Posts Tagged ‘St Simons Island Restaurants’

St. Simons Island Discoveries

Friday, May 13th, 2011

Sheila Gaspers writes a second article about her St. Simons trip on her blog, Tango Diva.  She writes about local eateries and activities on the island.

St. Simons Island Discoveries – Coastal Georgia

April 20th, 2011 by Sheila

My love affair with St. Simons Island, Georgia is renewed with each visit.

Living the island life is about exploration & experimentation.

Here are a few delightful ”Off the Beaten Path” Recommendations:

  • Sandcastle Cafe & Grill - Local DIVE Extraordinaire for over 20 + years! You have hit the mother lode when you have opted for the breakfast buffet. I found myself drowning in ecstasy over a plate of biscuits and gravy…no easy task for a northern gal. Owners, Tim and Melissa Wellford take pride in serving up a hearty and wholesome meal for under $10.
  • Palmer’s Village Cafe – a hip newcomer to the Island Dining Scene. Chef John Belechak, hailing from Tennessee’s jewel – The Inn at Blackberry Farm, brings his prestigious culinary experience and love of innovation to his new special seaside kitchen. Customers are treated to unique flavor combinations with every dish. Oversized whimsical and colorful paintings by island artist, Cathie Parmelee, brighten the walls and frame the open kitchen giving the eatery its artsy bistro ambience. The cafe is a hometown hit. You know it’s good when the locals are lining up on Mallery Street with visitors to partake in Palmer’s signature plates. The Hooch, a spicy cheese omelet dressed with fried onions and served with grits; Mary’s Chicken Salad Sandwich, a toasted hoagie filled with rich ricotta cheese and red pepper and Palmer’s rock’n Reuben Sandwich are notoriously popular! Expect a wait; the word on the street – “it doesn’t get any better than this”. Open for breakfast (served all day) and lunch with monthly themed dinners to be added to the mix by September. Reservations accepted for larger parties.
  • Saltwater Cowboy – Good Down Home Island Grub…with a touch of the big city. Give me a great burger or serve up a juicy T-Bone steak, grilled tuna, low country boil …and, I am liv’n the St. Simons’ dream. Enjoy that extra cocktail, Saltwater Cowboy is just around the corner from the resort….so skip the car, relax and take carefree moonlit stroll back to your island sanctuary.
  • Halyards - Fine Dining Far from Ordinary! Chef Owner, Dave Snyder excels in opening up his kitchen and the minds of guests to innovative cuisine that focuses on simple pleasures. His talent and generosity runneth over! Chef Snyder loves to share – his expertise, his recipes and his local finds. He seeks out only the best ingredients and harvests from the nearby coastal area whenever possible – local fish, shrimp and farm fresh products – to deliver an authentic regional dining experience. Halyard’s “Catch of the Day – Your Way” – Asian, Almondine or Nola/Cajun with a variety of sides – gives frequent diners a chance to mix it up and experiment. Or indulge in a mouth-watering favorite dish from the main menu – Almond Baked Trout, Braised Short Ribs, or opt for the Mustard Glazed Pork Chop. Whatever the entree, you will not be disappointed. But no meal would really be complete without a taste of Halyard’s Creamy Blue Crab Bisque; be forewarned, during the holidays faithful customers flock to the restaurant for carry out containers of the hearty homemade recipe – so it may be sold out! For a limited time, you can dine and save with Halyard’s fixed menu special - 3 for $33 -available most weeknights. Love Italian… then cross the courtyard to Tramici, Halyard’s sister restaurant next door. Expect the same great friendly service with casual Italian fare at affordable prices.

So much to see and do! You will need more than a weekend to enjoy all that the island has to offer!

Lady Jane Shrimp BoatSt Simons Island DessertsSaint Simons Island Trolley

Saint Simons Island boatingSaint Simons Island Maritime CenterSaint Simons Island biking

