Monthly Archives: January 2024

The Wishing Game by Meg Shaffer

Literary Loop

Lucy Hart is a 26-year-old kindergarten teacher’s assistant, desperate to adopt her orphaned former student, Christopher Lamb. Unfortunately, she lacks the funds. When she wins a chance to compete in a game devised by reclusive children’s book author Jack Masterson, she hopes the competition will be the answer to her problems.

Jack has finally written the next installment in his Clock Island series, and he decides whoever wins his competition can do whatever they like with the only copy of his book. Four competitors descend on the eponymous Clock Island — all of them former runaways who had gone to Jack’s island as children seeking reprieve from less-than-idyllic circumstances, and all of whom, in adulthood, have problems that only Jack can solve.

His game starts off as a series of riddles (ones that readers will enjoy solving alongside the competitors) but quickly turns into something deeper as Jack, acting in the role of the Mastermind from his books, makes the competitors confront their traumas.

“Our list of must-read fiction books wouldn’t be complete without this novel that reminds readers of the power books hold between their pages,” says Reader’s Digest.

“Shaffer blends tragedy and triumph in a whimsical and gratifying debut about what makes a family. This is wish fulfillment in the best way,” says Publishers Weekly.

Kick — INXS

Listen To This

poet Michael HutchenceThe beauty and mysterious allure of music is often discovered and rediscovered through a sonic vortex that stirs emotions, preserves time and evokes a passionate connection to personal experiences. Memories are forever time capsuled and new ones created. As we float through the tunnel of winter, a pitstop in the music vault of love is the perfect remedy for thawing the soul.

In 1987, the Aussie quintette INXS dropped their love boat-sized iconic album, Kick. While this may not be your typical Valentine’s Day spin, Kick is a magnetic rhythm machine with sensual undertones that makes it the perfect soundtrack for stringing the bow for Cupid’s arrows.

From the jump, it is an energetic and somewhat rebellious record with the punchy “Guns in the Sky,” but the mood swerves swiftly to the sultry and seductive classic, “Need You Tonight,” and the electric bouquet of rock, “Never Tear Us Apart.” An assorted box of funk, pop and orchestral-waltz vibes ignites the flames of desire.

The late, great pop-poet Michael Hutchence croons with warm charismatic swagger to make Kick an unforgettable soundtrack for this season of love, romance and ear-candy. The rolling love sonic-coaster delivers the perfect loops, hooks and speed to make the heart race, emotions jump and head spin.

Let INXS Kick-start the jams and “Mystify” your love journey with a stirring “New Sensation.”

– Chris Rucker

The Thrill of Victory

Beyond the Peach State

The Florida Man GamesWatch — or dare to compete in — the zaniest new athletic competition this side of the Everglades.

We’ve all seen the headlines, and the competition to determine which one is the most absurd is fierce:

Florida man tries to evade arrest by cartwheeling away from cops.

Florida man arrested while trying to get into a police car to threaten someone.

Florida man drives stolen truck to Space Force base to warn of a battle between aliens and dragons.

Florida man learns hard way he stole laxatives, not opioids.

Florida man trapped in an unlocked closet for two days.

Florida man Googles self to find out which Florida man he is.

Now’s your chance, however, to see these guys in action for yourself at the inaugural Florida Man Games.

The event was inspired by the Sunshine State’s reputation for its offbeat news stories that typically feature wild police chases, guns, drugs, reptiles – or some combination of the aforementioned instruments of chaos and commotion.

According to the website, “The Florida Man Games is where the bizarre meets brawn and sanity is optional. This isn’t just a competition; it’s a one-of-a-kind Floridian spectacle.”

No wonder organizers call the event “the most insane athletic showdown on Earth.”

Florida-Style Obstacle Courses
Truthfully, athletic prowess also may be optional for the competition that was dreamed up by St. Augustine resident and media outlet owner Pete Melfi. As if hurricane season has blown into Florida early this year, however, the games are bound to take the state by storm.

After all, with the Florida-style obstacle courses that the contestants must master, the games will resemble a veritable sanctioned crime spree as competitors vie for the coveted gator head trophy.

The event includes the Weaponized Pool Noodle Mud Duel, where adversaries test their strength inside a massive above-ground pool called the Florida Man Games Colosseum.

