The readers of Travel & Leisure Magazine voted St. Simons Island one of America’s favorite towns. The secret about our quaint, coastal community is finally out! Why do you love St. Simons Island?
To read the full article, click on the link.
Many of our guests rent bikes while they are on the island-or even bring their own from home. Exploring the island by bike is a great way to get around during your stay or to explore the island just for a day. Ocean Motion bike shop sits right at the foot of The King and Prince Resort and they have many adult and children’s bike options available.
Route 1: The Marsh & East Beach
Georgia’s coastal marshland accounts for nearly 378,000 acres of land on the back side of the six barrier islands. The marsh behind East Beach is a wonderful area to view nature at its best. You will see fiddler crabs, shore birds such as egrets, sandpipers, gulls, oyster catchers and raccoons.
While riding through the East Beach neighborhood, you will see the quaint side of St. Simons Island.
The Route: Turn right onto Ocean Boulevard. You will stay on Ocean Boulevard for a little over a mile while you ride along the marsh. Then, turn right onto 15th Street in the East Beach neighborhood. 15th Street will dead-end into Bruce Drive. When you turn onto Bruce Drive you will be at Gould’s Inlet which is a nice place to watch the shore birds or relax on the beach (at low tide). Continue on Bruce Drive and then make a right onto 1st Street. You will then make a left back onto Ocean Boulevard to ride back to the hotel. (See map below)
Route 2: Bike Ride to The Village
The pier and village area of St. Simons is the heart of the island. There is so much to see and do! This bike ride will take you partially along Beachview Drive which runs parallel to the ocean. Enjoy the sea breeze and look out for dolphins in the water along your bike ride. Once you reach the village, you will ride past the lighthouse and Neptune Park and into the heart of the village. There are several bike racks where you can leave your bike while you explore all of the shops and restaurants this area has to offer.
The Route: From the resort, make a left onto Beachview Drive. Beachview will dead-end and turn into 5th Street as you make a right turn. After you make the right, make a left onto Ocean Boulevard. Stay on Ocean Boulevard as you pass the elementary school and then make a left onto 7th Street. As you ride down 7th street, it will turn into Oglethorpe Avenue which will take you past the lighthouse and Neptune Park and finally into the village. (See map below)
A Photographer’s Calling
We all have those cameras in our pockets (of course, most of them are cell phones), that we pull out in order to make sure that absolutely every occasion we wish to remember is documented for a later date. From weddings to prom to the most beautiful scenery of all time – photographs are the one and only thing that remain after the memories fade.
So being a photographer in one of the most beautiful places on Earth, must truly be a ‘grade-A’ career. Chris Johnson of Johnson Pictures, Inc., is living that career under the stunning glow of the sun as it rises above the Atlantic each spectacular day.
St. Simons Island – the jewel in the Golden Isles crown located off the coast of Georgia, is where Chris Johnson makes his home. Here, he uses his passion for photography to capture moments in time for his clients, that become pieces of true art in the advertising and marketing campaigns for many of the sites located in this serene beauty.
Being able to speak with a commercial photographer in such a fascinating place was a real gift – a gift that we are about to share with our readers. The following will show you all different aspects and views of the world of photography from an incredibly gifted and ingenious man who was able to parlay a passion into a full-time career. We begin at the King and Prince Resort. There is no more wondrous place on the map than this incredible location that provides 5-star accommodations, fine dining, sports, five-sparkling pools to simply get lost in as you bask in the Georgia sunshine, and more. The King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort truly has it all, and their photographer makes sure that the whole world is allowed to see inside the doors of this magnificent paradise.
Chris, it’s a pleasure to meet you. Now, I’ve been told that you have been doing all the photography – rooms, etc. – around the King and Prince for seven years now?
Yes, at least that.
I would love for our readers to learn about your experiences here; what brought you to the island, and what exactly Johnson Pictures concentrates on?
I am a freelance photographer and Johnson Pictures has been in business for twenty-one years now. I actually began in 1990 in NYC and worked there until 2001 as a commercial photographer and in editorial for magazines, etc. I actually came to St. Simons Island in 2001.
Johnson Pictures offers a variety of photographic services from aerial to architecture and interiors, hotels and resorts, lifestyle photography…mostly commercial work.
Why did you move from New York?