My Top Picks

  • The Coast Guard Maritime Museum and Lighthouse. You will not want to miss St. Simons’ native historian, Mr. Curt Smith’s engaging and enlightening personal tour.
  • A Trolley Tour c/o St. Simons Lighthouse Trolley. If you are lucky, a colorful narration awaits by trolley owner and island ex-commissioner, Cap Fendig, a charming southern gent with stories that could fill a lifetime. On the weekends, Cap offers a wonderful 90 minute river tour exploring the inland waters around the island where playful Dolphins and Alligators are often spotted. Each tour is a special adventure.
  • An Island Bike Ride – 11+ miles of incredible natural beauty. Ocean Motion Surf Shop, just one block the resort’s entrance, offers affordable flexible rentals.
  • Shopping on Mallery Street in the Village. Fabulous Fashionista Finds!
  • Dancing and Drinks at The Village Pub, a fun local watering hole. Good music and good people that make for a GREAT time!
  • Shrimp Boat Experience on the Lady Jane. A perfect way to spend an afternoon! Learn about the shrimp industry firsthand and discover the wonders of the coastal eco-system brimming with sea life from onboard marine experts – horseshoe crabs, turtles, fish, squid, shrimp and more. A fantastic family outing!
  • A visit to the Left Bank Art Gallery and an informal chat with owner and island icon, Millie Huie Wilcox. Relish every moment as Millie shares personal stories and intimate insights of the art and the island.
  • A Chocolate or Cupcake Fix at St. Simons Sweets – a candy emporium of homemade treats, ice cream and confectionary delights. Sharon. the owner, tells me it is all about a special mother’s touch. Her mom, Mary often acts as quality control in the kitchen while baking away behind the scenes daily to deliver decadent and delicious memories. Mom’s specialty Orange Cupcakes are outrageous…be sure to snag a few for the road trip home.
  • Soak in the Sunshine with a morning jog or walk on the beach then lounge with a good book poolside at the King and Prince Resort.
  • Sleep In with the balcony doors wide open welcoming a cool ocean breeze and the hypnotic sonata of the surf.

It is hard resist the charm and beauty of the island.

Visitors always seem to find their way back…bringing extended family and friends in tow.  And then, of course, there are those lucky few…who come to vacation…fall in love…and simply choose to never leave.

Whether for a day, a week or a lifetime, St. Simons will capture your heart!

Before you go:  You will not want to miss the Tango Diva Special Profile on the Island’s top rated oceanfront property,The King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort.

For all your travel planning needs, visit the Brunswick-Golden Isles Tourism website or call 800-933-COAST.

Relax, Reconnect, and Rejuvenate

Monday, May 9th, 2011

Patricia King’s article describes the King and Prince in great detail from its accommodations and dining to the relaxing amenities.

Relax, Reconnect, and Rejuvenate at the King and Prince

Posted on April 12, 2011 by savvytraveling

The King and Prince Beach Resort

An aerial view of The King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort

The historic King and Prince Beach and Golf Resort is the only luxury hotel on beautiful and charming St. Simons Island, GA, located 60 miles north of Jacksonville, FL; 65 miles south Savannah, GA. It is situated at the southeast end of St. Simons Island, where the island’s best beaches are. There’s so much going on at King and Prince that their activities merit a separate article.

Now in its 76th year, the King and Prince is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places and a member of Historic Hotels of America.

Guest Rooms

On arrival, we were greeted at a hotel reception desk and shown to our room.  The room was spacious and very well furnished with a comfortablesofa, coffee table, a work desk with two chairs, a big flat-screen TV, a DVD player, a room safe and a bed, of course. The bathroom was huge and the toiletries provided were beautifully presented in environmentally friendly packaging.

There was also a small balcony with two chairs and a table. This was very

oceanfront room

King Ocean View Room

comfortable both for snacking and for being able to use our computers outside. The resort offers complimentary Wi-Fi throughout so this was very handy, as it enabled both of us to go online at the same time.

For those who don’t take their own computers everywhere with them, the resort also provides a business center where guests can go online using the resort’s computers, which are equipped with printers in case you need to print anything out.

During the check-in process we were given an attractive map of the resort to help us get oriented. As well as the guest accommodation, there are several public areas for guests to eat, drink, and play, or just sit quietly enjoying the superb views of the white sandy beach facing the Atlantic Ocean.

There is an array of guest accommodations (including seasonal and special discounts) for every style and budget:

  • Resort Guest Rooms Located in the historic buildings with ocean, partial ocean or resort views, the resort’s most economically-priced guest rooms offer one king or two queen beds, yet offer the luxurious décor.
  • Beach Villas and Guesthouses:  These two- and three-bedroom villas offer a patio or balcony with either an ocean front or partial ocean view, combining living and dining room and a fully equipped kitchen with place settings for eight. Both the North and South Villas include their own pools and separate gated parking areas. 
  • Resort Residences:  The King and Prince presents these seven gracious Guest Homes, each with its own highly unique ambiance and features.

The resort has three swimming pools:  A heated indoor pool and hot tub, and two outdoor pools.

