By 10:30 a.m. most of the group has arrived. Chatting, sipping on steaming cups of black coffee and corralling any available chairs they can find around a central table, this group of retired gentlemen gather on the regular at a neighborhood coffee shop for some lively conversations—you may know who I’m talking about—and they discuss some fascinating topics. I know this because I’m a coffeehouse eavesdropper. Consider this my public confession.
But even more interesting than their conversation is the very fact that they are there. Familiar greetings and “how’s it going?”s fly through the air, reminding me of all that is good in our community—friends, familiar faces, hearty handshakes and “hellos.” I hear it all the time, but “Lynchburg Living” is so good because of the community we have here. It’s not something that should be taken for granted, and it’s one of the reasons I appreciate this work because I get a front row seat to the “community” feel of our city.
Only seven weeks ago I again experienced one of our community’s greatest assets—Virginia Baptist Hospital—when I gave birth to our second daughter. What I find most memorable from our experience is the group of nurses we were blessed to have; several moved here specifically because they “liked the area.” Me too.
Like our medical personnel, teachers serve a critical need in our community. That’s why I’m happy to introduce the second annual Top Teacher awards on page 79. As one of our top teachers, Michelle Burnett, said, “Without teachers, there would be no other professions.” And for that, along with their dedication despite so many obstacles, we applaud them.
We’re also excited to reveal this year’s Hitched feature, which showcases many elements of our community’s wedding industry starting on page 25. It’s easy to see why “Virginia is for Lovers,” especially in Lynchburg, where resources, venues and inspiration abound. From a gorgeous fashion shoot to a spotlight on creative bridal party outings, we hope this will help to bring your own wedding dreams to life.
An extension of our own community in many ways is Smith Mountain Lake, which is celebrating its 50th this year. More than 100 events, starting this month, are slated to help mark the occasion. From attempting to beat a world record to a cardboard regatta to concerts and more, read all about the upcoming fun on page 126.
Drop us a line and share what you love about Lynchburg Living—in the mean time, I’ll be sipping on some coffee and enjoying the conversation.
Jennifer Redmond, Managing Editor