In the Evading Arrest Obstacle Course, “escapees” jump over fences and run through yards with actual sheriff’s deputies hot on their heels.

With the Category 5 Cash Grab, Florida men can scoop up easy money as they battle hurricane-level gusts in a wind-blowing booth while they scramble to catch as much real cash as they can.

Wannabe wrestlers will try to blast their opponent out of the ring in the Beer Belly Florida Sumo.

In another opportunity to live a day in the life of a Florida man headline, rivals square off head-to-head in a race with two bikes and a handful of copper pipes in the Race Against Time with a Catalytic Converter.

Two former stars of the 1990s TV show American Gladiators, Dan “Nitro” Clark and Lori “Ice” Fetrick, who also appeared in Netflix’s Muscles & Mayhem, will judge the events.

Fun For All
For those who aren’t part of a team on the main events field, Florida Man Games activities will be available all day long for spectators to challenge each other in their own competitions.

They can try to best each other in contests such as the Mechanical Gator Ride, Florida Sumo, Weaponized Pool Noodles and Obstacle Course. Of course, snapping selfies with alligators will be all but mandatory as well.

Spectators also can soak up Florida culture with alligator shows, datil pepper (Florida’s hot pepper) vendors, SWAT vehicles and more.

Other entertainment – as if any more is required – includes a Mullet Contest, the Florida Ma’am Pinup competition and Chicken Coop Bingo.

Don’t worry if all these fun and games give you a gator-sized appetite. Award-winning pit masters will be on hand to dish out mouthwatering BBQ throughout the day.

The competition will draw to a close with the 911 Fight Night: Brawl of the Badges between police officers and firefighters. In this epic showdown, these public safety heroes clash in an intense battle to prove who’s the toughest behind the badge.

Get ready to rumble, and let the games begin.

If You Go:

What: Florida Man Games

When: 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. Saturday, February 24, gates open 10 a.m.

Where: Francis Field, 25 West Castillo Drive, St. Augustine, Florida

How Much: $45 – $145

More Info:

By Morgan Davis

King Cake


King Cake baby recipeTradition dictates that whoever finds the miniature plastic baby embedded in the cake is named king or queen of the party and has to bring the cake next year.


  • 1 packet (.25-ounce) active dry yeast 1/4 cup warm water (110-115 degrees) 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened 1 cup warm milk (110-115 degrees)
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 1/2 – 4 cups all-purpose flour, divided

Cinnamon Filling:

  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted


  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1-2 tablespoons milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla (clear, if available)
  • Purple, yellow and green colored sugar
  • Mini plastic baby

    Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper; set aside. In a large bowl, add yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar to warm water and stir gently to coat yeast. Let set to proof 5-10 minutes or until bub-bly. Add 1/4 cup sugar, butter, milk, eggs, salt and 2 cups flour; beat until smooth. Gradually add more flour until dough forms soft ball (it will be sticky). Turn dough onto floured surface and knead until dough is smooth and elastic. Form into ball and place in greased bowl, turning dough over to coat all sides. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise 45-60 minutes until dough is doubled in size. Punch dough down and turn onto lightly floured surface. Roll out into a rectangle 10-by-20 inches.

    For filling, combine brown sugar, cin-namon and pecans in a small bowl. Melt butter and stir into mixture until combined. Sprinkle over dough, leaving a half-inch border around the edges. Roll dough lengthwise, jelly-roll style, and pinch seam to seal. Place on prepared baking sheet and form a circle, pinching edges together tightly. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise 45-60 minutes or until almost double in size. About 20 minutes before rise is done, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake 25-35 minutes or until golden brown and then cool on a wire rack.

    For glaze, whisk together all ingredi-ents in a small bowl until smooth and you have desired consistency. Spoon onto cooled cake and top with bands of colored sugar. Before serving, gently embed the baby up underneath the bottom side of the cake. Makes 14 servings.

Now They’re Cooking

In The Home


Photography by Sally Kolar

This kitchen remodel is a recipe for success for an Evans couple.

When Heather and Fain Dye bought their Jones Creek Plantation home in 2018, there was no doubt that they had found a house with staying power.

“We knew this is where we want to be. We love the structure, but we knew when we walked in that we were going to make some changes,” says Heather. “We just wanted to update the home to our liking.”

From remodeling the living room and master bath to replacing the outside deck to installing a swimming pool, they have done a remodeling project just about every year.

