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Every so often, something comes along in our lives here to remind us that living in paradise can have a price. Back in September, that something was Hurricane Irma.

While our corner of paradise in Southwest Florida—miraculously—avoided the worst of Irma’s historic wrath, Floridians elsewhere saw their homes and businesses lost. And we still suffered some misfortunes here. Power outages, often lasting days; the loss of beautiful old trees, some toppling over onto carports or roofs; flooding near our plentiful bodies of water; and a large measure of stress and worry were our lot. Even now, more than a month later, it’s still too early to assess the long-term effect on our region and state. But we are so, so grateful it wasn’t worse here in Venice.

You may have watched the changing news and weather from afar, up North, anxiously reaching out to friends and family here to learn whether or not your Florida home was in danger. We hope you came through unscathed.

Of course, even as you read this, hurricane season isn’t quite over, so fingers are crossed we are not threatened by any more serious storms. And, Irma or no, we at Venice Magazine plowed ahead with our work on this issue, highlighting as always the best of what Venice and the surrounding communities have to offer.

That means taking our annual look at the arts and entertainment season with a preview of its highlights; spotlighting some of the best neighborhoods to live here (depending on your demographic and avocations); planning for holiday entertaining, pioneer style; and scouting out eight great pubs to whet your whistle—and satisfy your appetite. You’ll also meet some of your neighbors whose work in the community it pays to know.

Our summer hiatus, hurricanes and all, is over, and we’re back to keeping you informed and entertained this busy winter and spring season. To those of you who were away for the summer months, welcome back. To those of you who weathered Irma beside us, congratulations. We made it through.

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