworth by the Sea on St. Simons Island from December 1 to 3. Perfor mances will feature a number of national Elvis Tribute Artists. For tickets and times, visit

December 2

The Boys and Girls Club of Southeast Georgia will host its Merry Mixer from 5:30 to 10 p.m. at Halyard’s Restaurant, 55 Cinema Lane, St. Simons Island. Tickets are available at

December 3

The Annual Brunswick Christmas Parade will be held at 5:30 p.m. beginning at Howard Coffin Park and proceeding down Gloucester Street. The parade includes high school marching bands, community groups, and Santa Claus. For more information, visit

Magnolia Garden Club will host its annual Historic Bruns wick Christmas Tour of Homes and Bake Sale. The tour will be from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and there will also be a bake sale available from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the day of the event. Tickets are $25 in advance or $30 on the event day. Group tickets will be $20. For more information, call 912996-0663 or email

The Messiah Community Choir will host its annual perfor mance of Handel’s “Messiah” at 3 p.m. at Wesley United Methodist Church at Frederica, 6520 Frederica Road, St. Simons Island. Admission is free. For details, visit the Messiah Community Choir’s Facebook page.

December 3 and 4

Glynn Visual Arts will host its annual Mistletoe Market from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Postell Park on St. Simons Island. The two-day festival will include fine arts, food and entertain ment. For more information, visit toe-market.

December 9

Operation Bed Spread will host its Holiday BEDlam from 6 to 9 p.m. at Ziggy Mahoney’s in Retreat Plaza on St. Simons Island. Entertainment will be provided, and raffles will be available. Tickets are $25. For details, visit

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Handel’s Messiah"

Holiday music is filled with meaning and memories. In the Golden Isles one particular performance has heralded the start of this festive season for more than 30 years.

The Golden Isles Community “Messiah” Chorus is comprised of roughly 100 vocalists from various area churches, who join together to perform George Frideric Handel’s “Messiah.”

Originally directed by Barbara Meadows, the “Messiah” has been helmed by current director Rhonda Hambright for dozens of years.

This year, the tradition will continue with the performance being held at 3 p.m. December 3 at Wesley United Methodist Church at Frederica, 6520 Frederica Road, St. Simons Island. Admission is free. Read on to learn more about the history of “Messiah” and local production:

There was originally 26 boys and five men from the combined choirs of St. Patrick’s and Christ Church cathedrals participating.


700 hundred people attended the premiere on April 13, 1742. So that the largest possible audience could be admitted to the concert, gentlemen were requested to remove their swords, and ladies were asked not to wear hoops in their dresses.

The Golden Isles Community “Messiah” is a Christmas tradition that began in 1985.

was first performed as a charitable concert at the New Music Hall in Dublin, Ireland on April 13, 1742.

This year’s performance is scheduled for December 3 at Wesley United Methodist Church on St. Simons Island.

Handel’s compositions include 42 operas, 25 oratorios, more than 120 cantatas, trios and duets, numerous arias, odes and serenatas, solo and trio sonatas, 18 concerti grossi, and 12 organ concertos.

The centenary of his death, in 1859, was celebrated by a performance of “Messiah” at The Crystal Palace, involving 2,765 singers and 460 instrumentalists, who played for an audience of about 10,000 people.

26 “Messiah”
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The Southern Tradition of Red Velvet Cake

Istanding outside the door leading into the Dr. Phil studio for a taping. Around the time he was due to arrive, I saw a cute, dark-headed guy running up the hill and waving wildly. We were friends instantly. After the taping of the Dr. Phil show — where he made sure that I was placed correctly to be on camera — he took me over to the set of Entertainment Tonight.

His enthusiasm was contagious and it was obvious that he was loved very much.

“Now, when you come back, you have to come to our house for dinner.”

It took a Southern guy living in Hollywood to open my eyes to the importance of red velvet cake to the South. Particularly for holidays.

Until Joe taught me the gospel of red velvet cake, I was like Paul on the Road to Damascus. I was blinded but the scales fell from my eyes.

Joe LoCicero left his native Georgia to move to Hollywood. He was attracted by the bright lights and the industry, but instead of landing in front of the cameras, he became a much beloved publicist at Paramount.

He was a joyous spirit. A friend of mine was friends with his brother, a prominent doctor, and he suggested that I meet Joe when I was in L.A. I was

Joe and his wife had bought an ordinary cottage and turned it into an adorable Craftsman. Though he had married a non-Southerner, he taught her Southern decorating and celebrating. In that cozy cottage, their two small children bounced around while Joe laughed happily. He wanted to write books, so I helped him as best I could. Through the introduction to another friend in Mississippi, he began to write a monthly column about the South’s celebration of life.

When his first book was published, I was there for the party where Joe’s exuberance bounced off the walls. He wandered among the merriment, reminding the guests, “You must have the red velvet cake. It’s glorious!”

It was a sunny, pleasant, summer day when the phone rang. It was Joe’s same sweet voice but the tone was somber.

“Do you have a second to talk?” he asked. I sat down on the back porch and listened. At 37, he had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. This began regular calls where he talked, then we prayed together.

The months of survival were short before Joe’s laughter died. His wife decided to host a celebration of his life in a theater on the Paramount lot. Joe was a lifelong lover of television sitcoms, which run for 24 minutes before the commercials are thrown in. A video of Joe’s life ran for 24 minutes.

The centerpiece of the reception was luscious red velvet cupcakes. My tears turned into a smile. Joe celebrated with red velvet cake and his final remembrance was decorated with the yummy cake.

Not long ago, Tink and I were on St. Simons and our friend, Edward, insisted that we dine at Fiddlers. Tink calls it, “My new favorite place.”

Amy Williams Baldwin, one of the owners, popped by the table to speak to us. We had just ordered the scrumptious key lime pie which, hands down, is the best I’ve ever had.

“You should taste my red velvet cake sometime,” she remarked.

While she rarely makes cakes for Fiddlers, she does the red velvet cakes by special order. As a co-owner of a sandwich shop for 14 ½ years, she often served cakes and cookies.

“In my family, we didn’t really do cakes for holidays except my grandmother had a delicious fudge sheet cake,” Amy explained. “But the red velvet cake is so Christmasy and is special for the holidays.”

A red velvet cake was the first layer cake I learned to make. I was about 14. The second one was German chocolate. Mama, known for her yellow layer cakes with a seven-minute boiled chocolate icing, never made red velvet or German chocolate so they became my signatures. Then, I moved on to a coconut cake that is scrumptious.

After the conversation with Amy, I remembered back to that first cake when I


was 14 and how proud I was of it. Then, I recalled all the time and labor it took. It’s a luscious cake but it is not one to make leisurely.

So, the next time I’m on the island, I’ll order one from Amy. Meanwhile, she was kind enough to share her recipe. Here’s a tip: Amy and I both agree that most icing recipes are too thin. Her recommendation is to make this icing one and a half times the recipe.

My recommendation? Double it. You can never have too much icing.

Fiddler’s Red Velvet Cake


3 cups sugar

3 cups oil (like vegetable or canola, not olive oil or anything with flavor)

2 Tbsp of vinegar (red wine but anything works except balsamic)

1 Tbsp vanilla 4 eggs Mix all of this together

Sift together

4 ½ cups of flour

½ cup cocoa

2 tsp soda 1 tsp of salt

Add the dry mix alternately with 2 cups of buttermilk beginning and ending with the dry mix.

Add 2 tablespoons of red food coloring. Bake at 325-350 degrees depending on the oven for about 30 minutes until a tooth pick comes out clean. Let the cake cool for a while (overnight if possible).


2 cups cream cheese

½ to 1 cup of butter

2 boxes of powdered sugar

A splash of vanilla (1 Tbsp)

You can toss a spoon full of Crisco instead of butter if you want a more stable icing.


Ronda Rich
NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2022 35 State Farm Bloomington, IL 2006042
Thanksgiving, neighbors. I’m thankful to be part of such a wonderful community. I wish all my neighbors a safe and happy Thanksgiving. Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there.® Douglas Phelps, Agent 104 Trade St. Brunswick, GA 31525 Bus: 912-265-1770 THE WEDDING BOWL The H. Shadron Wedding Bowl customized for the Perfect Wedding Gift, at The Tabby House. Jewelry | Bath & Body | Ornaments | Tablecloths Placemats & Napkins | Home Decor | and much more 1550 Frederica Rd. | SSI | Mon.-Sat. 9:00 am - 5:30 pm | 912.638.2257 FROM OUR HOUSE TO YOUR HOUSE

Refresh Your Rental Property

The Golden Isles is a beautiful place for visitors to come and enjoy our commu nity. Over the last two and a half years, our island has become a more yearround destination for renters. For those of you who own rental properties, this a great opportunity for you to market your rental more effectively.