Their most recent project was a complete remodel of the kitchen. They talked to friends to get ideas and Heather looked on Pinterest to see what she could find. She started printing out pictures of everything she liked and put them in a file.

“When I look at the pictures I printed from Pinterest, it looks like my kitchen,” she says.

Black and White
Heather always has had wood kitchens, and originally, the house had red cherry cabinets. While she liked the footprint of the kitchen, she wanted to use different colors to remodel the room.

She worked with Cindy Donaldson of SweetlyDStressed to redo the cabinetry. Cindy hand-painted the cabinets Peppercorn by Sherwin-Williams and updated the hardware with brushed bronze cabinet door handles.

The Dyes also got all new appliances and replaced the granite island and perimeter countertops with Taj Mahal quartzite. When installing the backsplash, they used white rough-edge subway tile to give it texture.

“I was worried about going with black cabinets with the white tile and countertops,” says Heather.

They also added LED lights in the ceiling and replaced the two-sided stainless steel sink, which had a shallow and a deep side, with a large porcelain ceramic sink.

“I like how the new sink is long and open,” Heather says. “You can put anything in it.”

Lighter and Brighter
With a diagonal edge on one end that offers great storage space, the island has an irregular shape. While this edge was exposed in the original design, the new countertop extends past it in the remodel. That edge not only offers extra prep and dining space, however.

“We’ve had a few ping pong tournaments on top of the island,” Heather says.

They also replaced the square pendant light above the island with a pair of gold hammered Moroccan drum lights.

“I wanted to do something modern, but I didn’t want it to be too futuristic,” Heather says. “I wanted the kitchen to be lighter and brighter.”

With the remodel, she achieved her objective.

“We have a lot of good natural light in the kitchen during the day, but the kitchen is so much brighter now,” says Heather. “The lighter countertops have made a huge difference.”

In addition, they replaced the dark brown leather studded stools with two light wood seats. “I like to sit and have people hang out in the kitchen,” says Heather.

After all, almost every kitchen conjures up memories of family and togetherness.

“My dad loved to cook, but he had a small kitchen,” Heather says. “He said, ‘This is a mighty big kitchen to eat a bowl of cereal in.’”

Maybe so, but she couldn’t be happier with the remodeled space.

“It’s like the movie 50 First Dates,” says Heather. “Every morning, I walk in the room and say, ‘I love my kitchen.’”

By Betsy Gilliland

Myers Family Dental

Dental Care

At Myers Family Dental, your comfort and confidence are just as important as your teeth. That’s why we take great care of both the smile and the person behind it. Our mission is to provide the highest quality dentistry and patient care available from a dentist in Augusta. We offer a full range of treatment options that can be personalized to meet your unique needs and expectations.

We always welcome new patients of every age. Whether you are new to Augusta or seeking an improved dental experience, we invite you to call our office for additional information.

581 Furys Ferry Road
Martinez, GA 30907

(706) 738-7742

Appointments: visit our website

Voted BEST Dentist in Columbia County

Martinez Animal Hospital

Dental Care

Martinez Animal Hospital was founded in 1970 by Dr. Grayson Brown and Dr. James Wilkes. We practice small animal medicine, as well as equine, and exotics. Our team of doctors and medical staff are like one big family, and we take pride in providing the best quality care to you and your pet!

February is National Pet Dental Health Month!


3942 Washington Rd. Martinez, GA 30907

Hospital Hours
Monday – Friday:
08:00AM – 05:30PM

Animal Dentistry Augusta

Trotter Orthodontics

Dental Care

Dr. Barrett Trotter and Dr. Paul Trotter have the expertise and experience to customize the best treatment plan, which will address your unique needs and goals. They will carefully listen to your concerns and your treatment goals to provide each patient with the compassionate and individualized care that you expect and deserve.

To meet patient goals and needs, Trotter Orthodontics offers many options to patients of all ages.

Augusta Location:
525 Pleasant Home Road
Augusta, Georgia 30907
(706) 860-2442

Evans Location:
4101 Amberley Trail
Evans, Georgia 30809
(706) 860-2442

Or visit us at :

Augusta Orthodontics 100 BEST

Jordan Family Dentistry

Dental Care

Columbia County native Dr. Melissa Jordan provides the same high-quality, compassionate and individualized dental care she wants for her family in the comfortable, relational and trusting environment you want for yours.


