In the October issue of Virginia Living, we offer a portrait of life in the Northern Neck, one of the state s most charming and timeless regions. We share tips for great under-the-radar places to eat and stay, and a list of the many things to do and see. We visit Common House in Charlottesville, a hip new social club started by three UVA grads looking for a place to connect with like-minded professionals, and take a trip to the tiny hunt country town of Marshall where a burgeoning dining scene is drawing the food curious. We also meet the actors of the American Shakespeare Center in Staunton, who give us a look at what life is like on stage and off, and share recipes for your fall gatherings featuring the earthy flavors of the season. In our cover story, we are welcomed into the lovely Richmond home of George and Louise Freeman, who have transformed a formerly dark space into a light-filled retreat for their family of five. Plus, we present State of Education, our annual special section featuring Top High Schools & Colleges, a list of 156 programs demonstrating innovation and excellence in our schools.