With that in mind, now is the time to start focusing on showcasing your

Trental property. With so many rentals on the market now, you want your property to have the most competitive edge. Staging your rental is one of the most cost-effective ways to create that edge. You only need to spend the money once and then it’s set and looks beautiful. It helps renters to become emotionally connected to your proper ty by having them imagine themselves in your rental. By creating strategically decorated spaces within the rental, they will feel at home whether it’s a house, a condo, or an apartment.

Transform Your Interiors can help refresh your property and lead you through the redesign of your space. We are a full-service staging company that helps to market your rental whether it is furnished, partially furnished, or vacant. Being accredited and certified in staging, we know how to appeal

specifically to your target market. Staging is the most cost-effective strategy to rent your property faster and at the highest price, which puts more money in your pocket. It is an investment, not an expense, because it is an impressive marketing tool that will last a long time.

You can start the process by having a one to two hour consultation at your property with Transform Your Interi ors to review some creative ideas to refresh your space. Whether it’s moving furniture so that the space looks bigger or adding Euro pillows to be a bed to make it look more luxurious, we will give you the ideas. Clients with furnished rentals can choose to take the list of recommendations and stage the prop erty themselves or enlist us to stage it for an hourly rate. We will have the rental set and photo-ready whether that entails utilizing existing furnishings,


bringing in specific pieces, or furnishing an empty property. Our goal is to make it look refreshed, updated, and ready for this competitive rental market.

During our consultation, we will recommend how to show the rental’s best features. We will help it feel light and bright with the coastal vibe, but without overdoing it. To make things easier for you, we can shop for your accessories or furniture needs. We offer a color consultation to select paint colors so that you pick the right shades for your space. The fastest and cheapest way to freshen up your rental is by painting it. Add ing color here and there will really make it pop. You can also enhance your color in the property by simply accessorizing with some new pillows or décor to help add some flair.

How do you differentiate your rental property from all the others on the market? Transform Your Interiors can offer you a solution to refresh your property and make it a more compelling rental in the market. Spend the money now to do this design work so that your renters get a clear picture of what your property has to offer. The number one way to see rental properties is online, so great photos that make your property look fabulous are a must. Hire a professional photographer. It’s an expense, but you only need to do it once to showcase your redesigned space. Pictures are worth a thousand words, and the impression will last forever!

Some of the services Transform Your Interiors offers: in-person consultation, redesign space, home staging services, paint color selection, personal shopper, and project management. We have a great list of local painters, photographers, clean ers, and landscapers that can help you redesign your space.

— Visit Transform Your Interiors’ website at transformyourinte and call at 805-471-7117 to set up your consultation today. Before

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Your blood pressure, heart, and kidneys will thank you. Instead, look to herbs and spices to add zesty flavors. Bonus points if you choose seasonings that offer nutritional benefits such as ginger, cinnamon, oregano, turmeric, and chili powder.

Don’t assume, read the nutrition label

Not all packaged and canned foods that are labeled “healthy” really are. Look to see how much sugar, sodium, and saturated fat is really in there before you make purchasing decisions.

Cut back on sweets.

Magnolia Manor offers nutritious dining options

Proper nutrition is vital to fuel strong bodies and minds at any age, espe cially seniors. You may not realize that as you age your relationship with food changes. For one thing, your metab olism slows, which means you need fewer calories each day to energize your body. Aging also tends to diminish the sense of smell and taste, which can diminish interest in eating.

We all know that overeating causes unhealthy weight gain, but if you don’t eat enough, you are inviting nutritional

deficiencies that can also significantly harm your health. There are many reasons seniors may lose their appetite. This may be particularly true for those who experience difficulties swallowing and require puréed food. So let’s talk about how you or your senior loved one can get proper nutrition, with foods that motivate you to stay healthy.

Variety Is the Spice of Life

Eating a wide variety of foods ensures you’re getting the widest range of nutrients. That includes fruits, vegetables, lowfat dairy products, protein-rich foods, and whole grains. How much of each do you need? The more colorful the foods on your plate, the more appealing they will be. Darker greens and colorful fruits and veggies are highest in nutrients, too.

Resist the temptation to add salt at the table

You need a certain number of calories, but you want to make them count. You don’t have to avoid desserts alto gether, especially if you make smart choices in other ways. Fresh fruit, sweet potatoes, carrots, and cashews are all naturally sweet (and full of fiber and nutrients).

Drink up!

Water is considered an essential nutrient because hydration plays a critical role in maintaining health. So drink plenty of water throughout the day. Coffee and tea are good options, but stay away from sweetened beverages.

Eat healthy fats

While saturated and trans fats should be off your menu, your body does need some fat intake to guard against dis ease and boost your mood. Avocados, nuts, olive oil, and fish such as salmon that are high in omega-3 fatty acids all contain desirable mono- or poly-unsat urated fats.

Eating Puréed Food? Nutrition

Still Matters

Regardless of how you prepare your food, the same nutritional requirements


apply. Choosing a variety of colors and flavors can be even more important for seniors who eat puréed food, to make up for the lack of textural interest. However, there are certain things to consider when it comes to preparing puréed food that can make mealtime more palatable:

Good (in every way) foods that are purée-friendly include asparagus, beets, carrots, eggplant, potatoes, spinach, mushrooms, zucchini, fava beans, lentils, pumpkin, peas, scrambled eggs, and all manner of fruits. Corn and certain grains that have a tough outer skin and things that are fibrous are not good candidates.

Use tasty thickeners to simultaneously add nutrients and achieve just the right consistency. Juice, milk, plain or flavored yogurt, broth, soup, and sauces are all good options — be sure to strain them first, if needed.

Add flavor with tomato juice, fruit juice, puréed canned fruit (include the juice in the can), as well as powdered or ground herbs and spices.

Puréed or plated, there’s no reason you cannot enjoy a wide variety of colorful, flavorful, healthy foods all year long.

Nutritious and Delicious Food at Magnolia Manor

At Magnolia Manor, we focus on the overall wellbeing of our residents. That includes serving a variety of nutritious foods that meet the needs of all our residents, regardless of their level of care. If you’d like to learn more about senior living at any of our nine campuses in South Georgia, contact us at 1-855-540-LIFE.

— To learn more about Magnolia Manor, visit or call 1-855-540-LIFE.

Friday, November 18th 6:00pm - 10:00pm Location: Oaks on the River Presenting Sponsor For more information visit
Hosted by Halyards and Tramici. Featuring Mason Waters and the Groove All-Stars
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Oh Cedar Tree

There it is, my living Christmas tree.

Planted in 2000, it towers over my house so straight and tall.

I love our native cedar tree. Our little cedar tree grows everywhere along the Georgia coast and is called “the tough tree.”

It is a pioneer native species because it is one of the first plants to grow and stabilize our dunes. It’s this resilient little tree that will stand strong in the sand when water starts washing it away.

TMy father lived in Mississippi for over 50 years and is considered a pioneer forester. The job in Mississippi was to take old worn-out cotton lands and persuade farmers to grow productive pines. His career was to start this new tree industry. I was lucky enough to travel all over the state and have him talk to me about how he found the lands in the 1930s.

We had a cedar tree as a Christ mas tree. The fake trees look so much prettier, so our little family went to an artificial tree. But I missed the real, live tree.

Eventually, I said to myself — “why not plant a living Christmas tree?”

When I first though of that, I didn’t know there were two types of cedar. But there are … one grows straight and tall. The other is the one that will hold to our dunes, protecting them from erosion.

These were the trees that the Eagle

Pencil Company got after purchasing a barrier island — Little St. Simons Island on the Georgia Coast. The idea was this would be a supply of cedars for the pencils. The problem was that they picked the wrong kind of cedar.

The Eagle Pencil Company got an island filled with the craggy, low-ground bush. Instead of harvesting these cedars for pencils, it became the retreat we know today.

When I purchased my tree at Ace, I got the right type. And I knew better not to plant that cedar tree in the middle of my yard. So I was told, but did I listen?


I kept telling myself — “I will keep it trimmed.” But did I? Also, no.

Today, I stand back — or go on Goo gle Earth — it’s easy to see. My living Christmas tree took over half my front yard.

All you see of my little tabby cottage is this towering cedar tree. No cute little blue-trimmed facade. It is just one tall tree … one large cedar tree.

Why am I going on about this cedar tree? Because it is truly a treasure. It keeps our coast safe will from the winds and rain of the fall hurricane season.

I may not have gotten my neat, trim cedar Christmas tree, but I did get many gifts. And the birds got a beau tiful tall, towering, growing, yearround Christmas tree. So what if you can not see the house? I can make some suet dough stars and moon from the store and sit under my living towering Christmas tree.

Merry Christmas, my beautiful Geor gia Coast.



November 25 - January 8

Every day of the holiday season is filled with joy and merriment, so whether you’re visiting Jekyll Island for the day or the month, we’ll have a holly jolly lineup for you.