My wife is from NYC and I certainly enjoyed my time there. I was actually a resident from 1986 through 2001. We had a two-year-old daughter and we were planning on moving upstate to the Hudson Valley where we spent a great deal of time. But I knew if we were to move up there, most of my work would still be in the City and that’s a whole lot of commuting.
We were visiting here and one Fall afternoon we had an epiphany. My daughter was dancing up and down on the beach and I suddenly realized – here we are! This is it!
I came back to do a little research to see if there would be any work on St. Simons, and with all the resorts, restaurants, sites, etc., there was. It was just three months after that when we picked up and moved! I will never forget it. I mean, it was March and I was swimming in an outdoor swimming pool, which was amazing to me. Being from Cleveland and then living in NYC – outdoor swimming in March is certainly not something one would expect, or be used to. So…it was a truly great experience.
I can imagine. Snow gone, cold gone and into a paradise of sorts.
Do you work with many different resorts?
Yes. Johnson Pictures is 99% commercial work, advertising for several of the resorts as well as their components, such as, meeting rooms, ballrooms, spas, pools, golf courses, etc. There are some jobs that also touch upon the lifestyle component, such as guests or visitors playing sports, hiking, dining, etc.
Do you ever interact with guests?
Sometimes. It can be difficult though, seeing as that they are here for a ‘guest’ experience and not to be harassed by a photographer. But sometimes they do agree to help with the lifestyle photographs. It is difficult because you need to get the proper permissions for their pictures, seeing as that this is all about advertising that goes out over the internet and reaches millions of people.
Have you ever thought about doing artistic photography?
I do, actually. Most photographers have their own personal work. But when you do it for a living, you’re kind of busy earning the dollars necessary to support your family and you don’t have a lot of time to do side work. Even though I have my own personal work, I tend to set it aside and focus on the money earning end of things.
Sort of like being a travel writer. You can’t just sit on the beach and write a novel, you have to get things done!
Exactly. Every ‘artist’ would certainly love to hang a photograph or picture in a gallery, but you always need the money that comes from commercial work.
And, as I said, being that most all of my photographs are for commercial work, there are ownership issues. And you can’t resell, especially here in a small market – a smaller community – where the ‘rights’ issues are a little more difficult than what you would find in, say, New York. People are a little more possessive of their rights here. The uniqueness of the imagery is far more personal as opposed to a place like Miami Beach.
Do you photograph weddings?
I did when I first moved here. In fact, there was one year when we did thirty-five, but we were hit with two things.
First, we were hit with the bad economy, and not many people were purchasing a photographer’s services, or heading to fancy vacation spots like this one for the wedding. The second thing was that digital photography came out and came out big. Everyone has a digital camera, and knows someone who is good with that camera; whether it be an uncle or a cousin, there are many amateurs in the wedding market now. Also there are other commercial guys who saw the changes and jumped into the wedding market, as well. I’ve done about 140 during the last 10 years but it has been scaled back considerably.
And how do you feel about the introduction of digital and the changes to the industry?
Well, you can fix errors with digital, but there are just so many more people who are what you would consider an ‘advanced amateur.’ Everything links to the internet which makes the marketing possibilities so much greater, and the cost is far less than film.
I still have some 50 ASA Fuji slide film in my freezer.
LOL. I cleared my freezer a little bit ago. We still had a bunch, but I don’t think I’ve shot a roll of film since 2004. Are you happy with digital?
No, I’m not. I still like film. I liked reading the light and setting the picture by feel, and I can’t do that with digital and get the same results. What are your thoughts?
There was a point in time where film was still better but we’ve crossed the threshold. I don’t miss film, the mess or the cost, but now that I work with digital I shoot things completely different. You have to understand that something as simple as a hotel room is not all that simple; you have multiple lights to deal with, and when it comes to something as stunning as the King and Prince, you WANT to capture that view just outside the window.
The contrasts between indoors and outdoors are huge. To capture it in the old days you had to brilliantly light up the room so that it was almost as bright as the outside. But with digital, I can now photograph in layers. Then, in post-production, I can work with those good captures for each individual section/layer, so the picture looks much more like what the naked eye sees.
Do you ever miss working in the darkroom?
Yes, but you still can do that somewhat – when you’re making your captures. With layers you can expose the highlights and create exactly what you want for your client, and your hands stay dry. It’s almost cheating but you get the end results that make your client happy.
There is also an artistic portion to digital. There are still similar ‘darkroom decisions’ when it comes to digital post production, but I feel that I am now making illustrations, not pictures. That’s what the commercial photography market has really become. Using digital-touching, contrast correction, perspective correction, layer work – all of these combine to produce an illustration of the scene.