Dining

The historic Delegal Dining Room, famed for its stunning stained glass window murals and ocean vistas, hosts the resort’s “Southern Charm Sunday Brunch” as well as the Legendary Friday Night Seafood Buffet and other holiday buffets.

The other restaurants:

  • The Atrium Café Opens daily at 6:30 a.m., featuring Freshly Brewed Starbucks Premium Coffees, Tazo Teas, fresh fruit, pastries, juices and energy drinks. Allowour baristas to assist you in your wake up process each morning;
  • The King’s Tavern is open daily for lunch and dinner and offers the only ocean front dining on St. Simons Island. Offering a delicious selection of fresh local delights, dine ocean side choosing from chef inspired soups, salads and sandwiches or try the signature Low Country Shrimp & Grits,
  • Paradise Beach Bar and Grill Open daily at 11:00 a.m. March through October weather permitting.  This is where island time truly begins and where food and fun become one. This is ocean front dining at its best. Enjoy an ultra-casual lunch with a wide variety of choices, as well as their signature cocktails like the King & Prince Lifesaver or the Confusion in Paradise.

The Royal Treatment

 

Spa on st simons island

The Royal Treatment Cottage

massage on st simons island

Massage at The King and Prince

For those who like being pampered there is the award-winning Royal Treatment Cottage, which offers a wide variety of treatments.  Most of the treatments are derived from traditional Eastern traditions dating back thousands of years and given a contemporary take. You can choose from the custom cottage, Swedish, therapeutic or sports-specific treatment, as well as reflexology and aromatherapy.

The setting is an historic beach cottage on the resort grounds just steps from the sands and seabreezes of the Atlantic. Here an intimate seaside retreat has been created where the utmost attention is given to experiences that soothe and treatments that rejuvenate.

The front porch with its comfy chaises invite you into the calming atmosphere inside where the casual warmth and refreshing decor of a quaint beach cottage are right at home with its indulgent and therapeutic elements. A fireside relaxation lounge, changing cabanas and quiet treatment rooms all ensure a tranquil experience. And while at The Royal Treatment Cottage for their treatments, guests enjoy the use of robes, sandles and totes for personal belongings. Complimentary bottled water is provided with juices and teas available.

As you can see, the resort has everything for those seeking tranquility and, as you’ll also see from my next articles about leisure activities and dining at the King and Prince, there’s lots to do. However, it’s worth a mention that the resort does not only cater to vacationers. You can also do business in this amazing environment.

There is more than 10, 000 sq. ft. of ocean front meeting, conference and function space, with premier catering, wedding, and special event services. The Sydney Lanier Ballroom can accommodate 70 to 350 people and offers teleconferencing, as well as state-of-the-art audio and video facilities.

Finally, it’s definitely worth mentioning the staff. The staff was truly excellent. They did everything they could to ensure the comfort of their guests, and I really couldn’t praise them highly enough.
I had spent four days at the King and Prince Beach and Golf Resort in St. Simons Island, GA, fine dining at a fantastic hotel restaurants, touring the island and making new friends with the local residents I met in the village.  My nights were spent in the newly renovated room cushioned in a king-sized bed in the resort’s Oceanfront Building featuring dramatic floor-to-ceiling windows and a balcony overlooking the resort’s pools and the Atlantic Ocean.

On this last day I sat alone on the steps leading to the beach on the shore of the Atlantic Ocean.  In the pre-dawn darkness, a cup of coffee in hand, I anxiously waited to greet the day.

st simons beach

St. Simons Island Beach

The clear, starry sky had whispers of clouds.   The air was absolutely silent, but filled with the salty smell of the sea.  The deep purple night gradually gave way to shades of red.  Day was at last beginning.

As the sun rose, the first sight was the arc of yellow shimmered on the ocean like an impressionist’s painting.  Sea birds and people seemed to show up at the same time.  I caught sight of baby dolphins coming up for air as they made their way out to sea with the ebbing tides.  Flocks of geese made their way north in their famous v-formations.  It was the perfect end to a perfect vacation.

All in all, if you’re planning a luxury holiday in the Georgia Sea Islands I suggest you look a bit further than the usual well-known haunts and give St. Simons a try. And if you do decide to visit St. Simons, then where better to stay than the King and Prince Resort?

In a Nutshell:

The King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort

201 Arnold Road

St. Simons Island, Georgia, 31522

Reservations: (800)-342-0212

Direct: (912) 638-3631

 Getting There:

The King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort is located on historic St. Simons Island in Georgia and is easily accessible by either car or air. Island exits from I-95 are just 15 minutes from St. Simons. The Jacksonville International Airport is just 60 miles away and the Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport is less than 70 miles away. Brunswick Golden Isles Airport is a quick 20-minute drive, with three incoming Delta Connection flights daily.