See what’s in store:



near Christ Church and gave spirit-filled sermons to the local soldiers and townsmen. His “method” would soon impact not just this one strategic fort in South Georgia, but also the na tion and the world — influenc ing a spiritual Great Awakening that spread throughout the colonies, impacting both the American Revolution and the very foundations of our nation.

The Allure of the Isles

Meanwhile, in Page Point, South Carolina (near Charleston), a teenaged William Page, my namesake, was inspired by his faith to step into the calling for national independence, standing against even his own father, Thomas Page, who was a loyalist to the King of England. Young William remained an impassioned patriot and stayed to stand and fight with Francis Merion, the famed Swamp Fox who led the surprisingly important civilian militia. William Page fought valiantly under Merion, earning the title of major, and after the war returned to rebuild his father’s home at Page Point after it had been burned down by the British.

to shine His light through his son Charles, beckoning the lost to find their way home on Dunbar Creek while Christ Church was being reconstructed by Anson Dodge.

The baton of faith was later picked up in the 1950s when Methodist Bishop Moore asked Alfred Jones Sr. to help fund a Meth odist Retreat center on that same sacred island in John Wesley’s honor, to be named Epworth by the Sea. Mr. Jones initially said no to the request, but upon further prayer and consideration, felt inspired to partic ipate with 10 other like-minded Christian businessmen to invest in the project. Mr. Jones then generously gave an adjacent 100 acres of land so that retiring ministers could have homes. Today, we know this as Epworth Acres. The seeds sown into that center have grown, blessed, and inspired thousands of people spanning several generations.

As a Realtor, I’m often asked, “Of all the beach communities to live or invest in, why should we choose the Golden Isles? What is it that makes St. Simons, specifically, so special to so many?”

Some will say it’s the beach. Others cherish the beautiful sunsets over the marshes. Still others point to the green canopy of oaks that are everywhere. All of these are unique attributes, contributing to the physi cal beauty of this place we call home.

However, above even the beauty of the visible outdoors, when people come here, they can’t help but experience the warmth of our community and the faith-inspired his tory planted in the grounds of these islands.

This rich spiritual history began when John Wesley came to St. Simons in the 1730s as the minister in residence at Fort Frederica. The founder of what we now know as Methodism stood right here under the oaks

AYears later, William traveled with his wife and daughter to St. Simons Island to visit his friend Thomas Spaulding. His young daugh ter, Anna Matilda, had been suffering from ongoing illness, but while on St. Simons, her health seemed to thrive due to the “agreeable climate” here. In the hopes of keeping his daughter healthy, William Page decided to purchase land from Spaulding in order to relocate his family. The lands that he assembled became known as Retreat Plantation. Young Anna Matilda would later plant the now famous Avenue of the Oaks, and William Page would help build Christ Church on St. Simons and become its first Warden — the very ground on which John Wesley had preached nearly a century earlier.

When Christ Church was burned to the ground in the later 1800s, some founding members of the Gould family expanded the boundaries of that holy ground by temporarily hosting “house church” on their own property, then known as St. Clair Plantation. James Gould had been the original keeper of the St. Simons lighthouse, and it seemed that God was continuing

In the early 1980s, The Gathering Place was founded when local couple Bill and Ida Walker began “gathering” local youth for healthy activities and Christian evangelism. God’s hand stayed on this ever-expanding ministry that is unique to this communi ty, and today we have over 700 youth participate in weekly 707 small groups and thousands of teenagers from around the southeast that have been touched by the Gathering Place’s Main Event held at Epworth each summer.

So, when famous people like John Audubon have commented about the “fragrance” of St. Simons being of par ticular allure, I believe he felt the same sensory experience other newcomers and locals alike sense today. There is a special fragrance looming in the atmosphere of this beautiful place, one that has spanned the generations and continues to lie in wait for another great “awakening.”

It is seen, heard, and felt all around us, within us, and in-between us as a commu nity of neighbors. The grounds, the air, the water, and the people each in their own way declare the glory and the goodness here in these “Golden Isles.” And that’s what makes this area such a special place to live.

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The Beautiful Game

the USMNT kicks off its World Cup campaign against Wales at 2 p.m. Nov. 21.

NLocal high school boys soccer head coaches Bobby Brockman (Glynn Academy) and Enrique Power (Brunswick High School), shared their views of the World Cup being out of the norm from a viewership standpoint and what the United States needs to do to get out of the group stage.

“It’s just amazing to watch those guys and what they can do. It’s just one of those things like seeing an actor in a tremendous movie,” Brockman says.

Power adds, that being a soccer coach, he likes to watch how the plays develop and how goals can be scored off a great build-up play or a mistake from the opposite side.

“With how elite soccer is now, one team could literally be defending for 90 percent of the time, but they find the back of the net one time and they just shut down (defend) for the rest of the game because that’s all they need,” Power says.

“That’s why it’s called ‘The Beautiful Game’ because anything can happen and every team has its own momentum that anyone can beat anybody, and I think that’s what’s so great about it.”

On the international level, the top players from the best countries take over the spectacle of showcasing their talents to billions of viewers across the world. The two local high school coaches see ways of trying to implement pieces to their teams.

Normally a summertime spectacle, the FIFA World Cup has moved from its usual month-long display to the holiday season to be displayed for the first time in the Middle East, in Qatar.

Sixty-four games will decide the winner of the 18-karat gold trophy that was hoisted by the French National Team in 2018.

One major nation that missed out on the tournament was the United States Men’s National Team (USMNT), who failed to qualify from CONCACAF play with a brutal loss to Trinidad & Tobago in October 2017.

Going through the grueling pains of having to wait another four years to try to qualify for the World Cup, the USMNT is back on the global stage.

Grouped with England, Wales, and Iran,

“The first time the U.S. plays, we are on break,” Brockman says. “So, I’m really pumped to be able to watch the game that Monday and that Friday. Those are two days that I will be glued to the T.V. It’s great because we won’t be in school that day.”

With the first two games of Group B being played during Thanksgiving break, it won’t be hard for the two coaches to sit down and watch the U.S. play, but once they return to their classrooms the other games will be recorded.

“It’s definitely going to be different,” Power says. “It’s different to not have them right over the summer, instead having it over the winter in Qatar. It will be interesting, very interesting.”

As coaches, it can be hard to watch games as a fan and enjoy the moment as it unfolds, wanting to be part of the action and schematic changes to help the team win.

“At that level, they are the guys on the cutting edge and set the example. One year it was Greece that played a sweeper stopper, which is unheard of,” Brockman says. “Most people play a flatback four. In the World Cup, they would have two defensive center midfielders where you used to only play with one. You kind of watch what they do and that can kind of set the trend for what high schools and clubs do.”

Power plans to use the games as an opportunity to create team bonding before the season starts, even telling his guys that one way to get better is by watching games and learning.

“I told the guys before the season started that anyone that is interested in playing soccer, we are going to get together a few times,” Power says.

“Maybe even after school, and watch some games in my classroom where we


have the big projector where everybody can watch. Everybody can learn as a team, realizing when it’s a good play or a defender made a mistake. Sometimes those mistakes cost a goal and the game.”

The USMNT has the opportunity to make a deep run in this World Cup, giving hope for fans to see the country hoist the trophy on home soil in 2026.

A few concerns come to mind from Brockman and Power, with one being the most reliable the last 30 years.

“We have just got to be really sound defensively,” Brockman says. “I’m a little concerned about the goalkeeper situation. I’m worried about that and I’m worried about our center forward, our No. 9. Other than that, we have really good players and young players that are really, really hungry and that’s good to see. I think this World Cup actually will be a building block for the next one, which will see the majority of games held in the U.S. with some in Canada and Mexico.”

Power sees a realistic opportunity for the USMNT to go further than they have ever

gone before, with many of the players having the experience of playing in marquee games weekly in Europe against the top talent.

However, like Brockman he worries about a majority of the team being new and performing under the brightest lights of the world’s game.

“There is no doubt that the men’s national team can score goals,” Power says of the explosive forward line the USMNT brings.

“The thing is, can the midfield keep up and the defense keep up with everybody else and be strong mentally. More than half of that team is very young, and since the U.S. missed the last World Cup, I think a lot of those guys are not going to have World Cup experience. For most, it will be the first time playing. I think mentality and being ready for whatever obstacle comes. For all the players that they have, I’m sure they are going to be able to score goals, but my doubts are in the midfield and the defense. Can they keep up with the rest of the teams?”

When both coaches get the opportunity

to sit down and watch the FIFA World Cup on their television, they will have other rooting interests besides the United States because of their love for the game.

“Aside from the U.S. obviously, I do root for England,” Brockman says. “And I won’t root for them when they play the U.S. I do like Belgium a lot, and those will be the three favorites that I will watch.”

Being a midfielder himself during his play ing days with the Pirates, Power plans to keep his eyes glued to a midfield duo from FC Barcelona.