Did you ever teach the craft?
Yes, actually. I was a photographic instructor at the College of Coastal Georgia, and one of the classes was about personal style. There was a great deal of instruction and debate when it came to digital work, but the one question that still comes up is the difference between a real photograph as opposed to a digital one. People, I believe, wonder how far you can go with digital before it’s no longer a picture. How much is too much altering?
This happened to me recently when I was asked to be a judge for the Coastal Photographers Guild. This is a local organization who was running a contest, and part of the judging criteria was how far the entrants were from the original capture. Within the rules they were allowed a certain amount of leeway, digital retouching, etc. – but the lines are truly blurred now, which is what makes me believe that they are illustrations and not pictures.
So, it’s a personal taste.
Absolutely. In fact, I have a friend who feels that there’s no need to create art anymore because the Renaissance gave us the best there will ever be. He said what was done in the 15th Century can never be improved upon. Of course…he also thinks rock-and-roll stopped after Zeppelin stopped. (LOL)
I kind of have to agree with him on that one. So digital is definitely the most beneficial?
The biggest part is that you get instant results with digital; you can capture it right to the laptop so you can immediately blow it up, look at the various sections, and be able to move a chair in the room to a different angle, or take out a prop you don’t need – that way there are no surprises when you get home.
Is there a great deal of investment that must be made in the newest lenses and/or new technology in the digital world?
With commercial work I don’t need to worry about the latest and greatest technology because most all of the work is placed on the web nowadays. There are no sales offices left who want 3-5 foot images. Most all images required are no bigger than 9” x 12”.
You certainly would need to make top investments when it comes to, say, shooting the Super Bowl, but for the type of work I do, it is unnecessary.
Before we wrap things up, can you tell readers a little about shooting the King and Prince?
A lot of what we do here is weather dependent. We need that fantastic horizon, a great sky…so there is a lot of ‘last minute’ photography involved. It’s not like you can really plan to shoot next Tuesday, so to speak.
But that really is part of the fun of photography. It is a true conundrum to work with everything and solve the problems that need to be solved. When it comes to the King and Prince, just the variety of rooms is amazing! There’s truly a new shot – a new locale – every time I set out. In fact, I believe that someone said you could stay here twenty times and be in a different room each and every time. Which is great – because that also gives the photographer a variety of points of view to show to the world.
It is certainly no surprise to this writer that the King and Prince used the enormity of its beauty, serenity, peace, charm and elegance to draw Johnson Pictures to its island home. And to be able to see all those points of view and all those immaculately stunning scenes on a daily basis must truly be the definition of living the good life.
So for all you struggling artists out there who truly have a passion for the realm of photography, take this new knowledge, information, and outlook and aspire to find your very own Golden Isle experience one day!
To see Chris Johnson’s incredible work, head to:
For more information on the King and Prince, head to:
The King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort
201 Arnold Road
St. Simons Island, Georgia 31522
(912) 638-3631: Phone
(800) 342-0212: Reservations
(912) 638-7699: Fax
Legend surrounds you…
When you are embraced by the majesty of the Tower Room, or open your balcony door, you will feel as if you’re on top of the world; you can almost sense the legends and hear the past. By being in the King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort, you stand in the middle of history. You can imagine those first visitors in 1935 as they came in droves to enjoy the seaside dance club; you will sense the feel the pride and loyalty when, in the 1940s, the King and Prince served as a naval coast-watching and training facility during World War II.
And when you step outside the next day, after an amazing breakfast at The King’s Tavern, you can hop on the St. Simon’s Trolley and head to the historic Lighthouse. You can embark on a tour that will bring you into the intriguing and mystical Christ Church, which traces its origins all the way back to 1776. The magnificent wooded grounds enclose a cemetery of the earliest settlers to St. Simon’s – settlers that have tales to tell of battles, life and love. Then on to Fort Frederica for a history lesson to the extreme, where you will learn the monumental place this island holds in American history. From outdoor activities to the numerous unique shops and art galleries, a tour of St. Simons is an experience you will want for days on end.