(706) 619-1733

100 Best in Augusta Dental

Mediterranean Fish Soup

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil 1 onion, chopped 2 large garlic cloves, sliced 2 stalks celery, chopped 2 medium carrots, chopped 1 bay leaf 1 sprig fresh thyme Pinch red pepper flakes 1 teaspoon sea salt Black pepper, to taste 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric 1 scallion, chopped 2/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped, divided 3/4 pound chopped tomatoes 1/2 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and diced 2 1/4 cups chicken or vegetable stock 3/4 pound fish fillets (halibut, cod, sole, red snapper or sea bass), cut into chunks  3/4 pound large shrimp  Heat butter and olive oil in a heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, garlic, celery and carrots; sauté about 6 minutes or until tender. Add bay leaf, thyme, red pepper flakes, 1 teaspoon salt, pepper, turmeric, scallion and half the parsley. Gently cook for 2 minutes or until fragrant. Add tomatoes and stir to combine. Add potatoes and stock; bring to a boil. Lower to simmer and cook, covered, about 10 minutes until potatoes are tender. Add fish and cook, uncovered, about 3 minutes. Add shrimp and cook about 2 minutes more until shrimp is pink and fish is cooked through. Taste and adjust seasonings, if needed. Garnish with remaining parsley. Makes 4 servings.2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 large garlic cloves, sliced
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 scallion, chopped
  • 2/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped, divided
  • 3/4 pound chopped tomatoes
  • 1/2 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 2 1/4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 3/4 pound fish fillets (halibut, cod, sole, red snapper or sea bass), cut into chunks
  • 3/4 pound large shrimp

Heat butter and olive oil in a heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, garlic, celery and carrots; sauté about 6 minutes or until tender. Add bay leaf, thyme, red pepper flakes, 1 teaspoon salt, pepper, turmeric, scallion and half the parsley. Gently cook for 2 minutes or until fragrant. Add tomatoes and stir to combine. Add potatoes and stock; bring to a boil. Lower to simmer and cook, covered, about 10 minutes until potatoes are tender. Add fish and cook, uncovered, about 3 minutes. Add shrimp and cook about 2 minutes more until shrimp is pink and fish is cooked through. Taste and adjust seasonings, if needed. Garnish with remaining parsley. Makes 4 servings.

Wall-to-Wall Wow Factor

In The Home
Ashley Ford’s Lincolnton home

Photography by Joe Bailey

From the foyer to the covered porch, this Lincolnton home is full of surprises.

If the walls of Ashley Ford’s Lincolnton home, where she lives with husband Patrick and sons Will Ford and Brent Harsey, could talk, they likely would say she has an eye for design.

“I like design,” says Ashley, who owns cabinet painting company Southern Swag and served as general contractor for the construction of their home. “Not everybody can visualize things, but it’s my business. I like helping people visualize things and making it happen.”

She hired subcontractors to start building in January 2022, and the family moved into the house in October 2022.

“It probably was the most fun I’ve ever had,” Ashley says. “I loved watching it from the slab being poured to the roof being shingled.”

From hanging wallpaper to painting outdoor flooring, her mother, Dee Tinley, who lives in a mother-in-law suite at the house, helped as well. “She was my support system,” says Ashley.

Photography by Joe Bailey‘Wow’ Moment

To design the home, Ashley found a house plan that she liked and started tweaking it to meet their needs. She says the most difficult part of building was getting the plan the way she wanted it, but there were certain features she definitely had in mind.

“I did not want an open floor plan,” she says. “I like walls. I like art, pictures and mirrors that I can hang on the walls.”

The wall between the foyer and the dining room is a work of art itself.

To accent this wall, Ashley found vintage doors at Charles Phillips Antiques in Theodore, Alabama, outside of Mobile. She is a longtime follower of the shop on Facebook, so she decided to visit the store in person.

When she first spotted the doors, they were filled with colored antique glass and some of the panes were broken. More importantly, however, she saw their potential.

She had new glass installed, painted the doors and framed one in each wall on either side of the entryway from the foyer to the dining room. The stunning results speak for themselves.

“It was just something I visualized when I saw those doors in Alabama,” says Ashley. “I wanted people to have a “Wow!” moment when they came in the house.”