“I have really enjoyed watching the young guys from Spain. Pedri and Gavi, those two guys are 18 and 17. Those guys are going to be so phenomenal for playing at such a young age, they could literally be my high school players,” Pow er says. “It’s crazy to think about it that these boys are playing in a World Cup for a very good nation. I’m also rooting for the South American teams like Uruguay and Brazil. I’m a big Brazil fan and watch Neymar, Raphinha, and Gabriel Jesus. They are so good and talented.”

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Bennie’s Red Barn hosts Christmas Tradition

“We don’t get to go to church services on Christmas Eve for the last 22 years, but our little Christmas tradition when we do get home, we turn on the TV and watch the Christmas service at the Vatican,” Paolini says.

“It’s like 3 a.m. our time, but they’re just doing midnight mass. The first few years it was putting together Barbie houses and getting Christmas ready for our own kid.”

After the busy December season, when things usually slow down a little in January, the staff gets together for a company party.

Some traditions are long-standing, but the restaurant also tends to generate new ones every year. They “just kind of happen.”

One is the careful management of the Bennie’s Santa schedule, which the restaurant has to carefully coordinate with Glynn County’s Santa, who rides a fire engine up and down Frederica Road every Christmas Eve.

Like many holiday traditions, Christmas Eve at Bennie’s Red Barn is one patrons look forward to all year. The St. Simons restaurant is packed the night of Christmas Eve every year — it’s usually completely booked by August.

But Ali Paolini, the St. Simons Island restaurant’s owner, pointed out that Christmas Eve’s eve usually has some openings.

“(Our biggest night of the year) used

Lto be the Georgia-Florida night back in the day, but now it’s Christmas Eve,” Paolini says.

The enormous Christmas tree in the middle of the restaurant is iconic among the regulars of the beloved establishment, she says, and if they allowed it to the annual celebration would likely continue to grow every year.

“It’s a big jigsaw puzzle that night,” Paolini says. “I spend months trying to get the reservation list and seating.”

That night, the crew at Bennie’s makes memories for dozens and dozens of families. It’s a big job, such that Paolini didn’t have a great many distinct Christmas Eve experiences of her own over the last two decades. They tend to run together.

Her family does have its own little way of celebrating, however.

“We have to be very careful we don’t have Santa in two places at one time,” Paolini says. “A few kids called us on that one year. Now we have the inside scoop. They call us and say ‘Hey, San ta’s getting ready to go by the barn.’

Keeping up appearances is important as well, especially for representatives of Santa’s workshop up at the North Pole.

“One of Santa’s helpers one year was out back taking a smoke break. It’s hot and sweaty and he’s got his jacket undone,” Paolini says. “One of the fam ilies was driving off and saw him and said, ‘Bad! No smoking!’”

Another tradition well predating Ben nie’s is the Italian way of celebrating any holiday.

Coming from an Italian family — Ben nie Gentile, founder of Bennie’s Red Barn and Paolini’s grandfather came from Italian immigrants — and having married into one, she’s familiar with many of the traditions observed by such families.


“Italian families, they’ll get a regular steak, regular fried shrimp Bennie’s dinner but, oh, they have to have a side of pasta because it’s the Italian holiday thing,” says Paolini.

“… You sit down and you have the big family meal, and you get a big pile of pasta, whether it spaghetti or gnocchi or ziti or something. Then you get to start eating your turkey or your ham and vegetables, and then a salad comes with the dinner too. It’s a staple in an Italian family.”

It’s with that tradition in mind that she added a hearty meat sauce over spaghetti and lasagna, which is made with trim mings from the restaurant’s house-made filet and ribeye.

“We cut our steaks in-house by hand, so the trimmings off that meat is what we use to make our hamburger meat to put in the meat,” Paolini says. “That’s what makes it unique. It’s not run-of-the-mill cheap hamburger meat; it’s steak hamburger meat.”

Incorporating Roma tomatoes stewed with different Italian seasonings, the dish is still ordered as something of an appe tizer by some families to this day.

Bennie’s Hearty Italian Meat Sauce

passed down for over

3 eggs

9 onions, chopped 1 cup olive oil

2 handfuls fresh garlic cloves, chopped

13 ½ pounds Roma tomatoes, crushed

13 ½ pounds diced tomatoes

13 ½ pounds tomato sauce

10 pounds beef tenderloin

Salt and pepper

Caramelize onions in olive oil. Add chopped garlic cloves. Add half a wooden salad bowl of powder garlic, a full wooden salad bowl of dried oregano and a full wooden salad bowl of chopped basil. Add 5 whole dried bay leaves. Add other seasonings of choice if desired. Stir and simmer for 3 hours.

Grind beef tenderloins yourself or purchase ground tenderloin. Sauté and drain.

Finish off by adding some olive oil and the remaining half of the wooden salad bowl of powdered garlic, and a good amount of salt and pepper. Add desired amount of cooked meat to sauce and simmer a bit more.

Serve two parts sauce over one-part buttered spaghetti noodles or use as sauce for layering lasagna.

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AAs Ariel Lawless, owner of Seaboard Charcuterie, likes to say, a charcuterie board can be as flat or as complex as you want it to be.

Charcuterie is mostly for social settings, situations where you’re not just sitting at a table, says Donna MacPherson, owner of Golden Isles Olive Oil. That can mean somewhere on the beach, at a party, picnic, or just around the house, when you want something you don’t have to worry about spilling on the couch.

“It appeals to the masses,” MacPherson says.

She sees most of her orders come from con ventions, society events, open houses, or from visitors who want something simple waiting for them when they arrive in the Golden Isles on vacation.

Lawless says her customers trend in the same direction, but also come from folks who want a day on the beach.

In any case, it’s important to know just what your audience wants. Reducing it to the simplest expression, one just needs to include more than one finger food on a platter. She illustrated that with a Christmas-themed board that, from a distance, just looked like a big candy cane on a wooden platter. Upon closer inspection, the red and white stripes turn into slices of tomato and mozzarella with a little basil garnish — Caprese salad in the shape of the holiday treat.

That’s the flat and simple end of the spectrum. One can go further and include fruits, cheese, meats, and more.

MacPherson concurred. The wide variety of fruits, meats, cheeses, nuts, dips, jams, etc., makes it hard to go wrong when assembling a charcuterie board. For her business, it’s up to the customer’s taste more than anything else, she said.

“In summer, maybe strawberries, grapes, lighter fruit,” she says.


Fall and winter offer their own bounty of seasonal flavors. Lawless listed off several — apricot, Wensleydale cheese, sunflower butter, pumpkin seeds, pumpkin fluff, apples, pomegranates, oatmeal, brie, and gouda cheeses.

Meats don’t tend to change from season to season. Pepperoni and salami are always a good go-to, but ham is also an option.

You can stop there, but Lawless believes in putting her all into whatever she does, which is why her charcuterie boards are basically those she would personally like to eat.

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can be both a decoration and an edible part of the platter. Flowers are a staple of Lawless’ arrangements, as her professional boards always include plenty of live decorations. There’s always a statement flower — one of a few flowers she always likes to include — and greenery of some sort, mostly herbs from her garden.

During Christmastime, red and green are pretty standard colors. Unlike more general fall arrangements, with Christmas you’ve got some familiar

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shapes you can play with to get a really eye-catching board — candy canes, for one, and wreaths, Christmas trees and presents, among others.

The wreath took a while to get down, Lawless says. It started simple enough — a circular dish with different types of leafy greens arrayed around it, but figuring out exactly what would taste good and what wouldn’t conflict with the appearance of the board took a little more time.

For those making boards at home, Lawless suggests saving yourself some time and make sure to stock up on some dry goods ahead of time. That way you’ll only have to procure the fruits and vegetables when you’re ready to make your

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Getting ideas is pretty easy — charcuterie has continued to rise in popularity over the last several years — but it can be equally easy to get lost in the vast array of potential food items.

advice? Experiment. Try to balance flavors, getting some sweet, salty, sour, and bitter in the right proportions.


also known as

— helps, she says with a laugh.

“I give them the things I haven’t tried and make them

because I know they’ll be honest with me,” Lawless says.

some guinea pigs —
my test subjects,
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Zackof All Trades

A cap-clad mom darts through the doors, her young daughter tagging close behind. She breezes through Three Little Birds Fly In, Fly Out, a hybrid space that is part restaurant, part part grab-and-go center. It also boasts a tucked away catering kitchen.

In a matter of minutes, she heads back out, a brown bag in hand. Spotting the new hot spot’s owner, Zack Gowen, she pauses.

“Hey, Zack! We’re so glad you’re here. It’s so nice to be able to pick up dinner for folks,” she gushes, lifting the bag as proof.

“Thank you! We’re glad to be here,” he replies with a grin.

This particular customer wasn’t alone in her gratitude. For more than a decade, Gowen has become a hometown hero, spearheading multiple businesses and restaurants ranging from casual hangouts (a former Loco’s) to upscale eateries (the Georgia Sea Grill), a catering business (Three Little Birds) and now the Ocean Boulevard location of the same name.