Spotlight on The King and Prince

Monday, April 25th, 2011

 

This article by Sheila Gaspers published on the Tango Diva Blog introuduces St. Simons Island and King and Prince with some history and description of the area.  She then provides information on The King and Prince Resort and its amenities.

Spotlight: The King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort – St. Simons Island, Georgia

April 13th, 2011 by Sheila

saint simons island lighthouse

Georgia welcomes thousands of visitors to its coast each year. The natural beauty and the rich history of its barrier islands, treasured living sanctuaries, are important to the Georgia Coast’s continued universal tourism appeal and year-round draw.

Georgia Coastal Marsh

St. Simons Island is counted among Georgia’s four barrier islands that are accessible by car. This important distinction combined with St. Simons proximity to Historic Savannah, Atlanta and North Florida, has moved the island up the ranks to a top pick position as a preferred Southeast vacation destination.

Pristine family friendly beaches, miles of hiking and biking trails, unique shopping and unlimited dining options, combined with the region’s cultural, historical and natural assets keep visitors coming back for more.

king and prince beach

Prior to World War II, the island’s tourism efforts suffered; St. Simons struggled to compete with the newly fashionable hot spots like Palm Beach. Moreover, the island culture was lacking – essentially too conservative to retain and attract visitors and new residents.

It was only when the island’s only private beach and dance club, changed hands and rose to new hospitality heights that positive change ensued. The King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort celebrating over 76 years of service this year, has been instrumental in shaping and defining the island experience. The resort has received countless awards. Recognized by the National Register of Historic Places and an active member of Historic Hotels of America, the resort is true to its rich historical roots. An illustrious past and a reputation for superior service, refined accommodations and savory cuisine have elevated the King and Prince Resort to a status well worthy of its title as ”the island’s most cherished retreat”.

Sweeping ocean views, spectacular sunsets, and quiet magical moments…are the norm at this beautiful seaside resort.

A welcomed change from the urban jungle, island life is slow and easy. Everything is within reach by bike or foot. Serenity reigns supreme. One learns quickly that all schedules adhere to island time.

The King & Prince Resort is committed to keeping guests happily engaged. Activities abound! There are five pools, a fitness center, jacuzzi, tennis courts and miles of oceanfront beach.

And, to the delight of many…there is Golf…and a Spa.

The newly renovated 18-hole PAR 72 Golf Course is located offsite just minutes away on the north end of the island. The King & Prince Golf Course at Hampton Club, designed by legendary architect Joe Lee is best known for its unparalleled scenic beauty – dramatic moss-draped oaks, vast salt marshes, lagoons and lakes that are woven throughout the green. The near $4 million facelift enhanced and expanded the course; a new irrigation system, a chipping green, fairway bunkers and a variety of quality grasses were among the upgrades. Avid Golfers can take a sneak peak by accessing the 3D animated fly-over tour online. Director of Sales, Bud St. Pierre is a huge fan of the new hi-tech tour – “It’s an in-depth virtual tour where one can see bridges, bunkers, shapes of the ponds, sprawling live oaks, expansive marsh views and more. It even includes a full course map, score card and vibrant photos.”

Resort Guest Rates start at $79 per person (includes green fees and half-cart)

Golf On St SimonsSpa on st simons island

The Spa, suitably named The Royal Treatment Cottage, operates out of a small converted 3 bedroom bungalow within the resort complex. Guests can enjoy massage treatments that span a variety of disciplines and techniques including Swedish, Deep Tissue, Aromatherapy and Reflexology. Services are limited at this time so book ahead.

Location: St. Simons Island – Georgia Coast. Easy access from I-95 (exits 29, 36 or 39). Less than 70 miles from Jacksonville International Airport and the Savannah Airport.

Rooms & Rates: 195 Guest Rooms. Rates are Seasonal. Range: $119-$1000

Contact Reservations for Special Package Savings.

There is an impressive selection to please even the most discerning travel diva – from modern to historic, standard room to oversized suite, and ocean to resort views. The resort also offers a 2 or 3 bedroom villa complete with a full kitchen, spacious living area, patio and/or balcony, as well as, a private building pool and hot tub. For those who desire ultimate luxury and privacy, you can choose from one of six unique residences.