The wide foyer also features a distressed white chest against the opposite wall, which is accented with wallpaper. With a frame that is made of antique wooden fishing lures, a round mirror above the chest is an eye-catching conversation piece as well.

Hickory wood flooring, which is found throughout the house, extends from the foyer into the dining room, where a white chandelier hangs from the tongue-and-groove cathedral ceiling. Furnishings include a black china cabinet and a farmhouse table with an upholstered, skirted chair at each end and a pair of cane-back chairs on either side.

A rug with a black and white diamond pattern ties the décor together.

Gathering Spots

The dining room also shares the cathedral ceiling with the kitchen, which is Ashley’s favorite room in the house.

“It has a great flow,” she says. “So many people can get in the kitchen, and the island is big enough for everyone to gather around it.”

With quartz countertops, large workspace and lots of drawers, the island is the focal point of the room. A wooden candlestick and greenery atop a two-tiered dessert stand accent the island, and two round, four-candle light pendants hang above it.

Other kitchen features include a farmhouse sink, stainless steel appliances, brushed gold hardware, custom-built cabinetry and a custom wood range hood. The hardware includes knobs on the cabinets and long handles on the drawers.

The ceramic tile backsplash, with its vertical tiles and herringbone pattern above the cooktop, is another prominent attribute in the kitchen. “I had one backsplash put up, but I decided I wanted something different,” Ashley says.

A white lamp and greenery bring a homey feel to the space.

Ashley also added a wall between the living room and kitchen to the floor plan.

In the living room, rich blue pillows and window treatments accent the white, beige and gray color scheme. The space also features a raised-hearth, wood-burning, brick fireplace with a custom-made white oak mantel.

Furnishings include a leather ottoman between two couches and two chairs against the wall that separates the living room and kitchen. Bringing the colors in the room together, two large side-by-side paintings featuring a heron found the perfect home on the wall.

Ashley Ford’s Lincolnton homeNatural Flow

The master bedroom, another one of Ashley’s favorite spots in the house, has a natural flow to the master bath, walk-in closet and laundry room.

“I like the bedroom because it’s cozy,” she says.

Ashley and her mother hung the wallpaper on an accent wall in the master bedroom and the master bath, and Ashley also painted a console table and a dresser in the bedroom. While the console has a retro look, the sage green dresser features a large gold diamond on each column of drawers.

Two square wood ottomans rest at the base of the canopy bed, which features an upholstered, studded headboard and footboard. A pair of serpentine nightstands flank either side of the bed, and a door leads to the covered porch outside.

Photography by Joe BaileyThe master bath features tile flooring, quartz countertops, a double vanity and a walk-in shower with two half-walls, a hexagon tile floor and tile walls.

A starburst light fixture and built-ins accent the walk-in closet, while the connecting laundry room/mudroom features tile flooring, ample cabinet space, a built-in bench and a striking light fixture.

“The light fixture is made out of a plastic material,” says Ashley. “It’s very interesting, fun and catches your attention as you walk in the door.”

The décor in the boys’ bedrooms illustrates their interests as well. Will’s bedroom highlights his love of sports, and Brent’s room showcases his outdoorsmanship. Two upholstered cube ottomans sit at the foot of the bed in both of their rooms.

In the Jack-and-Jill bath that separates their bedrooms, a pair of clerestory windows above the double vanity lets in natural light. The bath also has tile flooring, quartz countertops and a pocket door that leads to the tile, walk-in shower.

In Dee’s mother-in-law suite, which has a separate entrance, abstract art and blue kitchen cabinets liven up the space.

“It’s so bright in here in the morning, so we went with color on the cabinets,” says Dee.

The suite also includes LVP flooring, a sitting area, an eating area with a wood pedestal table and two chairs, a bedroom and a bath.

Breaking Down Barriers

The outdoor living space of the home, which is situated on 4-plus acres of land, is just as inviting as the interior.

Ashley and her mother painted the black and white squares on the concrete floor of the covered porch, which overlooks the saltwater pool. The porch also features a tongue-and-groove ceiling and an eating area with a wood table and wicker chairs.

In addition, the sitting area has two ceiling fans with lights, a TV on the wall, a rug and metal furnishings including two loveseats and two chairs.

The front porch features a brick floor, tongue-and-groove ceiling, recessed lighting and a porch swing on either end. Bronze metal roofing covers the front porch as well as the two dormer windows on the side of the house.

