Kristi Sanders, writer for Plan Your Meetings, recently took a trip to St. Simons Island. She stayed at The King and Prince and toured the area. She saw historic places, ate at local restaurants, and enjoyed local attractions. Her article about her trip is below.
St. Simons Island: Wild, historic seaside beauty
By Kristi Casey Sanders
Published: February 10, 2011
Want unusual transportation?
Play off the island’s historic allure by chartering a Lighthouse Trolley for a guided tour or to shuttle attendees from point A to point B. The open-air trolley looks historic, but provides a smooth ride and might be piloted by naturalist, sometimes politician and local character, Cap Fendig, whose family has resided on St. Simons since the 1800s. Fendig’s company also offers fishing and dolphin tours and beach walks.
Take attendees on a sunset shrimping cruise aboard The Lady Jane. Captain Credle and his son Cliff take small groups out to see how Wild Georgia Shrimp are harvested. Along the way, guests will learn about other forms of indigenous marine wildlife and enjoy a shrimp boil.
Want to meet somewhere with history?
The 197-room King and Prince Beach and Golf Resort originally opened in 1935, survived two fires, was rebuilt and reopened in 1941, just in time to be commandeered by the U.S. Navy for use as a WWII radar operator training station. The Delegal Room began its life as an open-air “casino” (read: gathering place) that was the center of the island’s social life. Lined with stained glass windows depicting scenes from the island’s history, the now-enclosed space offers a stunning view of the ocean and accommodates up to 200 for banquets and 250 for receptions. The Solarium (capacity: 60 banquet-style) was the original hotel’s lobby lounge; it features distinctive crown moldings, woodwork, antique furnishings and a wrap-around view of the water. Other historic meeting spaces with ocean views include the 20-person Butler boardroom and the 1,050-sq. ft. Retreat Room. The resort also has a divisible ballroom, oceanfront event lawn, 48 two- and three-bedroom villas and eight private homes that can host events. The A.W. Jones Heritage Center and adjacent St. Simons Island Lighthouse Museum are available for receptions, meetings and corporate events. Venues include an oceanfront event lawn, a historic gazebo, a 1,400-sq. ft. multipurpose room and a boardroom.
Want to meet by the marsh?
Located a short drive from the beach is the 175-room Sea Palms Resort & Conference Center, which offers one- to four-bedroom suites and meeting space with views of lagoons, the salt marsh and lush golf courses. Meeting space includes a 6,500-sq. ft. climate-controlled pavilion (capacity: 600 banquet) and a conference center with 11 meeting rooms (capacity: 400 theater; 320 banquet). Other amenities include a private beach club, three swimming pools and resort activities.
Sea Palms has two golf courses on property: an 18-hole, par-71 Tall Pines/Great Oaks course and a par-34, nine-hole executive Sea Palms West course. The 18-hole, par-72 King and Prince Golf Course is so integrated into the wild marsh landscape, tee boxes give way to hazards of wild grass, holes are linked by elevated cart bridges, and gators lurk in the historic forests and ponds between the fairways.
Want group dining?
The Village Inn & Pub on St. Simons is a 1930s-era beach cottage that’s been expanded to include an authentic English pub and guest rooms. The cozy pub is known for its wild orchid martinis and features a stone fireplace surrounded by leather lounge chairs and a sun porch. Live entertainment is a staple at SaltWater Cowboy, a steak and seafood restaurant located within walking distance of the King and Prince. If it’s Brunswick stew or barbecue your group hankers after, Southern Soul Barbeque offers full-service catering and can bring its hardwood-fired smoker to prepare meals on-site.
Want group activities?
St. Simons has some fascinating historic sites in addition to its famous lighthouse, which is still used and maintained by the U.S. Coast Guard. The Maritime Center at the Historic Coast Guard Station has rooms filled with interactive maritime exhibits and a short film that gives guests a crash course on the island’s history. The Christ Church congregation dates back to the 1700s. The island’s church of that name was built in the 1800s and is known for its stained glass windows and cemetery filled with the island’s earliest settlers. In 1742, Spanish and British forces met in battle to decide the fate of St. Simons Island. The English soldiers of Fort Frederica were victorious. Today, the remains of their military stronghold are Fort Frederica National Monument’s main attraction.