Visit the resort’s website for full descriptions and floorplans.

oceanfront roomcabanas on st simons island

My top picks for the ultimate girlfriend getaway: (1) The Tabby House, a luxurious Mediterranean style retreat with wrap-around porches on two levels; (2) the Wesley Cottage, a quaint one-story/one bedroom beach bungalow with kitchen, living & dining room, pull out sleeper sofa, as well as, a private backyard surrounded by its very own white picket fence; (3) The Oleander Building’s Ocean View Room, offering quiet comfort with 2 queen beds and private balcony.

Standard In-Room Amenities: Telephone, Digital Clock, Hair Dryer, Coffee-Maker, Large Flat Screen TV, DVD/CD Player, Mini-fridge, quality bath toiletries, and complimentary Wi-Fi Access.

Restaurants & Bars: You don’t need to look beyond the resort grounds for the finest authentic Southern cuisine and the Georgia Coast’s freshest seafood. Think Wild Georgia Shrimp…and you are a goner from the moment you arrive!

From formal to casual settings, the resort offers some of the best dining on the island.

The Friday Night Seafood Buffet is legendary and should not be missed!

seafood buffet on st simons islandst simons island seafood restaurant

Hosted in a phenomenal historic setting, the resort’s oceanfront Delegal Room adorned with 11 stained glass window masterpieces depicting scenes of island history, this elaborate buffet dinner is an unforgettable sumptuous feast guaranteed to tantalize all your senses.

Do not dismay…satisfy those next day hunger pangs at the hotel’s Kings Tavern or outdoor Paradise Beach Bar & Grill.

Fresh, Healthy, Fresh and Delicious are on the menu 24/7!

The King and Prince Resort invites you to unwind in the sunshine and frolic in the ocean surf.

Relax, renew and revel in the simple pleasures of this Coastal Georgia gem.

Book your escape package today online or call: 800-342-0212

For all your Coastal Georgia travel planning needs, visit the Brunswick-Golden Isles Tourism website or call 800-933-COAST.

For “St. Simons Discovery” recommendations, please check my blog posts for insights – from fun outings to food – that will inspire and enhance your island adventure.

Paradise Beach Bar & Grill Opens for the Season

Tuesday, March 8th, 2011

It is now March, which means Spring is here in the Golden Isles!  King and Prince Beach and Golf Resort reopened its poolside Paradise Beach Bar & Grill last weekend.  The seasonal bar and grill remains open through the summer and early fall and offers an ultra casual dining option that will enable you to set your body clock on island time.

Paradise opens daily at 11 AM.  It serves lunch items and many types of drinks and cocktails.  There is no better way to relax in the beautiful Georgia sun than laying by our pool and palm trees and sipping one of our delicious cocktails.  Definitely try our signature King and Prince Lifesaver.   It is delicious, especially paired with one of our burgers.  Come as you are, relax and enjoy!

See our Paradise Menu here.

The King and Prince Resort Pools

Kristi Sanders Visits St. Simons Island

Thursday, February 17th, 2011

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.

Want edutainment?

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.

Want golf?

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.

“The Southern Spirit of St. Simons Island, Georgia”

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

Linda Kissam visited The King and Prince Resort a few weeks ago.  She wrote a raving review of The Resort and St. Simons Island.  Her review was posted in her blog and on Tripatini.

 

King and Prince Beach

Beach at The King and Prince

There’s a lot to be said for Southern hospitality. There’s much more to be said experiencing it for yourself. I was very fortunate to do just that in a five-day trip to St. Simons Island, Georgia. For a traveling wine aficionado and foodie like me, this has got to be one of my top three trips this year. It’s quite clear that Southern hospitality focuses heavily on food and the role it plays in daily life and social interaction. Add some great wines, amazing beaches and fun activities… and Voila! I found Southern nirvana.

For a Southern California girl it’s a bit unnerving to be addressed as “Ma’am “all the time. I am more used to hearing “Babe, ”Dude,” and “Hey”. But there’s a whole lot of emphasis in the South on the etiquette of being addressed as “Ma’am” and “Sir” to demonstrate respect. After about 20 minutes I actually rolled quite easily into the greeting. How nice to find that manners still exist and flourish in today’s casual world.

Crowne Plaza Hotel

My St. Simon’s experience began with a 5-hour plane ride to Jacksonville Airport. Arriving a bit late, I decided to rest up and regroup at the newly refurbished and award winning Crowne Plaza Hotel. This is one of the few hotels that still offer a free shuttle to/from the airport. I was treated to an amazing executive level room overlooking a beautiful courtyard. I loved, loved loved the beautiful business center located just feet from my room. It offered a computer and printer to conduct business at and luxe furnishings (including a huge flat screen TV) to stretch out and relax in. I was delighted to also find a great coffee maker featuring lattes, cappuccinos, teas, and hot chocolate; and a refrigerator stocked with ice cream, fruit and other delights. These people understand the business traveler.