Ashley and Dee also installed the shutters on either side of the three sets of double doors that lead into the house. They hung the Bahama shutters on windows to the laundry room and Brent’s bedroom as well.

As much as Ashley likes separating the rooms in the house with walls, however, she might enjoy breaking down barriers even more. She takes great pride in her skills in a male-dominated field, but she would love to have company.

“I think more women need to do this type of work,” she says.

By Betsy Gilliland

On the Beaten Path

Jekyll Island tradition Island Treasures

Photos courtesy of Jekyll Island Authority

Search for treasures in plain sight during this inventive Jekyll Island tradition.

A day at the beach can bring out anyone’s inner child, and Jekyll Island has found a way to captivate the young at heart with Island Treasures.

In this hide-and-seek-style activity that runs all day every day during January and February, people can search for plastic globes that volunteers called Beach Buddies “hide” around the island. Lucky island combers who find one can redeem it for a real glass-blown globe.

“It’s an annual tradition that people really enjoy,” says Kathryn Hearn, the Jekyll Island Authority marketing communications manager. “It’s a good way for them to get out and explore parts of Jekyll Island that they have never seen before. Most people go to the beach or the Historic District when they visit, but Island Treasures creates excitement around the entire island. People really get into the treasure hunt aspect of it.”

The event is a great way to create memories, and since the globes also are available for purchase to those who don’t find one, no one has to go home empty-handed. They sell for $85 at the Jekyll Island Guest Information Center or online.

‘Accessible to All’

While Island Treasures started more than 22 years ago, the colorful, coveted orbs date back to the early 1900s when East Coast fishermen used hollow glass balls, or floats, on their nets as markers.

Occasionally, the floats would break loose and wash ashore for beachcombers to find and keep. In the 1950s, collecting these rare, highly sought-after glass floats became a hobby.

Jekyll Island selects two or three artisans from across the country to create the one-of-a-kind glass-blown objects every year. This year Seattle-based Mark Elllinger and Loretta Eby of Georgia made the globes.

Each Island Treasure, which is about half the size of a soccer ball, has a distinct abstract design with varying colorations.

Beach Buddies place them around the island any time of the day or night. They typically hide about 200 plastic globes during the two months, putting out two or three on weekdays and about five on weekends.

The volunteers receive special training before the annual event, and their identity is kept secret. Globe seekers are asked to refrain from following Beach Buddies – or anyone they think is a Beach Buddy – for safety reasons and to ensure that the hunt is fair for everyone.

“The globes are accessible to all. They’re hidden in plain sight on a bench or by a bike rack or on a nature trail,” says Hearn.

Timing is Everything

The best places to look for the plastic globes are in common areas such as Great Dunes Beach Park, Driftwood Beach, St. Andrews Beach Park, Horton House, the Historic District and the Beach Village.

While the 20-acre Great Dunes Beach Park, which features multiple recreation areas, is Jekyll Island’s most popular family beach, Driftwood Beach is made up of sun-bleached trees worn down by storms and erosion over time.

Located on the southern-most tip of the island, St. Andrews Beach Park is a great place to see wildlife such as migratory birds and pods of dolphins.

St. Andrews also is home to the Wanderer Memory Trail, which tells the story of one of America’s last known slave ships, the Wanderer.

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the 1743 Horton House is one of the oldest tabby buildings in Georgia.

Although the Historic District offers a selection of gift shops and Jekyll Island collectibles, the Beach Village is the epicenter of the island with its shops, restaurants and hotels.

When searching for globes, however, it’s just as important to know where not to look. Island Treasures will never be placed in beach dunes, marsh areas, residential properties or golf courses. In fact, entering these areas can be illegal and unsafe.

Some treasure hunters develop strategies about when and where to search for the plastic globes, but Island Treasures is really about being at the right place at the right time.

Each plastic globe has a numbered tag inside, and people who find one can redeem it for the corresponding glass-blown globe at the Guest Information Center. The center is open 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Sunday.

People must complete a claim form and provide a photo ID to receive their prize. Only one Island Treasure can be claimed per household per year so as many people as possible can enjoy the hunt.

Off-Season Vibes

Island Treasures is a great reason to plan a wintertime family vacation or girls’ weekend.

