There really is no place like home. Whether it’s the comfort of a home-cooked meal, spending time with beloved friends, dining at a favorite restaurant or visiting a local shop, each of our communities hold something that is near and dear to our hearts. But what really makes a town special is the people that live in it, from your best friend or neighbor to someone you’ve never met before, with every person adding their own splash of color to the local scene.

In the August “Home Grown” issue, we invite you to meet some of the wonderful local people and businesses that keep Paradise Valley alive and thriving. Take, for instance, animator extraordinaire, Don Bluth, who has created best-loved classics such as The Land Before Time, An American Tail, Anastasia and The Secret of NIMH. He also runs the Front Row Theatre in Scottsdale, where you can spend an afternoon or evening watching wonderfully executed plays and musicals.

If local dining is your cup of tea, try savoring some exquisite Italian cuisine at the locally owned and operated Postino Winecafe, just make sure to sample their legendary bruschetta board—you won’t regret it, I promise.

With the arrival of August, summer begins winding down while school begins revving up and minds move toward thoughts of the future. That’s where college prep expert Jessica Sharkey enters. This talented, admissions-savvy local helps guide students in every part of the college planning process—from choosing the school that’s the best fit for them to the admissions application and essay.

With all the wonderful local people and places you will get to know in this issue, I encourage you to take this last month of summer to explore and get to know your community better—you might be surprised at what you discover.

Until next month,