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helm017fixedYou think you know a place.

You live here for 25 years, you feel like you have the lay of the land, you cultivate the properly local “been there, done that” attitude, and then something amazing comes along, and suddenly you look just a little closer at the place where you live.

It’s been a running joke around the Monthly offices for years that I have a certain phobia about crossing the bridge. It doesn’t have anything to do with the bridge itself or some kind of hydrophobia on my part.

helm003fixedI’m always fascinated by the journey we take over the course of four weeks here at Monthly, from the first brainstorming sessions to the final dash to finish the magazine before deadline. Sometimes the ideas come from readers, sometimes from friends. This month, one of our main feature articles started with a question.

“When’s the last time any of us got out on the water for fun?”

at_the_helmIn the spirit of this issue’s “Stuff my Mom Says” feature, I’ve decided to share a little nugget of wisdom from my own mom, up above. She always told us that “A happy mom makes a happy baby,” and in this issue I’m really seeing the wisdom behind that sentiment.

Beyond my two girls, I’ve always considered Monthly to be my “baby.” I’ve nurtured it for more than 20 years, watching it grow from little more than a community newsletter to the magazine you hold in your hands. And now, I say with no small amount of maternal pride, I’m watching it grow again.

Starting with this issue, Monthly will be available in a digital, iPad-friendly format.

at_the_helmNow is not the time to rehash the emotional journey that led us to this, the 44th Heritage. We all lived it together. As a community, we shared a slow-burning dread when Verizon left town. We shared the odd mix of pride and fear when the Heritage folks took the reins, flying without a sponsor last year, knowing full well it could be the last one. And we cheered, gasped in relief and came together as one when RBC and Boeing picked up the torch.

OK, so maybe it is the time to rehash this journey, because it’s worth celebrating that we’ve reached its conclusion.

What do you think of the new look? Personally, I think the purple feather boa look is going to be huge this season (it’s certainly more fashionable than the rest of our photobooth props—bunny ears and googly-eye hats).

What a difference 150 years can make, huh? On Nov. 7, 1861, ships from the United States Navy circled Port Royal Sound, while Confederate soldiers on Hilton Head’s Fort Walker prepared for war. Fast forward to 150 years later and, around Fort Walker, you’re more likely to find a Yankee and a Southerner lobbing tennis balls at one another than cannon balls.

Needless to say, we as a nation have come a long way toward healing those old wounds over the last century or so. Our cover photo was inspired by the upcoming commemoration of the “War of Northern Aggression,” and we’re happy to say all of our re-enactors got along without even once opening fire on one another.

lori_for_webOctober always marks a special time in the Lowcountry calendar. It is when we just begin to feel autumn creeping up on us (while our friends in the north are already sick of raking leaves) and we can finally get out the sweaters, pull out all the fall decorations and stock up on firewood. (Then again, I tend to keep the fireplace roaring even during open-window season, so the firewood was going to happen regardless).

How much do we love September? After such a hot, humid summer it’s so nice to walk outside and not feel like you have to go right back in for another shower. It’s also nice to be able to get right into your favorite restaurants, and not have to fight crowds every weekend.

A week and a half before we went to press with this July issue, we got the news we’d been waiting to hear for 18 months: the Heritage had a new sponsor. I can tell you that everyone here in the office breathed a sigh of relief.

I can say it now: Things felt different at the tournament this past April, with the concern that an event that had come to define Hilton Head might not be around anymore. The attendance was amazing and the tournament was a blast, as it always is, but in the back of my mind there was a nagging feeling of doom and gloom. Well, thankfully that feeling is no more! Thanks to the new title sponsor RBC and presenting sponsor Boeing the tournament is guaranteed for at least five more years.

Hearing the announcement was like a breath of fresh air; when Gov. Nikki Haley stood at the podium and made the announcement you could almost feel the excitement in the room. Thanks to RBC and Boeing for helping us continue this beloved event. And our very own James McMahon tells you about the future of the tournament on page 34.

Elsewhere in this jam-packed issue of Monthly, we’ve scoured the island for the best bike paths and trails and come up with a great pullout map that spotlights some of the island’s lesser-known routes. Whether you ride casually or competitively, you must check out our special biking section this month: learn the rules, find new places to ride and meet some of the island’s most accomplished riders (including Josh Barrett, who appears on our cover in a photo by Rob Kaufman).

Of course there is so much more to read in this July issue: Part 2 of our “Seven Wonders” series, looking over the bridge to Bluffton, a guide to the area’s July 4 fireworks; a look into the South Carolina Barbeque Association, interviews with local band Deas Guyz and Lowcountry author Mary Alice Monroe and so much more. Sit back and dig into the July Monthly!