That’s not all. Gowen has also ventured into related industries, like operating a farm and fish pond that helps to fill plates at Georgia Sea Grill. His latest addition, Three Little Birds Fly In, Fly Out, was inspired by his love of Bob Marley, and of course, his own three daughters.

His journey to becoming a “Zack of all trades” began back when he was just a sophomore in high school.

“I grew up here. My first job was at Frederica House. I was a dishwasher and bus boy,” he recalls, seated at one of Three Little Bird’s tables. “But I loved the pace of it and the fact that every day is a new adventure.”

The adventure continued. Gowen moved to Athens, where he worked at a popular Loco’s franchise while in school.

“That was in 2001. My brother had also worked there. I was a delivery driver, cook, and bartender. I did that for five years. When they opened one here, I jumped on that,” he says.

After working as a server and bartender at the St. Simons Loco’s, he took a bit of a break, following his wife, Liz, down to Florida. By 2008, the Gowens were back in the Golden Isles. That’s when Zack stepped up to buy the St. Simons Loco’s location.

There, he became a familiar, friendly face, one customers were always thrilled to see. He also served as a champion of the local music scene. In addition to hosting live music each week, Gowen left his stamp on the business in the form of a Beatles’ mural hand-painted on the bar’s wall.

A few years later, he got another restaurant ownership opportunity, albeit a very different one — Georgia Sea Grill.

“I actually owned the Sea Grill and Loco’s together for a while in 2014,” he says.

Gowen was responsible for relocating the upscale island establishment, once tucked away in the pier village, to a prominent position on Mallery Street. At the Sea Grill, he teamed up with Chef Tim Lensch to create a delectable menu that features the freshest ingredients possible.

This quest for freshness opened other doors for Gowen. Serendipitous alignments prompted him to secure both vegetable and catfish farms. The first was Pottliker Farms, located on Blythe Island, followed by Satilla Ponds, a catfish pond in Camden County.

“That was in 2018, the year of the farms,” he says with a laugh. “Sapelo Farms had shut down, and it got me thinking that there was a need for a bou-

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Medical / Health

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Items available for purchase at the International Seafarers’Center

off between now and December 22,2022.


between November 25,


tique farm business in Glynn County. I’ve always been interested in Southern food and seeing where the food comes from.”

Dismayed by the loss of the mom-and-pop operations, Gowen set out to create one of his own, which could simultaneously provide produce for the Sea Grill’s plates.

“Small farms are disappearing and that’s a shame. I knew Sam (McPherson) from a farm co-op, so I pitched it to him and he was on board. We found some land with a house on it, and he moved his family out there,” he says.

The catfish pond came about in a similar, auspicious sort of way.

“Our family also had a defunct catfish pond, so we started Satilla Ponds there,” he says. “Of course, we had to do a lot of work to get it ready. I think it took over a year just for the fish to grow.”

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Socks Handkerchiefs Gloves Knit Caps Scarves T-shirts Toiletries Shampoo Conditioner Soap/Body wash Toothbrush Toothpaste Shaving cream Razors After-shave lotion Combs Manicure kit Small scissors Lotion Hair Gel
Chapstick Band-Aids Antibiotic ointment Deodorant Bath Soap Hand lotion Kleenex Vaseline Q-Tips Stationeries Pencils/Pens Note pads Post-Its HIghlighters Food (non- perishable in sealed packages Crackers/ Pretzels /Nuts
Dried fruit Canned
Juice Mints Popcorn
CDs, DVDs Playing
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Drop items
Gifts will
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Speaking of family, Gowen also joined his brother, Michael, owner of Southeast Adventure Outfitters, and a couple of others to purchase Village Creek Landing, a popular event space on St. Simons’ north end, in 2018. It has proved to be an ideal spot for hosting waterfront weddings or fundraisers for nonprofits.

It also offered a venue for another venture — Three Little Birds Catering, which launched before the brick and mortar storefront of the same name.

“Of course, we let any catering company work (Village Creek), not just ours,” he clarifies.

Gowen’s six thriving businesses often overlap. As mentioned, his produce and catfish appear often at the Sea Grill, much in the fashion that his catering truck pops up at Village Creek. His fresh produce is also available to Fly In, Fly Out customers. It can even be used in his chef-concocted hot meals offered at the store.

But regardless of what happens to be merging, Gowen is always eager to build on his collective brand.

“I think one of the biggest things is to not become complacent. I’m always looking for the next concept, and I make it a point to surround myself with people who are a lot smarter than I am,” he says.

“Over the years, I’ve also learned to delegate, which is why it’s important to have people you can trust. It’s been a huge lesson in time management too. But I always want to do things that are fun and keep those creative juices flowing.”

Running is another activity that helps his brainstorm ing. Gowen has become an avid runner over the past few years and can often be found racking up mileage in road races. Gowen’s done quite a few and is now looking ahead to completing a full mar athon.

“It’s a great outlet, and it’s where I do most of my thinking. I’ve done half marathons and will start training for a full marathon. I’m trying to figure out which one I’m doing. I’ve never done a full one so I think it’s time,” he says.

Clearly, not one to sit on his laurels, Gowen is already looking ahead. In fact, the Fly In, Fly Out doors were hardly opened before he started work on a space next door, titled The Nest. That, he says, will be a cozy wine bar featuring bookcases, plush seating, and his trademark delicious food. He anticipates that opening in the first few months of 2023.

“One thing leads to another,” he concedes with a chuckle.

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Chef masters unique designs and culinary classroomsQueen Cake The


To fans of the classic Alice in Wonderland, the theme was easily recognizable. A sculpted blue sugar base emblazoned with a pocket watch, keyholes and teacups. The powder pink second tier featured a bottle baring the phrase, “drink me” and mushrooms adorned with edible pearls. A white chocolate teapot precariously teetered atop the stack, a pair of stocking feet peeking out.

It was whimsical perfection, and it likely tasted that way too.

This confectionery masterpiece was the work of local culinary queen, Haley Meredith. The Glynn County native has whipped up an impressive resume. It includes a booming custom baking business called Ruby Lu’s and teaching classes at the Golden Isles College and Career Academy (GICCA).

Her journey into the wonderful world of baked goods began years ago — even before locally offered courses were titled “culinary arts.”

“I graduated from Glynn Academy then moved to Statesboro to go to Georgia Southern. But I took home (economics) here when they just started to call it ‘culinary arts,’ but I still feel like it was very much home ec,” she says with a laugh. “Ms. Riley taught it and she lived in my mom’s neighborhood, so I knew her. I loved that class. One day, we had a speaker who talked about (prestigious culinary school) Johnson and Wales. I went home and told my mom, ‘I know what I want to do, I want to be a chef.’”

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Her mother, however, was a bit less optimistic. “She was like, ‘No, you’re not. You’ll have to work when everyone else is playing. You’ll have crazy hours. You’re not going to make any money. It’s super stressful,’ and all of those things are true,” she confirms with a nod and giggle. “But, I genuinely love food. Food is my happy place.”

Meredith attended a culinary weekend program at the institute in Rhode Island, where she had her first brush with creating pastries. But much to her chagrin, she was not the one making them.

“There were two groups of kids ... one made pastries. The group I was in, we made spätzle, which is a German pasta but is considered a dumpling. When I saw what the other kids did, I got super jealous. That’s when I knew I wanted to be a pastry chef.”

But her mother, ever the grounded educator, wanted to help Meredith lay out a plan. The now-retired teacher mandated that her daughter get a four-year degree in a related field — hotel and restaurant management — while also gaining real-world experience.

Meredith obliged, working everywhere she could — from a bagel shop in Brunswick to a bakery called Sugar Magnolia in Statesboro. She also filled hostess and server positions at the Beach Club on Sea Island. Later, she would also complete a culinary externship with the world-renowned resort.

“It was at The Cloister Bake Shop. I was not prepared at all for that position ... and bless them, because they were kind to me,” she recalls with a laugh.

It may have taken her time to perfect her rosettes, but she was dedicated. Meredith graduated from Georgia Southern and moved to Atlanta to complete a nine month program at Le Cordon Bleu. After finishing up, she embarked on a culinary career in the state capital, where she also met her husband, Tim.

“In 2018, we decided to move back here to raise our kids,” she says.

That’s how she ended up in her current role — culinary arts instructor at GICCA. There, she’s partnered with fellow chef, Laura Bersticker, to lead culinary classes.



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Have a warm and cozy

“She’s my counterpart, she’s everything I’m not,” she says giggling. “But we’re a great match.”

Meredith had originally planned to spend her time off from teaching with her family — her husband, their two young sons, and dogs — however, word of her fabulous cakes spread fast and furiously, spawning another career.

“I always did cakes on the side, just from word of mouth. My best friend kept trying to get me to make a Facebook page for it, so I did,” she says. “I posted a boat for a birthday, and it went ‘viral’ in my little world because someone in St. Augustine shared it.”