Crowne Plaza Executive Chef White

While touring the hotel’s impressive restaurant, conference/event areas, lobby bar, Internet Café, and fitness center, I noticed a solid mix of business and family guests. I headed back to my room where I was met by Executive Chef Arthur White carrying a yummy welcome fruit platter. He was kind enough to sit with me awhile while we talked about his background, his philosophy and the foods he loves to prepare. This 31-year veteran started his career at the property as a dishwasher. His hard work ethic and culinary mastery eventually earned him the top chef spot. He describes his cooking style and offerings as a mixture of Southern, Caribbean, Italian, Cajun and American cuisine. He shared with me that his favorite ingredient is cream as he loves creating cream soups, sauces and Seafood Newburg. Eating at the restaurant is a treat. I highly recommend this hotel for its upscale amenities, friendly business traveler atmosphere, and its family-friendly facilities. How they can blend all that into one fabulous hotel experience I am not sure, but they do, and you should take advantage of it whether flying in for a cruise, a sports game, or a trip to the dazzling St Simon’s Island.

The King and Prince Beach

St Simons Island Beaches

The next morning I was picked up by Max Transport for the one-hour ride to St. Simons and my lodging The King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort. I began to first understand the extraordinary St. Simons Island aura as I crossed the five-mile causeway experiencing stunning river views, immense salt marshes, and my first glimpse of the Atlantic Ocean. Once on the Island, tunnels of Live Oaks, picturesque ocean-side streets and homes, and all the natural beauty, beaches, intriguing shopping opportunities and an array of restaurant choices all called out to me to stop, relax and renew.

King and Prince Lobby

The King and Prince Lobby

The historic King and Prince Resort has been welcoming guests since 1935. I could go on and on about the historic resort. The room choices are endless and appropriate for every need and budget. Think beach front rooms, villas, suites, and guest homes. Add in 10, 000 sq. ft. of ocean front meeting, conference and function space, wedding facilities and several excellent dining options and you have the ultimate experience. My beach front room was just steps from the beach, was beautifully appointed and featured a lovely patio to chill out on. Wine in one hand, computer in the other… I was soon relaxing on comfortable wicker furniture listening to the soothing sounds of crashing Atlantic waves.

St Simons Lighthouse Trolley

Lighthouse Trolley

Having met up with several friends, I was soon hopping on the St. Simons Lighthouse Trolley to begin my exploration of St. Simons’ history and the Southern fun and hospitality experience. First stop was the Coast Guard Maritime Museum. This was to be my introduction to the intriguing history of the Georgia Coast. A 20-minute video and a 30 minute tour of the museum explained the ecological nuances of the Georgia’s barrier islands of which St. Simons is the second largest of Georgia’s 18 barrier islands, encompassing 31 square miles. Open seven days a week with an admission price of $6.00, be sure to stop by.

Colonial Coast Birding Trail

Gould’s Inlet

With the day waning, the trolley made a final sunset stop at Gould’s Inlet. Gould’s Inlet is the opening between St. Simons East Beach and the south tip of Sea Island providing inspiring views of coastal birds. Picturesque wooden observation platforms are part of the experience for wildlife viewing. Migrants and resident species of birds can be seen every day. High or incoming tides are best for birding at this site, but something will be there all the time, as was the case with my time there.

The King's Tavern

Chef Robyn Gomez at The King and Prince

Dinner that night was at the hotel in the lovely Solarium. We were treated to appetizers and White Sangria, with a main course of Wild Georgia Shrimp & Grits, seafood salad, and Peach Cobbler…all via a culinary demo featuring Chef Robyn Gomez. Have to confess, up until that night I had never had grits or White Shrimp. Both were exquisite and made an immediate convert out of me. The food, the service, and the culinary talents of Chef Gomez defines gracious Southern hospitality and is definitely what culinary memories are made of. And oh yes, you have to love that the perfect wine – a 2007 MontGras Reserva Sauvignon Blanc from Casablanca Valley, Chile was chosen to pair with the dinner.