Kindness surrounds you…
With a staff of amazing, friendly people who wish nothing more than for you to have the vacation of a lifetime, you will be constantly pampered. From massages in our Royal Treatment Cottage to relaxing with coffee in the elegant atrium lobby before heading out for the Friday Evening Seafood Buffet in the oceanfront Delegal Room - the historic centerpiece of the Resort – featuring original stained glass panoramas depicting scenes from St. Simons rich history and the beautiful Atlantic Ocean…the King and Prince staff offers nothing but warmth and charm.
THIS is Artistry!
“Atlanta Moms” blog founder Alicia Hagan has a fun and unique idea to explore St. Simons… make it a scavenger hunt! Read this and more of Alicia’s stories at www.atlantamoms.com
Make a Trip to St. Simons Island Fun and Educational with a Scavenger Hunt!
by Alicia on JUNE 8, 2012
Since my recent trip to The King and Prince Resort on St. Simons Island I have been very interested in the history of St. Simons Island. St. Simons Island is a fun and historical destination that your whole family will enjoy. This special destination graces the corner of Georgia’s coast and was called “San Simone” by 16th century Spanish explorers.
With it carries many historical sites and monuments such as the beautiful St. Simons Island Lighthouse which dates back to 1804. Unfortunately, the original lighthouse was destroyed by the Confederate Army in 1862. A new lighthouse was then erected twenty five feet from the original site in 1872 and is a welcome sight for visitors who want to climb the 129 stairs to the top to get a spectacular view of the whole island.
Other interesting landmarks include the Christ Church which was first erected back in 1820 although history states that religious services were being held on that site prior to 1776. The first structure was partially destroyed by the Union Army between the states and the current church was rebuilt in 1884. You can enjoy the current Christ Church with its beautiful and glorious stained glass windows. The grounds of the church is set in a natural wooded surroundings with a cemetery that includes graves from settlers of years ago.
A great activity would be a fun scavenger hunt at which time you can locate major points of interest such as the lighthouse, museum, the church and the famous Gascoigne Bluff. The Gascoigne Bluff is a Native American campground. During Colonial Days, this area became Georgia’s first naval base.
During your St. Simons Island scavenger hunt you and your kids can have fun by making notes of each point of interest visited, gathering memorabilia and taking photos to reflect on all you have learned. Compare your findings with those who joined in this activity to see who got the most information and varying types of historic collectibles.
The beauty of St. Simons Island is breathtaking. There aren’t too many vacation destinations where your family can enjoy so many activities for fun and have a historic venture, all in one.
The King and Prince is proud to provide Georgia-made 13th Colony vodkas, gins and whiskeys. Steve Mirsky gives a short history of the distillery, along with tempting flavor descriptions! Learn more at 13colony.net
Up until recently, when folks mentioned liquor from the Southern U.S., whiskey and moonshine immediately sprang to mind. Popularized through aggressive marketing and folklore, images of whiskies like ‘Ole Grand Dad and Jack Daniels are etched into a cultural milieu that also plays up images of pickup truck driving backwoods individualists. But of course reality is just a bit more complex and liquor production in what is commonly referred to as “the South”, an area roughly defined by the Mason Dixon Line and the Mississippi as borders, has a rich tradition that’s all too often overshadowed by these preconceived notions.
While it’s true that the South has a tremendously successful history of Bourbon production in Kentucky and Whiskey in Tennessee, recent years have witnessed the rise of a robust craft distillery movement as well. Some uniquely Southern approaches to vodka and other spirits include brands like Firefly, Corsair Artisan , and on a more commercial scale,Piedmont Distillery. A newer addition to these craft producers with a growing fan base isThirteenth Colony Distillery in Americus, Georgia.
In 2007, four friends, Alton Darby, Kent Cost, Dr. Gil Klemann and Winford Hines, began distilling homemade vodka for family and friends. This initial foray catapulted their efforts from hobby to business opening their own distillery. Thirteenth Colony now specializes in small batch production of Southern Vodka, Southern Gin, and 100% corn whiskey. Located on top of the South’s oldest and deepest aquifers, their water is super pure…perfect for making fine-quality distilled spirits. Locally grown corn, barley and rye are also used in the process, which unfolds in a custom-designed 250-gallon still.
Thirteenth Colony vodka is aromatic and supremely silky resulting from slow carbon filtration through a 10 foot column filter…perfect for savoring chilled and neat as the Russians do with caviar, such as Walter’s Caviar from Darien, GA making it a totally local experience. Their Southern Gin, bursting with the pungent scent of juniper berries, is best simply enjoyed with tonic water and lime on the rocks. Their signature Corn Whiskey is my favorite derived from a traditional southern recipe aged in vintage oak barrels yielding a robust 95 proof. Each bottle is personally signed and numbered by Thirteenth Colony distiller, Graham Arthur. Dangerously drinkable, its smooth taste is complex on the palate with hints of oak, spice, butter, and sweet corn. ..a perfect pairing for some real Southern Soul food!