It started out as a cake a week. Then, it was three cakes a week. Now, it has become a bona fide cake craze.

“I do weddings and birthdays. I regularly work until 2 to 3 in the morning. Fridays are often all-nighters,” she says. “But I love it. I am really and truly happy decorating cakes.”

Her family gets into the action as well. Her husband has helped to brainstorm the structural integrity of some of her designs.

“Like the Alice in Wonderland cake, I didn’t show the design before to my husband ... when I was making it, he was like, ‘What are you going to do?’ I told him, ‘Oh the teapot is going to pour the tea out and flow down to the teacup ... and he’s like ‘No, it’s not,” she says with

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a laugh. “So he helped me make it structurally sound … He’s a huge help.”

Family members have also lended a hand in other, sort of secret, ways. Her business name Ruby Lu’s is a combination of her maternal and paternal grandmothers’ names, both of whom helped expose and nurture her interest in food.

“It’s a combination of their names,” she explains.

As Meredith prepares for the holiday season, her family will take center stage — as will key confections in her life. From classic pecan pie to hot chocolate balls, she’s looking forward to sharing the sweet treats.

“One of the things we do every year is we make a birthday cake for Jesus, just to keep everyone focused on the reason for the season,” she says.




Dr. Lauren Whitley, MD

goal at

Our goal at Halcyon Health is to provide truly individualized, private healthcare at your doorstep, on your schedule, and at your convenience.

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SIGN UP TODAY 2485 Demere Rd., Suite 103 St. Simons Island, GA 912.634.1993 Buy a Gift for Yourself, Get a Gift to Give. Spend $200, Get $25 GIFT CERTIFICATE. GIFT CERTIFICATE. GIFT CERTIFICATE. Spend $500, Get $50 Spend $1000, Get $150 Breast Augmentation, Lift and Reduction Tummy Tuck and Liposuction Face, Neck, and Brow Lift Botox, Fillers and Y-lift Skin Tightening & Brightening Microblading Eyebrows

Peppermint Bark


• 10 oz bag of semisweet or dark chocolate chips (60-72% cocoa)

• 10 oz bag of white chocolate chips or chopped white chocolate

• ½ tsp peppermint extract

• 3/4 cup crushed peppermint pieces

Instructions: Line the back of a baking sheet with parchment paper. Heat one inch of water in a saucepan over low heat until steaming.

Place the semisweet chocolate chips in a heat proof bowl over the simmering water stirring occasionally until the chocolate has melted. Stir until smooth.

Spread the chocolate into a roughly 9”x 13” rectangle on the prepared baking sheet. Tap the tray on your counter to remove any air bubbles. Place the chocolate in the fridge for 15 minutes to set. Place the white chocolate chips in a heat proof bowl over the simmering water stirring occasionally until the chocolate has melted. Add the peppermint extract and stir until smooth.

Spread the white chocolate over the semisweet chocolate layer. Sprinkle immediately with the crushed candy canes, gently pressing them into the white chocolate. Tap the tray on your counter to remove any air bubbles and to help set the peppermint pieces.

Set aside at room temperature until firm, about one hour, or place in the fridge for 15 to 20 minutes. Lift the bark off the pan and break it into pieces. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to two weeks.

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Bubbles Browsing +

Laughter drifts through the large showroom tastefully filled with home decor. Winding through the tables adorned with perfect plates and terrific trays, one finds the source of the merriment — the Bubble Bar.

It’s become a favorite for local shoppers and visitors who frequent Two Friends, an expansive lifestyle store in Redfern Village on St. Simons Island.

The chic addition opened in 2021, joining the clothing, accessories, and decor, after the store’s owner Marti Tolleson decided to offer the luxury of sipping and shopping.

“I got my wine license and I knew I wanted to do something,” Tolleson says, standing next to the neatly displayed wine shelves.


The idea really began to take shape with the help of Priscilla Ring, a photographer who also worked as Two Friends’ social media and marketing manager, and her then-boyfriend (now fiancé) Brandon Boudreau, a certified sommelier.

“Brandon actually worked at Sea Island at the time. He started in the Georgian Room. So he came in one day and we kind of talked about it,” Tolleson says.

She wanted Boudreau to help with the formation of what would become the Bubble Bar by creating an exclusive menu.

“I didn’t want anything that you could get at the grocery store or package store. I wanted things you could only find in a really fine restaurant,” Tolleson says. “Brandon had those connections with distributors already so he was able to curate a really beautiful menu.”

Eventually, Boudreau was able to sign on as the wine director of the Bubble Bar. There, he was able to help Tolleson realize the expansive market for collectors of fine wines. Since the Bubble Bar opened in September 2021, they have offered wine by the glass or bottle, as well as bottles for purchase.


“Brandon has put together wonderful wine tastings. It’s a small, intimate group and we always sell out,” Tolleson says.

Boudreau has hosted more than 40 tastings and has yet to repeat any bottles.

“They typically highlight the finest boutique wines that have never existed on the coast of Georgia. We have brought in two master sommeliers to lead classes,” Boudreau says. “We bring in renowned specialists from all over to lead classes and showcase wines that they didn’t know they needed.”

Two Friends has also created a wine club, the Bub Club. That began in June.

“It’s curated just for our locals. It’s a great way to be introduced to new regions, like the Canary Islands. We give the members perks, and you’re able to be led through the wines via text, video, and emails,” he says.

Membership to the wine club is a popular gift idea, as

are bubbly gift baskets or bags.

Boudreau adds that part of the allure of shopping at the Bubble Bar is the ability to perfectly tailor gifts.

“Having a sommelier on staff makes it so we can make smart recommendations of small production wines that are guaranteed to make you look good. The icing on the cake is Bubble Bar and Two Friends offer in store complimentary wrapping,” he says.

“We suggest a three-pack box of hand-selected wines under a theme and pair it with our Riedel Performance wine glasses.”

Tolleson, Boudreau, and the rest of their team will be welcoming old friends as well as new faces as the shopping season commences.

“It starts on Georgia-Florida,” Tolleson says. “A lot of families come in for services. There’s a lot of fun family interactions. They love to meet up here to sip and shop.”


Holiday Pairings


Chardonnay, Domaine Jouard, Burgundy, France Burgundy is a Thanksgiving dinner no-brainer. Chardonnay from Burgundy is known for being supremely balanced in between richness and crispness. Domaine Jouard is guaranteed to cut through the opulent flavors of traditional Thanksgiving.

Pinot Noir, Sylvain Pataille, Marsannay, Burgundy, France No Thanksgiving is complete without the proper amount of Burgundy to go around. Sylvain Pataille makes a delicate style of Pinot Noir that is perfect to enhance such classics as turkey, cranberry, and stuffing.

Gamay, Anne-Sophie Dubois, Fleurie, Beaujolais, France Gamay is a grape that is a more flamboyant version of Pinot Noir. The town this Gamay is grown in is called “Fleurie,” which translates to flowers. This is a reference to the bright floral perfume that you should expect to find in this bottle. Anne-Sophie Dubois is making some of the very best Beaujolais to date and what’s better? There are literally turkeys on the label.


Riesling, Kalls, Kabinett, Pfalz, Germany

Riesling, Fritz Haag, Kabinett, Mosel, Germany

Riesling, Zilliken, Kabinett, Mosel, Germany

For glazed ham, try something slightly sweet. In the world of wine pairings, sweet plus sweet is good. Kabinett is a word on German wine bottles to describe ripeness, which typically also infers sweetness. The sweetness will enhance the flavor of the glaze and these Rieslings will have a flavorful pineapple character. Think of the classic ham and pineapple combination.



Brut Reserve, Charles Heidsieck, Champagne

If you haven’t had Charles Heidsieck before, then you have not lived. This is the epitome of great Champagne but without the price tag. Champagne is great to compliment with dessert because Champagne displays plenty of complimentary flavors such as apples, toasted nuts, brioche, and honey.

Furmint Blend, Hetszolo, Tokaji Aszu 5 Puttonyos, Hungary

Tokaji is liquid gold. The wines produced from this region in Hungary have been renowned since the 17th century by kings, queens, and popes alike. This style of dessert wine is called “noble rot,” a process that dehydrates berries to concentrate their flavor. The end result is rich flavors of apricots, honey, ginger, and saffron.

Grenache, Domaine du Mas Blanc, Hors d’Age, Banyuls, France

Banyuls is France’s answer to Port. Banyuls is a region perched on the French Mediterranean next to the Pyrenees mountain chain. They produce fortified grenache that is the quintessential chocolate pairing. This specific bottle is a blend going back to 1998.

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Christmas-themed ceremonies filled with holiday magic

Kelli Boyd Photography

As the calendar ticks toward December, many turn their thoughts to silver bells, but there are some whose minds are on bells of a differ ent kind — wedding bells. The roaring fires, twinkling lights, and gorgeous greenery can create a perfect backdrop for a Christmas time celebration.

