Publisher’s Note: Marking a Milestone

Lookout Alabama turns 1 year old and we have so many to thank!

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Humans are funny creatures. We enjoy – and sometimes obsess – with marking time and celebrating anniversaries. Animals, on the other hand, seem to be just the opposite. While far more affected than most people by seasonal changes and weather, they could care less. They are about the moment.

But milestones are important to us. We like to reflect on the past and consider the future. So, I will chalk it up to human nature and give in to my natural tendencies – Lookout Alabama is officially 1 year old with this issue.

When we launched the first issue last June, our two top goals were to: create greater awareness of the Lookout Mountain region and give residents of this area a magazine they could be proud of. While we have made mistakes and hit a few snags along the way, we have done our best to serve both missions.

pub_colWhat we didn’t envision when we launched that first issue was that by the time we put out the second, we would have signed a two-year distribution agreement putting the  publication in major stores, including Barnes & Noble, Hastings and Gander Mountain, in eight states. That was an unexpected twist right out of left field.

Another thing we didn’t foresee was the overwhelming personal response to the magazine. People from all over the South write, call or come up to us at various events to tell us Lookout Alabama is their new “coffee table” book. We no longer think of the magazine as having a three-month shelf life. We try to make each issue special and relevant for as long as our readers continue to display it. We can’t thank our readers enough for supporting the magazine and taking a personal interest in it.

And we can’t take credit for their reaction. In addition to having a beautiful region and intriguing people to cover, we have the pleasure of working with talented local and regional writers, artists and photographers. Among the mainstays on the writing side are Kathryne McDorman, Elizabeth Manning, Brett Jailett, Anita Stiefel and Leon McAnelly. Artist-in-residence Anne Hamilton helps make our short-fiction stories pop, and we rely heavily on graphic designer David Watson. Our photographers include Steven Stiefel, DeKalb Tourism President/CEO John Dersham (both wonderful wordsmiths as well), Keith Bozeman and Greg McCary.

We couldn’t produce a magazine without advertisers, many of which have been with us since the beginning. Our legacy advertisers include Southern Properties, Pioneer Bridges, Kamama, Mentone Realty, Tina Burt-Edmondson, Orbix Hot Glass, Tigers for Tomorrow, Vaughn Construction Company, Wildflower Café, Greater Gadsden Tourism, DeKalb Tourism, the Cherokee County Chamber of Commerce, Appalachian Rustic Furnishings, James & Company, Riverview Camp for Girls, Northeast Alabama Community College, the University of Alabama Center for Economic Development, Vintage 1889 and the Grand Ole Lady. Several more have come on board recently. We appreciate them all and hope you will pay them a visit and thank them for supporting Lookout Alabama.

A big thanks also to local businesses that carry the magazine: Mentone Market, Alabama Gift Company, Wills Creek Vineyards, The Spot Coffee Shop, Kamama, The Book Shelf, Little River Canyon Center Gift Store, DeSoto State Park Country Store, Big Mill Co. Artisans & Antiques, Myrtle Jane’s, Traci’s, Valley Head Drugs, Wildflower Café, Crow’s Nest Antiques, Chicks Interiors, Bama’s Beverage Store, Merle Norman (Centre), Pink Saturdays
Antiques and Collectibles, Little River Hardware Store, The Wishing Well, Gifts from the Heart and Fort Payne Feed & Garden Supply.

So we mark the first anniversary mostly with joy. One thing that made the past year bittersweet was the tragic loss of the 130-year-old, iconic Mentone Springs Hotel, which burned this past spring. We featured this amazing Victorian hotel in our inaugural issue. You’ll find a tribute to the hotel on page here.

Reflection is necessary to remind us where we have come from and to help guide us to where we want to go. But we also should appreciate the present and live in the moment. Memories are made today, and there’s not a better place to do that than the Lookout Mountain region.

Randy Grider