Next morning my friends and I popped into the King & Prince King’s Tavern for their world-famous Breakfast Buffet and to listen to a short talk on 75 years of St. Simons History with Curt Smith, the Lighthouse Events Coordinator and Historian. Let me just say that “Wow” defines the buffet and the Mimosa’s. I loved the eclectic mix of Southern focused dishes and all- American favorites.

Golf On St Simons

King and Prince Golf Course

Back on the trolley, the group headed out for an afternoon of golf and lunch at the King and Prince Golf Course. Paired up in two’s in golf carts we toured the award-winning course well-known for its challenging layout amongst ancient forests, vast salt marshes and dramatic island holes. Had to love the two alligators sunning themselves on the 15th hole (see on the left)! After the tour we were treated to a golf lesson including a swing lesson and a putting lesson. I sucked big time at learning how to swing a club, but was dynamite in the putting class. Lunch came next in the comfortable clubhouse overlooking the huge lake that adds to the challenge of the course’s 9th hole. If it’s golf you like, this is the place for you. Also a great place for a wedding.

Back at the hotel I opted for a walk on the beach at low tide. The soothing coastal air and wet sand beneath my toes reinforced that this untouched island haven is a luxury of time well spent. Dinner was a short stroll away at the Saltwater Cowboy. Owner George Stewart‘s vision for this casual eatery centers around steak, seafood, low country boil, burgers and a nice selection of cocktails, beer and wine. I had a lovely Cabernet with my generous tasty 16-oz Rib Eye. Open seven days a week for dinner, enjoy the frequent live music and really cool bar.

Sandcastle Cafe

St Simons Island Village

Up early the next morning, our group was back on The Lighthouse trolley to the Sandcastle Café. Tim and Melissa Welford have a gold mine in this village, “hole in the wall.” The place was crowded, and for good reason. The food is good, plentiful, affordable and easily lives up to its “family legend” status of 20 years. Order off the menu or enjoy the breakfast buffet. Afterwards stroll the shops and sights that make up this scenic waterfront village. I certainly scored in several of the boutique shops, but in a few hours I was back on the trolley heading out for lunch at Southern Soul BBQ.

Southern Soul BBQ

This is what I had been waiting for …Southern BBQ, and I was not disappointed. Another crazy-busy spot this Southern smoke joint slow hardwood smokes their ribs, chicken, sausages and beef. Featured on Food Network’s, “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” this is a local landmark and deservedly so. Eat inside or outdoors, expect a short wait, and delicious melt-in-your mouth BBQ. Geese I really really loved the variety of squirt bottles of spicy, mild, smoky, and Carolina- style sauces available at each seating area. Get yourself some spicy ribs, sweet tea or cool beer, and be ready for the experience of a lifetime.

Lady Jane

Filled to the gills, we were off to an authentic shrimp boat experience aboard the “Lady Jane.” For me, this particular experience was my “Wow” moment of the trip because it brought together all the St Simons Island puzzle pieces together. it was the culmination of the beauty, the brawn and the ecological magic that makes this place so special. The Lady Jane is a United States Coast Guard certified 49 passenger steel shrimping vessel painstakingly refurbished for an enjoyable seafaring cruise. Lady Jane is the only shrimp vessel on the entire east coast that has been certified by the USCG to carry 49 passengers. Our crew and guides, Paul Christian (Marine Biologist), Phillip Flournoy (Marine Biologist)and a very mature and focused teenager Clifford Credle (aspiring Marine Biologist) dredged the inland coastal waterway for shrimp. We were invited to help sort through the catch of shrimp, Bonnethead , Blacktip, Sand shark, Horseshoe Crab,Puffer Fish, Amberjack, Crocker, Spot, Whiting, Bluecrab, and Skate while learning about the waterway ecology and each portion of the catch from Cilfford. As a extra bonus we were offered fresh shrimp to eat, boiled and prepared by First Mate John Tyre. Weather is never a concern, as the Lady Jane performs quite nicely in the protected waters of St. Simon Sound, has an air conditioned cabin, restroom, and large open decks with ample room to walk around and enjoy the views. About $40 per person, this is a deal …and a memory for a lifetime.

The “Southern” experience is something I highly endorse. If you’ve never been a part of this engaging phenomena, I suggest you start the discovery process at the King and Prince resort on St. Simons Island.

If you already know what I am talking about, then you know how right I am … so what’s keeping you from booking a room at The King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort, and falling in love all over again?

Judy Wells Wishes The King and Prince Happy Birthday

Friday, August 27th, 2010

Judy Wells, writer of  the blog Travel On The Level, recounts her visit to The King and Prince.  She mentions the 75 year history, resort amenities, and her favorite King’s Tavern meals.