Lewis Colam is rowing to raise money and awareness for Alzheimer’s. The King and Prince hosted Lewis for a night of much needed rest from his voyage.
The King & Prince Resort Celebrates a True Hero!
We have spoken about the amazing King and Prince Resort in many articles over the past few months. We have spoken about the amazing members of their incredibly gifted staff. We have spoken about the luxury that each and every room provides. We‘ve presented you with the lasting images of the glorious scenery that involves flocks of nesting Sandhill Cranes and dolphins swimming in the surf as you walk along the shore of the sparkling Atlantic Ocean. But there’s so much more to say…
It’s been 75 years that this amazing resort has been entertaining guests. Seventy-five years of hospitality that has been found to be second to none. Recently, however, King and Prince was able to honor a hero in the minds of many, and offered their incredible hospitality to a man who has taken on a seriously difficult challenge for the purpose of bringing much-needed funds and worldwide awareness to the issue of Alzheimer’s. His name is Lewis Colam, and by the time I’m finished telling you about him, you will want to jump ‘on board’ with his spectacular quest and root for him every step of the way!
On March 3rd, Lewis Colam set off from Miami in a fifteen-foot, open-decked row boat (which offers no coverage from the wind, rain and whatever else Mother Nature has in mind to throw at him. His mission is to sail 1400 miles along the East Coast in order to raise $20,000 dollars for the Fisher Center for Alzheimer’s Research Foundation. (www.ALZinfo.org).
The Fisher Center is comprised of internationally renowned scientists under the direction of Nobel laureate, Dr. Paul Greengard. If you do not yet know, Dr. Greengard has been at the forefront of seminal research that has provided the conceptual framework for all modern day investigations into Alzheimer’s disease. The Fisher Center, headquartered in New York City, works with other leading research institutions around the world. Dedicated to three main goals, the Fisher Center strives to understand the cause of Alzheimer’s; find a cure for the horrific disease; and improve the care of people who live with the disease, in order to enhance their quality of life – not to mention offering support for the families and caregivers who must watch the devastation of their loved ones.
Lewis Colam is one of millions who had to watch a person he cared very much for succumb to Alzheimer’s, and he truly wanted to do something to bring this disease into the headlines. He wanted to take on a mission that would bring people from across the globe to their computer’s and cell phones – creating a team that would work together to stop this illness in its tracks.
What people will be most surprised about is the fact that Lewis has no prior rowing experience. Like so many who are out there rowing, biking, and heralding their expeditions in the media, Lewis is accomplishing his feat with absolutely no support. What I mean by this is the fact that there are no vehicle’s or people following him to help him along the way, or to watch out for his safety; he is completely alone, with not even a motor or sail for support. To do something like this is amazing, but when you add in the fact that Lewis has no seafaring experience whatsoever, you – like me – will become immediately mind-boggled by the entire journey.
I was lucky enough to speak with Lewis on his boat this afternoon, and he is still in good spirits. In fact, he likes the ‘traveling’ part the best; he loves the scenery and exploring all those hidden areas that most of us have never even gotten the chance to see. One of those hidden areas is on St. Simons Island, where the King and Prince Resort has its immaculate home base. The marshes, the vivid colors of the flowers – a picture that only Monet could do justice to. Lewis was offered a stay at the King and Prince as he ‘sailed by’ on his mission, and Lewis told me that the short time he spent there was beyond memorable.
He spoke of how lovely the staff was and how incredible it felt to be treated to a room surrounded by beautiful pools, tennis courts, etc. He said it was extremely comforting, after being out in the elements, to have a taste of real luxury.
Before the sun sets tomorrow, assuming Mother Nature is supportive, Lewis will be halfway through with his 1400 mile journey along the East Coast of America. I can’t speak enough about how (I suppose it’s cynical to insert the word ‘surprised’ in this sentence) so, let’s just go with say emotional I became after speaking with him. This particular journey is occurring with no PR, no agent, no headlines, no ‘future book contract’ in the works if Lewis achieves his goal…nothing. This is simply a man who’s doing something completely unselfish. He‘s trying to shine a light on one of the most frightening diseases to behold; and not only for the precious soul that’s diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, but also for the friends and family who must watch the decline with absolutely no way of helping the situation.
