In the summertime ...
Looking back at the 50-year history of our company, we recall the challenges of the early days, and one of them was what to do in the summer. The magazine did not publish for several months, and the reason was the perception that many among our natural market were not here. It came as a surprise to learn how many of our readers spent much of the summer in the mountains of North Carolina. Another surprise was learning that there were mountains in North Carolina, somehow having forgotten that some years before we made a speech in Asheville. Maybe we did not realize we were in North Carolina.
We responded to this revelation by starting to cover the mountains, principally Highlands and Blowing Rock, at opposite ends of the Great Smoky Mountains range.
Eventually, over several decades, we got to know dozens more places where Floridians vacationed, or bought second homes. Sapphire Valley, near Cashiers (pronounced Cashers) was just underway in the early ’70s; a local company was heavily involved. We recall bouncing along muddy construction roads, pretending to be interested for the benefit of the public relations person escorting us. Little did we know that 40 years later, our kids would buy a place on Bald Rock, the highest point of that development.
We also investigated other escapes favored by our readers. They included one who had a place in the Thousand Islands on the St. Lawrence River.
Then, a few years later, we thought it might be fun to follow those who stay home and have fun. And those people were part of our natural audience – business professionals who had to be at work even in the summer. “Notes from the Tavern Culture” not only attracted a new audience, it also resulted in a noticeable increase in restaurant advertising when the next “season” arrived.
So, decades later, not much has changed. This issue features “The Art of the Brunch,” the best brunches in the area (p. 86). Managing Editor Jennifer Tormo includes descriptions of the cocktails and dishes featured at these establishments. It’s a more sophisticated and infinitely better designed section by our 40-something art director, Craig Cottrell. It is a contemporary spin on our 1970s idea. Might even have been called “Notes from the Brunch Culture.”
The extensive travel section on page 58 is another stay-at-home feature – these are Florida getaways for people who don’t have the luxury of three months in North Carolina or Saratoga Springs. It’s the work of Jennifer and Associate Editor Heather Carney.
Finally – and this is something we could not have in years past – on page 46, Jennifer and Heather profile people known by a term that everybody uses today: blogger. The bloggers vary from specialists in pretty frocks to politics. Again, unlike in the past, “The Stars of the Summer” can be followed from the mountains, or anywhere the Internet follows you.