With the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico threatening many favorite vacation destinations in Alabama, Florida and Louisiana, many families are faced with a dilemma when choosing a spot for their summer vacations.
The Georgia coast is always an option, which is where my family along with one of my best friends recently came back from visiting.
St. Simon Island, Ga. is roughly nine hours from Middle Tennessee. It is approximately one hours drive from Savannah, Ga. or Jacksonville, Fla. The drive down was a nightmare, but once we crossed over the bridge that takes you on to the island, it was like stepping back in time.
St. Simon Island, referred to as one of the famed Golden Isles, was discovered by 16th Century Spanish explorers.
It is rich with natural beauty and completely breathtaking.
The streets are lined with “live oaks” and palm trees.
It is not commercialized in the sense no major chains are located on the island.
We were able to walk wherever we wanted to go. Whether it was taking a stroll to the quaint shops on Mallory Street and the Fisherman’s Wharf or just around the corner to Crab Daddy’s for seafood.
St. Simon Island is home to three golf courses and 234 holes of golf in the immediate area. My husband and oldest son did opt one day to travel across the island to play The Hampton Club Golf Course, which is part of The King and Prince Resort. They said it was beautiful and even saw a three-foot gator in the marsh, while I splurged on an hour at the Royal Treatment Cottage, a very relaxing spa, de-lightful!
The food was absolutely sinful.
With me being a native southerner, I love rich foods, fresh seafood and desserts.
The island did not disappoint.
One of St. Simon’s favorite places to eat is Barbara Jean’s.
We met Barbara Jean, and I asked her if the rumor was true about her being related or best friends with Paula Deen. It’s NOT.
Although, Barbara Jean did tell us Paula Deen visited her establishment once to eat breakfast during Paula’s honeymoon. Barbara Jean’s wins for my best meat and three and it’s noted for the crab cakes.
I celebrated my milestone birthday at The Blue Dolphin Tavern and Grill located within The King and Prince. It is the only restaurant in the island that has an ocean-front view.
The cuisine was superb and my warm chocolate pecan pie tasted just like my mother pulled it from the oven. But my favorite place to eat was Crab Daddy’s. Oh my, the seafood was out-of-this-world good.
Now for the beaches, they are natural beaches not the white sand beaches I am use to.
I have been to the Atlantic coast before but had forgotten that the water is not crystal clear.
There is also the tide schedule. This was kind of a shocker when we realized at 2:30 p.m. the beach disappeared and we had to go to the pool.
On the upside, you can run in your tennis shoes or ride bicycles on this beach. We were able to walk to the sand bar at low tide without going under the water. The sandbar was massive stretching for hundreds of yards. At high tide there were plenty of waves to body surf.
We did not go fishing or sailing but there are many outlets for those who love to.
You will also find that St. Simon Island abounds in natural history and museums.
We walked to the light house at St. Simon. It is the oldest brick structure on the island and its light still operates today for the U.S. Coast Guard. You could walk up to the top of the 129 steps but I did not want to check out the emergency room facilities.
There was much more to see on St. Simon but we were unable to see all it has to offer.
We did meet one of the local’s at Beach Comers, she said, “When people come here to visit we become a part of you forever.”
This much is true.
I loved St. Simon’s Island and it will be a part of me forever.
St. Simon Island: explorestsimonsisland.com