That was certainly the case for Jeanette and Will Grayson. The couple, based in Atlanta, met during a trade show held at The Cloister at Sea Island in 2017. When they decided to make their love official, they were drawn back to the site that held so much meaning for them.

“We found each other at our wedding venue four years prior to getting married there. Being able to have our wedding was so special to the both of us,” Jeanette says.

The time of the year was also key for the couple. Their date, December 17, 2021, was just eight days from Christmas, and their wedding embraced all the sparkle of the season.

“My mom handled the majority of planning, and she couldn’t have made it more perfect. The Cloister Christmas trees and venue decorations were so beautiful,” she says.

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“But my favorite part was The Cloister chapel, an intimate ceremony with 80 of our closest loved ones in the pews. Our ceremony took place at sunset with candles lining the walkway to the chapel doors. The Spanish moss trees and gingerbread-like chapel felt like a fairytale. It was so simple, yet the most beautiful.”

After exchanging vows, the newly-minted Graysons welcomed guests for a reception in the historic resort’s clubroom — and throughout the private resort, the festive decor popped with red ribbons and bedecked evergreens. It offered a sense of timeless nostalgia.

“I have always loved Christmas. For me, it’s the nostalgia and family time that makes it so special,” she says.

“An intimate Christmas wedding has always been what I hoped for, but to have a Christmas wedding at The Cloister Chapel where I first met my husband was magical.”

Like Grayson, Christmas holds a special place in Caleigh Zeller’s heart. She married her love, Jeremy, on December 18, 2021, at another storied historic landmark, Crane Cottage on Jekyll Island. The Richmond Hill residents were sold on the location as their wedding venue the first time they visited.

“We love Jekyll Island for its beauty and relaxing environment. While exploring different venues on the island, we rode our bikes by Crane Cottage and immediately fell in love,” she says.

“The cottage and garden are stunning. It was hard to imagine our wedding anywhere else. But due to the overflow of bookings from 2020, there were limited dates available for 2021.”

Kelli Boyd Photography Kelli Boyd Photography Kelli Boyd Photography Kelli Boyd Photography
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One of the few open dates was December 18th.

“Jeremy turned to me and said, ‘Caleigh, you love Christmas time, and the entire island will be decorated.’ I was immediately sold,” she says.

The island’s historic district was all aglow when their wedding day dawned. They also found subtle ways to incorporate the holiday into their big day.

“One of the bridesmaid gifts were Christmas pajamas, which was fun to get pictures in while all of us girls got ready,” she says.

The florals were another area where they were able to embrace the Christmas spirit. They selected white roses, red hypericum berries with cedar, and ruscus greenery.

“We also added red and white poinsettias at the end of the ceremony aisle,” Zellers adds.

Another appropriately themed gift was their wedding favors, ornaments made by a close friend.

“They also served as our seating chart. We placed them on a small Christmas tree for display where our guests found their name on a tag attached to the ornament with their table number on the back,” Zellers says.

“The ornament was a small sea turtle with ‘Jekyll Island 2021’ written on the front so it could also serve as a souvenir for our out of town guests. They were painted in white and green to match our wedding colors.”

The table numbers were classic red glass balls with gold lettering hanging over cedar greenery. Once the guests found their table, they enjoyed instru

John Krivec Photography John Krivec Photography John Krivec Photography

mental Christmas music played as they enjoyed dinner.

They also made sure to capture the moment by incorporating several of Jekyll Island’s lighting displays into their photographs.

“A favorite feature of our wedding was being able to sneak away to capture some beautiful pictures with the Christmas lights. It was so fun, and the results were amazing,” Zellers says.

Looking back on their day, she wouldn’t change a thing. In fact, the holiday touches made it even more special.

“Having all of our family together to not only celebrate our wedding but also my favorite holiday where it is alway so hard to get everyone together, brought us so much joy,” she says.

While some couples may shy away from holiday nuptials for a variety of reasons, they are actually quite popular.

Cricket Elrod, Director of Catering at the Jekyll

John Krivec Photography John Krivec Photography
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Island Club Hotel, says they usually have five to 10 weddings in December.

“Christmas weddings are magical and popular here at the resort. This year we have six on the books for the month of December and may book one or two more,” she says.

There are many reasons why couples have embraced seasonal celebrations. For one, it can be budget-friendly.

“Brides can definitely save on florals and lighting being that the Historic District is decorated so beautifully for Christmas. Room rates and venues are also less expensive in December,” Elrod says.

“Weather in December here in the Golden Isles is typically great. You can be outside and there are no bugs. The only real con I can think of is sometimes

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your guests are not able to travel in December because of family engagements.”

Like the Graysons and Zellers, many couples choose to incorporate seasonal reds and greens into their color schemes through their bouquets and decor.

“Florals can be simple with greenery and berries, and of course, mistletoe and lots of candles. Holiday hors d’oeuvres are festive, and our chefs do a great job with the traditional holiday staples as well,” Elrod says. “Garland is popular on the mantels. We’ve even had brides hang stockings on the mantels and have had a visit from Santa himself at the wedding.”

It’s that kind of magic that offers an extra layer of sparkle to the beloved season. And with a little thought, a holiday ceremony can create memories that will last a lifetime.

“I think a Christmas wedding celebration is great because it is already a magical time of year, and then you add the excitement and love from a wedding and family coming together and it’s the perfect weekend,” Elrod says.

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Music Row in Nashville is strewn with the shattered dreams of worthy artists, their life’s aspirations smashed by a pitiless and fickle industry.

Then again, some musicians simply shrug it off, return home and become bankers.

But many years after just missing his shot at the big time due to bad timing and a record label’s arbitrary whims, St. Simons Island’s Mason Waters has no regrets. And do not let his sharp suit, all-biz hair cut and financial acumen fool you.

When the nights are right for it and the crowd is gathered, Mason still loves to strap on that bass guitar and find his musical groove.

He has become quite well known and in demand over the years, and not nec essarily for being a regional president at United Community Bank.

Waters’ Groove Allstars band has been a popular crowd-pleaser for years in the Golden Isles, a staple in the talented pool of local musicians and live enter tainment. And from Wise Men jamming in a manger to the “Def Shepherds” heating up the stage to biblical propor tions, nothing rocks the holidays around here quite like the Groove Allstars’ new-traditional Ludacrismas extrava ganza.

“I started the Groove Allstars in 2008 and we are still playing dates,” Mason says of the band, which lays down classic rock and funk favorites. “We like to temper a few corporate gigs these days with a few well-placed public appearances throughout the year. But there’s still noth ing like a good night at Tipsy McSway’s (in Brunswick). A gig like that cleanses the palate. And we always do some

Mthing a little extra for the Ludacrismas shows.”

Music runs in Mason’s blood, quite literally. The son of regional music legend Vic Waters, he and brother Shad grew up strumming and picking and thump ing out tunes from an early age up in McIntosh County. Shad loved the drums. Mason played a little guitar, but he even tually gravitated to the bass guitar and that instrument’s never-ceasing search for a good beat. By the time some of us inherited our dad’s chore of mowing the grass, Vic’s two sons were playing in his backup band at local venues.

“Dad bred himself a little rhythm sec tion,” says Mason, 50, a graduate of McIntosh Academy. “I was performing live shows at 11. We played Emmeline and Hessie, and Spanky’s back when it used to be over at the Marina. I’ve been in the music business just shy of 40 years.”

His father was not Mason’s only home grown musical influence. His teenage peers back in the day included folks like picker Crawford Perkins, owner of So-Glo Guitar Gallery in Brunswick, and saxo phonist/crooner extraordinaire Michael Huelett. These two and a core of other budding troubadours honed their skills together everywhere from the local mu sic store to group jams at a dad’s friend’s warehouse.

“This was a great place to cut your chops,” Mason says. “The Golden Isles had an inordinate number of good musicians. All of these guys are still part of a very vibrant scene that has always existed on the coast.”

Music paid the bills as Mason worked his way through a degree in financing at the University of Georgia. From an

endless string of frat party gigs around Athens, Mason struck out for Nashville after graduating from UGA. There he set his sights on the big time.

Mason threw his lot in with some guitar slingers in a band called Without Ruth. Their band’s power rock sound made a splash in Nashville and surrounding environs.

“We put out a solid album and had decent rotation on local radio,” Mason says. “Driving around Nashville and hear ing yourself on the radio may be one of the coolest things you can experience as a musician.”

But in the late ‘90s, as Mason recalled, the music industry’s money and attention were more focused on cho reographing saccharine sounds to the dance moves of “the bad boy,” “the sensitive boy” and “the heart throb.”

The album that was to place Without Ruth in the national spotlight ultimate ly ended up shelved by timid record execs.