Lewis has also been most generous with his own website, adding some pretty fun and cool features that his followers and fans can use in order to feel as if they’re an actual part of his journey. Lewis has a real time GPS on his website that shows everyone exactly where he’s located at the moment. He ‘checks in’ every day, blogs, and leaves a short audio message to update listeners on all the trials, tribulations and blessings that have occurred during his trek. He even posts updates on Twitter and Facebook.
One of the most beautiful facets of his website is the photo album that Lewis has kept. From the pictures of people who have greeted Lewis at his stops to the images of the toll that the trip has taken thus far – fans and followers get an in-depth view of each and every day that Lewis braves the sea.
By welcoming this amazing man and providing the red-carpet treatment, the King and Prince Resort certainly honored a true hero that has taken on an incredible challenge for all the right reasons.
I am calling to all you generous and amazing readers out there to join with the King and Prince Resort - and the giving donors who have already been a part of this challenge! Help Lewis meet his goal, raise the money he desires, and join the fight to find a cure for Alzheimer’s once and for all!
Until Next Time, Everybody.
Head RIGHT NOW to these Lewis Colam links and be amazed!
And although you may not be able to follow Lewis through the sea, you can follow his footsteps to the doors of the luxurious King & Prince Resort!
The King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort
201 Arnold Road
St. Simons Island, Georgia 31522
(912) 638-3631: Phone
(800) 342-0212: Reservations
(912) 638-7699: Fax
Jack & Diane brought their travelling musical roadshow “Nashville Unleashed” to The King and Prince Resort on St Simons Island, Georgia Saturday August 13. They performed an amazing show; great music, with wonderful stories and laughs about songwriting and life in Nashville as a musician. It was a dinner show, with a Prime Rib buffet to start the evening and guests’ enjoyed the ocean views from the historic Delegal Room. The musicians performed “in the round” seated in the middle of the room, where every seat felt right up front. Jack & Diane launched “Nashville Unleashed” in 2008 with a strong vision for a show that would spotlight Songwriters in a way that helps them to connect deeper with a listening audience. They brought 3 talented musicians with them; Karen Staley, Julie Forester and Mason Douglas. With their casual, easy-going style, I felt like they were playing their songs and telling their life stories to a group of me and my friends. The songs and the stories behind them were wonderful and each of the musicians voices were amazing; from tender love songs to fun country ballads. Nashville Unleashed will return to The King and Prince on Saturday November 19. The links below are to each of the musicians web sites.
Mason Douglas: http://www.masondouglasmusic.com/home.cfm
Karen Staley: http://www.karenstaley.com/home.html
Julie Forester: http://julieforester.bandzoogle.com/fr_home.cfm
Jack & Diane: http://nashvilleunleashed.com/about-jack-and-diane/
Dena & Chuck Bingham write about their visit to St. Simons Island in Senior Connection Magazine. Along with the King and Prince accommodations and St. Simons Island attractions, they describe the southern island culture and way of life.
BY CHUCK AND DENA BINGHAM
OK. You’ve taken the grandkids to see Mickey and Minnie often enough to know the routine: Stand in line for 45 minutes for a five-minute ride; someone else’s crying grandkid just spilled a sticky concoction on your new izod shirt and the line for a $9 sandwich is twenty people deep. By late afternoon a whole theme park full of cranky three-year-olds are pitching a fit because they’re tired. You take two more Tylenol and head for the exit with your own grandkids in tow. Ah, but wait. You are parked on the other side of a lake that now looks endless and there are three thousand people in front of you waiting for the same ferry boat.
This time do something for you… About an hour north of the Jacksonville airport is a quiet, laid-back hideaway just waiting for you. Take the Saint Simons Island exit off of I-95 and head for the Atlantic Ocean (about ten miles). Once you cross the causeway to St. Simons Island you can feel the stress melting away. You won’t find Ferris wheels, or tea cup rides, or 6-foottall rodents with big ears. What you will find is an upscale residential island that doesn’t mind sharing its seclusion with savvy, well-heeled vacationers.