Happy Birthday, St. Simons Island Hotel

The King and Prince Resort

When a St. Simons Island, GA, hotel celebrates its 75th anniversary, you know it’s been doing something right.

In the case of the King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort, it’s been doing a lot of things right.

First there was location – on the ocean with dance floors inside and out. Then there was policy. The other hotel, The Cloister on Sea Island, was marketed to the well-to-do and the K and P opened as a private dance club. After being leveled by two mysterious fires, K and P was rebuilt and opened to the public. In the meantime, The Cloister had become almost a private club and enclave for Midwesterners. K and P’s live bands and dances were the hit of the island. Didn’t take long for K and P to be known as the fun place to go.

Delegal Room

Fancy, too. Rooms, food and service have always been important so it was where you went for those special occasions.

It still is. K and P’s grand buffets – seafood on Friday night, brunch on Sunday and breakfast daily – are famous. Lodgings have all been updated and enlarged, varying from standard rooms or oceanfront suites to one- to three-bedroom condos and individual cottages.

King and Prince Golf Course

Of course there are kids’ activities, a spa, tennis and a challenging and beautiful Joe Lee golf course at the Hampton Club. But another set of amenities makes K and P unique. You don’t often find a resort, especially in the South, with outdoor and indoor pools plus a wide swath of oceanfront beach. Actually, there are five pools, including the heated one indoors.

Best of all for Levelers, it’s on a very flat island.

Two of The King and Prince’s Five Pools

Warning: Be careful if booking a room in the hotel. Preserving yet updating and adding to the original building made for some strange configurations and passageways. Ask for a room near the elevator because avoiding stairs adds to the amount of walking you must do in the process.

Chef Robyn

I and several other travel writers were invited to K&P for a special birthday celebration which included an anniversary dinner featuring seven decades of Southern coastal cuisine. It was grand.

Executive Chef Robyn Gomez demonstrated his cooking techniques and let us in on the recipes for the resort’s popular Shrimp and Grits and their yummy Oatmeal Raisin Muffins. I’ll share these with you via posts to http://foodafar.blogspot.com/.

So happy birthday, K and P, and many more to come!

Read more on the Travel On The Level blog.

King and Prince Shrimp and Grits Recipe

Friday, August 20th, 2010

On a recent visit to The King and Prince, Debi Lander tried the Shrimp and Grits dish in the King’s Tavern Restaurant.  Her review and recipe can be found here on her food blog.

By~Lander~Sea Food Tales

Restaurant Reviews, Recipes and Ramblings from Debi Lander

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Shrimp & Grits

shrimp and grits recipe

Shrimp and Grits at The King and Prince

I’ve called Florida my home for 14 years but I’m not a G.R.I.T.- meaning  a ” girl raised in the South.”  Truth be told: I don’t even like grits. They feel grainy in my mouth,seriously– gritty is the right word.

However, while staying at The King and Prince Resort on St. Simons Island in coastal Georgia, I attended an elegant dinner featuring Shrimp and Grits.  I’ve got to admit, the dish was sinfully luscious and I devoured it.

Chef Robyn Gomez Cooking Shrimp and Grits

Chef Robyn Gomez prepared the recipe in front of the guests and he changed my mind. Grits are worthy of royalty- at The King and Prince.

King and Prince Shrimp and Grits
Serves 6 to 8 people

Burgundy Gravy
2 ounces water
1 pound shrimp – 26-30 count
3/4 cup sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup julienned green pepper
1/2 cup julienned onion
8 beef bouillon cubes
1 quart water
Dash of salt
Dash of cayenne pepper
4 ounces Burgundy wine

Sautee shrimp for Shrimp and Grits Recipe

Sauté onion, mushrooms, and peppers in butter.  Add wine and bring to boil.  Add salt and cayenne pepper, reduce heat.  Add shrimp and simmer for 5 minutes.  Add beef bouillon cubes and mix well, add water, and bring to boil.  Thicken with a 1/2 cornstarch and 1/2 water mixture.

Cheese Grits
2 cups stone ground grits
1 quart chicken stock
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups half and half
1 1/2 cups Monterrey Jack cheese
1/4 cup water

Bring chicken stock and cream to boil.  Add grits, cook for 5 minutes. After grits cook, add the 1/4 cup of water.  Add

Shrimp and Grits

Simmer Shrimp and Grits

cheese, reduce hear, and simmer for 5 minutes.  Add butter, stir well and cook for 10 minutes.