For Starters
Heather Anne Lee

I refuse to be shamed by it:

I love The Voice. And The Masked Singer. And Top Chef. Despite countless seasons passing by, I still find myself tuning in. And whether they win or lose, the contestants never fail to amaze me. I get choked up every single time.

I have a similar reaction when I listen to an incredible sermon, delve into a brilliant book, witness someone orchestrating a spectacular dinner party, or crafting something beautiful. I’m simply inspired by people doing what they do best.

But “best” is hard to define. Is it Olympic-level performances? (Cue me, cheering and sobbing for two solid weeks later this month.) Is it exemplary service or exceptional encounters? Is it defined by straight As and 1600 SAT scores, or is it merely consistency and familiarity?

Personally, I believe “best” is subjective, and everyone is the best at something. Some of us turn our gifts into careers, while others bless the world with theirs. Right now, I can think of four incredible ladies who excel at friendship—they’re so good at it, it’s unfair. And then there are those I constantly admire for being such good moms. I’m not particularly fond of kids, but when I see that exceptional mothering in someone else, I’m all bravo!

This entire issue is a lovefest devoted to the concept of “best” in all its sundry forms—passion projects and paychecks, artistic talents and dogged determination. We invited you to share your opinions on the people, places, and things that you love, and holy heck, you guys showed up!  Thousands of votes, crashing our site not once,but twice.  If that doesn’t prove how much you love this little place we call home, I don’t know what does.

Inside this inaugural “Best” issue, you’ll discover a treasure trove of must-try restaurants, must-do adventures, must-visit shops, and must-meet people—some familiar, some yet to be met. But one thing’s for certain: I want to support every local business featured in these pages. Why? Because there’s something magical about discovery, celebrating and cheering on the underdogs. We’ve outdone Yelp with an insider’s guide to the hottest, most intriguing, most exceptional businesses in town, all waiting for you to explore firsthand.

So let’s dive in, shall we? Here’s to uncovering hidden gems, supporting local talent, cheering one another on, and reveling in the best that our community has to offer.

Heather Anne Lee
Editor

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