The grand old oak trees drip with Spanish moss as you make your way to the stately King and Prince Beach and Golf Resort. Upon arrival the attentive staff quickly reacquaints you with Southern hospitality. Built in 1935, the resort was originally a dance club for well-to-do Northerners. It has consistently been upgraded to meet today’s discerning traveler’s tastes. Accommodations range from Oceanside Villas to private cottages to king-bedded rooms. Outstanding cuisine is a hallmark of the resort and is not to be missed.
Venturing into other parts of town reveals an additional bounty of local dining pleasures. Kick back at George Stewart’s Saltwater Cowboy for great pub fare. Or, if you’re in the mood for finer dining, try Halyards where Chef Dave Snyder prepares an exquisite tuna tartare. Lunch at Palmer’s Village Café is a must as Chef John Belechak prepares the best Southern dishes with locally grown produce. For a truly unique experience, take the “Lady Jane” shrimping trawler into the shallows of the Atlantic marshes for a first-hand look at how modern shrimping is accomplished. The tour comes complete with a marine biologist who explains in detail the ecosystem of the region and its importance to the local economy.
To enjoy the laidback pace of the island, why not rent bicycles at Ocean Motion right outside the entrance to King and Prince Resort. A leisurely 10-minute ride gets you to the heart of town. For the truly adventurous, the island boasts 18 miles of paved bicycle paths. If you’d rather let someone else navigate, try the Lighthouse Trolley which takes you (free) from the north end, where you’ll find the championship King and Prince Golf Course, to the south end, where you’ll find—you guessed it—the Lighthouse. Go in the lighthouse museum to hear about the great historical importance of this region.
There is so much, or so little, to do here…the choice is yours. If there is one drawback to this hidden treasure, it’s this: you may not want to leave…
Patti Davis blogs about her travels to St. Simons Island in 4 parts on Anatomy of a Dinner Party. She has numerous pictures and wonderful descriptons. Here is part 1.
Written by Patti on April 11th, 2011
Good Morning Darlings!
I would say that mine is a charmed life. That very fact was confirmed when I was invited to visit St. Simons Island for four days last week. In fact, it was so fantastic that I have deemed this to be St. Simons week on Anatomy of a Dinner Party!
Arriving after the five hour drive from Atlanta, I entered the lobby of The King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort to the heady aroma of chlorine. Now that might sound funny to some, but to me that is the smell of childhood, of a spa, of…..an indoor pool right in the lobby! Just one of four pools the resort boasts.
I dropped my luggage in the room (oceanfront!) and donned my Wellies (it was a blustery day) for a trip on the island trolley with my 17 journalist companions for the next four days. Destination – The Coast Guard Maritime Museum.
I loved hearing the history of this marvelous building and loved touring it even more. There are films to watch, quizzes to take and relics to pore over. Mr. Curt Smith was a wonderful host and guide and just knows everything about this treasure.
My room was so beautiful. Appointed in all navy blues and buttery yellow, it immediately soothed me. The king size bed was whispering to me, but it was time for dinner. And you all know, dinner is going to win every time!
In The Solarium, we were greeted again by our lovely host for the trip, Leigh Cort, Bud St. Pierre, Director of Sales and Marketing and Michael Johnson, General Manager. You might think that one in charge of such a stately resort would put on airs, but no. Bud, Michael, Angela, Chris and everyone else associated with the property were the warmest most genuine folks I have ever met. It was my delight to visit with each of them personally during my trip. I promise if you treat yourself to a visit to The King and Prince they will treat you with the same hospitality I so enjoyed.
On to the food! Chef Paula whipped up shrimp and grits in a demonstration as we sipped wine and asked questions. It was also a great time for my fellow writers and I to get to know one another. What started out as 17 strangers, turned into 17 friends before we would leave on Saturday.
Paula answered all our questions, and we had many! The dining room was filled with the most incredible scent as our gracious servers brought around a chopped caprese salad on bread and more wine was poured.
Between the entree and the dessert, everyone got up to introduce themselves to the group and reveal their favorite travel destination. It was so much fun learning about my brand new friends.
I was at an advantage, having my friend and fellow Atlantan, Ava Roxanne, from My Skin Concierge on the trip with us. She answered a quiz about the resort and won a stay in the Tabby Cottage! We would later retire to her cottage with some bubbly and giggle the night away. But first, dessert.
And what a dessert it was! Oh my goodness. Promise me you will visit The King and Prince and order this. Peach cobbled topped with Praline Ice Cream. It will make you the happiest person on earth. Seriously. Have I ever lied to you? Of course not. Take a look.