“The timing was wrong for Without Ruth,” Mason says. “The fad at the time was still bubble gum pop acts and boy bands. We were guitar-driven power pop and that was still a few years off from being mainstream again.”

Mason held on to the notion that a nationally touring country act out of Nashville might need a bass player to hit the road with them. But then, in ‘99, Mason married the former Jodi Miller of Brunswick. Mason and the love of his life welcomed firstborn son Eli to the world in 2002. Still living in the heart of Nashville, with a day job in finance, Mason’s family trio decided to make a homecoming.


“We moved back home in 2004, bought a house on St. Simons Island, and we’ve been there ever since,” Mason says.

Fast forward to 2008. Tipsy’s proprietor Susan Bates casually asked Mason if he could put together an opening act for K.C. and the Sunshine Band’s gig at the Brunswick Stewbilee. Boy, could he. You see, sometime in between Without Ruth and domestic island adulting, Mason toured the Southeast with a popular disco outfit.

“We dressed the part, had choreography, it was a whole pro duction,” he says.

He recruited some of old friends and musicians he knew. “I called all the right guys and put a band together and we rehearsed a tight set and did the show,” Mason says.

K.C. and his sunshine boys never played an encore in the Gold en Isles. However, that backup band made a big splash. The Groove Allstars have been much in demand and guaranteed to draw big local crowds ever since.

“I think everybody’s favorite music is what they grew up listening to,” Mason says. “The Groove Allstars mostly do ‘70s and ‘80s funk and rock classics. We’re a party band. It’s my era, so it’s what I know.”

The Allstars’ ever-popular Ludacrismas holiday jam sprouted from a similarly-inspired vein of theatrical musicianship. That, and a realization that, at some point, most folks have had it up to their elf ears with carols, office parties and freighted spiritual reflection. Wife Jodi’s artistic flair plays a key role in the Ludacris mas theme’s design and development each year.

“It’s always been on Christmas Eve eve,” he says. “We’ve played in Santa suits, dressed as toy soldiers. We once wore biblical attire and turned the stage into a complete manger scene. But it’s all in good fun.”

So, can we expect a Ludacrismas ’22? It was too early to tell when GIM spoke with Mason back in early September. But likely as not, the Groove Allstars will once again give their friends and fans a chance to party like rock stars this holiday season.

“My guess is we will do it again,” Mason says of Ludacrismas. “We start getting a lot of inquiries around Thanksgiving, but every year we complain like an old married couple that we are too old to pull it off again. And every year we decide to give it one more go.”

In something of a family tradition, Mason has shared his love of music with son Eli, now at the Savannah Arts Academy, and with daughter Georgia, who just entered Georgia State University this fall to study music and theater. Dad even sat in on the bass during his daughter’s theatrical productions at Glynn Academy.

“My whole family has been a part of some shows with my kids on stage,” Mason said.

Mason’s musical inspiration begins and ends with the iconic Prince, but everything from the rock classics to bluegrass finds a niche in between. Disco? Rock-n-roll? Rhythm and blues? Country? If it has a good beat, this veteran musician can strap on that bass guitar and join right in.

In fact, if the whole bank executive gig ever goes sour, Mason has a fallback.“That might be my retirement plan,” he says. “I don’t care what kind of music it is, as long as it feels good, and it’s fun ... I love it.”

92 GOLDEN ISLES SWEETS SIDE: Old fashion cupcakes, cakes, sweet potato bread, cookies, brownies,pound cake and more… SPECIALITY RECIPES: Homemade crabcakes, Pasta salad, hibiscus mango tea & pineapple lemonade SERVICES: We cater to schools, parties, weddings, business meetings and much more! We have individual items for grab & go. Bulk orders are available! VOTED BEST CRAB CAKES IN THE GOLDEN ISLES CRAB CAKES & Dat Sauce TASTE OF GLYNN AWARD WINNING 5010 ALTAMA AVE • BRUNSWICK, GA (MONDAY-FRIDAY) MARY ROSS PARK FARMERS MARKET (SATURDAYS ONLY) Linda’s Cupcakes, Crab Cakes and More @lindascupcakesandmore to family, friends and spending time with each other. 3304 Glynn Ave, Brunswick | 912- 264-3695 | Make the holiday season special. We’ve got the best prices, best selection , and best service in town.J Cheers



Craig Farnswirth, left, and Dave Loehle The Golden Isles Woodworkers and Woodturners recently joined St. Simons abstract painter Ute Kleemann-Sportschuetz for an exhibition at Goodyear Cottage on Jekyll Island. For details on the Jekyll Island Arts Association, visit Details on Kleeman-Sportschuetzʼs work can be found at
Debbie and Con Holland Woodworkers and Woodturners Herb Miles, from left, Karen Grogan, and Paul Speich Peter Barlett, from left, Gerald Dukes, Barbara Hahn, and Leon Felps Nicole and Tim Sportschuetz Ute Sportschuetz Alex and Caroline Mayfield The 53rd American Cancer Society Victory Boardʼs Gala of Hope was recently held at Forbes Farm on St. Simons Island. The black-tie event included silent and live auctions, a strolling reception, dinner, and cocktails. Proceeds from the fundraiser benefited the American Cancer Society and Jacksonvilleʼs Hope Lodge. Barbara Hull, left, and Keri Anderson Ben and Kathy Huvert Brad Proctor, from left, Jo Nash, and Jason Hooper Brett Nobles, left, and Matthew Stanford Ginny Strowe, from left, Katie Knox, Kacee Reagan, Melissa Purvis, and Brooke Ackerman Julie and Joel Willis Kimsey and Brad Shanks, from left, Mikki and Kris Maichle Joann Muzar, left, and Christy Kinsey Photo assistance by Jan Bone


Amy and Andy Broderick Operation Bed Spread recently hosted its annual back to school fundraiser at Brogenʼs South on St. Simons Island. Local band Idle Hands provided entertainment and raffles were held. The nonprofitʼs next event will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. December 9 at Ziggy Mahoneyʼs on St. Simons Island. For details, visit Photo assistance by Jan Bone
Ann Marie and John Dalis Beth and Bud Reader Caroline Carter, left, and Haley Allen Evelyn Murphy, left, and Gail Disk Justin Morris, left, and Brooke Baskin Richie Mayas, left, and Tammy Dunn Tracy Wagner, left, and Georgia Kellogg
Brad and Kate Danowski The Coastal Georgia Historical Society recently hosted
a celebration
Attendees gathered on the lawn
listen to
music by
Rider. They also enjoyed a laser light show depicting the lighthouseʼs history. For more
information on
the history of the structure, visit
Duane and Bob Swinehart Keith and Carol Stock Lasse Gammage, from left, Jane Brown, and Matilon Tillitski Phillip Wilheit, from left, Duane Harris, and Tim Lowe Susane Buckley, from left, John Traci Lowe, from left, Carol Harris, and Mary Hart Wilheit Vicky Lathop, from left, Dottie and
NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2022 95 •223 MaLlErY StReEt St. SiMoNs IsLaNd, Ga 912-634-5515 •• 549 OceAn BoUleVaRd St. SiMoNs IsLaNd, Ga 912-634-5168 •


Kasey Rowell | 912.577.2111

Jenn Agnew | 706.593.9493



The Coastal Symphony of Georgia recently kicked off its 2022 to 2023 season ̶ and its 40th year ̶ with an opening performance at Brunswick High School. Selections included works by Antonin Dvorak, Walter Piston, and Amy Beach. The next concert will be November 7. For details, visit

Saint Simons By The Sea Behavioral Health is celebrating 40 years of service in 2022!

have been serving Coastal Georgia's mental health and substance use disorder treatment needs since 1982.


Deborah Wright, left, and Becky Farrow Gerit Alexander, left, and Gail Johnson Bob McCammon, left, and Jeanne Pescitelli Members of the Golden Isles Youth Symphony Suzanne Morrison, from left, Marjorie Mathieu, and Tres Hamilton Terri Jaensch, left, and Dottie Fielder
If you or a loved one are experiencing a mental health
or are struggling with substance abuse, call us 24/7 for a confdential, no-cost assessment. Reach out to us today for a No-Cost Assessment 912.638.1999 /
By the sea & By your side for 40 years!

College is better by the beach!

Not everyone gets to go to college in paradise.

But for students at the College of Coastal Georgia, the Golden Isles is where they learn, study, and play.

Part of the University System of Georgia, Coastal Georgia offers challenging academics, unmatched affordability, and competitive athletics--all in a vibrant, collegiate, coastal community.

Named the #1 Best Value school in the state and just minutes from the beach... it any wonder that students love the College of Coastal Georgia?

Come experience for yourself.




An evening to honor and remember loved ones and caregivers.

Lights in Honor of or in Memory of are available for $25. Thursday, Dec. 8, 2022 6–7 p.m.

Southeast Georgia Health System Foundation Nunnally House and Gumaer Gardens

Call 912-466-3360 to donate or visit
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