“The off-season and shoulder-season are wonderful times to visit Jekyll Island,” Hearn says. “There are not as many people on the island, and everything moves at a slower pace. There’s more of a community feel in the off-season.”

Shops and restaurants remain open during non-peak seasons, when average temperatures are in the mid-60s and lodging rates are reduced.

As Jekyll Island is about a three- to four-hour drive from Columbia County, local adventure seekers might want to turn the outing into a multi-day trip. Accommodations range from luxury resorts and boutique hotels to chain-hotel lodging and Jekyll Island Campground.

An overnight stay also provides more time to explore the island. After all, whether visitors find a globe or not, the real treasure is discovering all that Jekyll Island has to offer.

Jekyll Island tradition Island TreasuresIf You Go:

What: Island Treasures

When: January 1 – February 29; all day

Where: Jekyll Island, Georgia

How Much: $10 island parking; event is free

More Info:

By Morgan Davis

The Spy Coast by Tess Gerritsen

Literary Loop

The Spy Coast by Tess GerritsenA retired CIA operative in small-town Maine tackles the ghosts of her past in this fresh take on the spy thriller from New York Times bestselling author Tess Gerritsen.

Former spy Maggie Bird came to the seaside village of Purity, Maine, eager to put the past behind her after a mission went tragically wrong. These days, she’s living quietly on her chicken farm, still wary of blowback from the events that forced her early retirement.

But when a body turns up in Maggie’s driveway, she knows it’s a message from former foes who haven’t forgotten her. She turns to her local circle of old friends ― all formerly with the CIA ― to help find out who is trying to kill her, and why.

The hunt for answers will force her to revisit a clandestine career that spanned the globe, from Bangkok to Istanbul and London to Malta.

While ghosts of her past may have returned, Maggie might just be able to save the life she’s built with the help of her friends.

Thanks Y’all (Live) — Futurebirds

Listen To This

Futurebirds Athens, GeorgiaIf you kick off the New Year with a fat plate of collard greens, hoppin’ John, black-eyed peas and cornbread for good fortune, there’s no finer feast to add for the ears than a heaping dollop of Futurebirds blasting on the hi-fi.

The sons of Athens, Georgia, along with legendary guitarist/producer Carl Broemel of My Morning Jacket fame, recorded a 22-track compilation for their brand new release …Thanks Y’all (Live).

This is not just a live album — it’s a sonic buffet that brings the heat and brims with flavorful energy and flawless presentation.

The album’s first course opens with a couple of delicious bites. The ramble-trippin’ “All Damn Night” and The Beach Boys-esque “Sedan Man” serve up tantalizing blends of Futurebirds’ signature harmonies topped with Broemel’s genius.

Make sure to pace yourself as each song piles on more and more goodness but don’t forget to save room for the crispy double-fried sing-a-long staples “Rodeo” and “College Try.” Not to worry though — the simmering stir of “Carried Away” offers up a slight reprieve before creeping into a bombastic solo that unbuckles the belt for the sax-laden second helping of “Olive Garden Daydream #4.”

Futurebirds’ vocal recipe, coupled with Broemel’s shredded seven-layer brassarole, creates a chef’s-kiss level of satisfaction that warms the soul throughout the entire record.

The production of these live performances is exquisite, where every detail is impeccable, allowing each phonic flavor to hit all the senses. Consume this record standing up and enjoy each tune topped with Futurebirds jam and Broemel-ized licks.

The longer it simmers, the better it sounds, so serve it up hot, re-heat it often, don’t forget your manners, and have a prosperous and happy New Year.

…Thanks y’all!

– Chris Rucker

Giving Back


Local PGA Tour player Luke List and his wife, ChloeLocal PGA Tour player Luke List and his wife, Chloe, an Evans High School alum, recently presented a check for $250,000 to Children’s Hospital of Georgia to support the expansion of its Children’s Pediatric Intensive Care Unit.

The donation was made possible by the proceeds List earned when he won the RSM Birdies for Love charity competition during the 2022-23 PGA Tour season.

The Lists’ son, Harrison, was born prematurely June 5, 2021. After leaving the hospital, Harrison soon was readmitted due to RSV, a respiratory virus, and was intubated for two days. He ultimately spent two weeks in intensive care at Children’s Hospital.

“It means so much to me and my family to have this opportunity to give back,” List said. “We want to share our story just to have people know what they do here and how much they’re really giving and really change lives.”