Don’t you feel the excitement in the air when the seasons change? One of the positives of living in central Illinois is that we experience all four seasons. I have more fall decorations for my home than for Christmas, and I begin putting out pumpkins by the first of September. I think my habit began when living in the town of Morton, where getting into the spirit of the Pumpkin Festival begins early. And after Halloween, I just replace the goblins with turkeys and continue to enjoy the season for another month.

The urge to experiment with new recipes when homegrown vegetables and fruits are available is greatest in the fall. My husband and I had the privilege of sitting in the kitchen at the Inn at Little Washington in Virginia last July, where the preparation of meals is considered almost a religious experience, and most certainly an art. In the kitchen, the chef carefully selects the freshest ingredients from spices to meat, Gregorian music is played in the background, and fresh bouquets of flowers are replaced daily. Who wouldn’t be inspired in such a carefully designed and beautiful kitchen?

Fittingly, one of our features in this issue is on beautiful kitchens and the cooks who dream them up. The kitchen is the focal point when entertaining family and friends, and certainly we spend more time in the kitchen than any room in the house. So why not keep it updated in design and equipped with the latest tools?

The kitchens in central Illinois inspire the cooking talents of their owners, as you’ll read. No wonder gourmet cooking classes are popular. Lucky for us, there are several to choose from in the Peoria area, from lessons on pasta to learning experiences on the grill. Bon appétit!

Inspiration to redecorate seems to be at its peak this time of year. In addition to kitchens, we’ve also given you some ideas on installing that home theater you’ve been dreaming about—to enjoy when those cold winter winds blow. If fighting the crowds at the movie theater isn’t your idea of a relaxing evening, consider adding a little Hollywood to your home.

We were busy this summer, as you can see by the photos in our social scene pages. These are just a few of the many fun events we attended, many to support nonprofit organizations. If you have suggestions for events and topics you’d like to see covered in art & society, send us an e-mail to [email protected]. Missed a past issue? Call or stop by our office—we have limited copies for purchase. Subscription information is available in this issue or online at peoriamagazines.com. And be sure to tell our sponsors that you heard about them in art & society.

Enjoy your midwestern fall—cookouts, tailgating, apples, and pumpkins are calling. Go ahead, experience the “Buy the Farm” burger pictured on page 39. Only in central Illinois! a&s