A vacation means different things to different people. Some folks relax by taking on new sports, immersing themselves in foreign cultures or learning the history of exotic new destinations. For others, nothing relaxes like the comfort of the familiar. They dream of baking in the sun poolside with nothing on the “to do” list but applying sunscreen. Perhaps the only thing that’s universal about every vacation is that it should be an escape from the everyday routine, an experience that recharges one’s batteries. To help rate destinations on such a scale, I’ve developed something I call the “Rx” factor, for the power to help a vacationer relax. It’s my personal scale for rating the relaxation quotient of a vacation destination – a place’s power to meet a vacationer’s needs.
One of my favorite spots, hands down, is St. Simons Island, Georgia. This quaint island is part of the “Golden Isles” of the Georgia Coast,
where every visitor can feel instantly part of a time-honored summer tradition. And its “Rx” factor is through the roof, with these key ingredients making St. Simon’s a perfect place to relax.
A Slower, Timeless Pace
Nobody is in much of a hurry on St. Simons. At top island spots like the King and Prince Resort, for instance, the front desk staff works efficiently. But they’ll also take the time to suggest a favorite spot to watch the sunset. The entire island has a rhythm of its own, a pace that instantly eases the tension out of work-weary shoulders and connects mind and spirit with the gentle sounds of the ocean. It’s just as perfect for bike riding as it is for strolling. Bring or rent bikes and see for yourself.
By and large, this is a place you and your kids can walk the streets after dark in complete confidence. Like all vacation spots, it’s important to keep your valuables secured. But this is a pedestrian-friendly island, with plenty of foot traffic along the streets and beside the waterfront in the charming downtown area. A dose of common sense will keep you out of trouble and enjoying your vacation.
Pleasant, Colorful Locals
Shopkeepers, waitresses and locals can make or break a vacation town. St. Simons Island has plenty of townspeople who can jawbone for hours and sincerely welcome newcomers to the wonderful place they call home. They’ve got opinions and they don’t mind sharing. If you want an idea about anything from a great spot to fish to the best place to impress a date, you’re sure to find an answer.
Nourishment for the Soul
For our family, great food at the beach is a non-negotiable. St. Simons doesn’t disappoint. Charming local haunts like Iguana’s serve fresh-from-the-surf seafood. Sal’s Neighborhood Pizzeria offers a bit of New York, with delectable pizza, sandwiches, salads and Italian specialties all made with care and served in a bustling Little Italy atmosphere with colorful commentary by Sal, a former boxing wunderkind. And for a special treat, the King’s Tavern restaurant at the celebrated King and Prince Resort presents fresh catch of the day seafood dishes that you’ll remember long after you’ve shaken the sand out of your shoes back home.
See how close you can get to a perfect vacation Rx! Contact www.kingandprince.com to make arrangements.
There are perhaps a few hundred places to stay along the pristine coast of Georgia, but none captures the true essence of Southern coastal living quite like the grand dame: The King and Prince Resort. Its majestic stucco buildings command a stunning ocean front locale on historic St. Simon’s Island. Once you’ve stepped inside, greeted by the friendly staff, it’s as if tensions melt away, taking the worries of frantic, email, text-happy living right along with them. This is truly the kind of loafers-no-socks ease that lets every visitor feel instantly like an honored guest, and for a few days at least, as part of the privileged few. Count on traditional Southern gentility from every staff member, from the wide welcoming smiles of the front desk staff to the attentive wait staff who serve frosty drinks and delicious sandwiches, snacks and drinks poolside.
Originally built as a private dance club in 1935, The King and Prince was established soon after prohibition ended, offering its members and guests a welcoming spot to unwind while perfecting a foxtrot, Charleston or waltz. Its sweeping ballrooms, vast ceilings and the only ocean-front restaurant on the island make the ambiance one of a kind. But happily, nothing about this grand hotel feels stuffy or formal. There’s a kind, easy atmosphere you can’t help but notice. Guests of all ages find something special to appreciate.
For families, it’s the carefree confidence of spending precious moments with little ones building sand castles and dipping their tiny feet into the gentle ocean waves. Poolside, Moms and Dads appreciate the freedom to order drinks, snacks and sandwiches served to their delighted brood at tables surrounding the pool. Kids like not having to stop and dress to eat lunch. Burgers taste best eaten in a swimsuit in the shade. Parents appreciate the simple luxury of having time to spend together without wrestling their water babies into shorts and shoes. Everybody wins!
It’s easy to spend your days simply relishing the luxury of free time, strolling on the beach or baking by the pool. But once your batteries recharge and you’re ready for something more active, St. Simon’s offers plenty to do. Rent bicycles for the day or week from Ocean Motion, a shop so close it’s practically part of the resort. Once you pick out the perfect bike, the island is yours! Head into town to explore the quaint shops, candy store, ice cream shop, and a wonderful pier that extends out from the village far into the ocean. Ambitious cyclists might want to head for Fort Frederica, a spectacular state park built around the ruins of a pre-revolutionary Fort. Picnicking on the grounds at tables under the live oaks will be a highlight of your vacation.
Another fun way to explore St. Simon’s is by kayak. Treat yourself to an excursion with SouthEast Adventure Outfitters. Whether you set out on the marsh or down Cathead Creek, kayaking is an exhilarating way to get close to the water and see the birds and, if you’re lucky, playful dolphins. Paddling is easy and relaxing. And because the guides know a lot about the island’s ecology and history, their commentary makes this family-friendly activity educational as well as fun. Those interested in fishing can rent gear and drop a line off the fishing pier downtown, or join one of the several fishing charters available for an offshore adventure.
Despite all there is to do in St. Simon’s, you just might find yourself drawn to the simple pleasure of doing nothing at all. Many guests report their favorite memories are made during the warm afternoons at the beach, watching crabs scurry or children push shovels in the sand and “dig to China.” As the pelicans dive for fish and the gentle waves lap the shore, the sounds of laughter are all around. Time seems to stand still, just for a moment, as families escape the hurried pace of the everyday back home and fall into a new, more relaxed pattern that connects all ages. Many families visit with multi-generations, from vibrant seniors to infants blinking in the sun and toddlers taking their first tentative steps in sand. Little ones and school age children blossom as they run in and out of the ocean, taking breaks to peer into holes and gather shells and sticks. Groups of teens gather to toss a ball or try one of the low rider bicycles for rent on the beach. Easy pedaling sends riders speeding down the beach, and there’s a smile on every face.
Even a few precious days at the King and Prince Beach Resort on Georgia’s St. Simon’s Island can refuel the spirit and reconnect loved ones. It’s hard to think of anything this gracious seaside retreat doesn’t offer. But in the end, the most important thing most visitors find is a sense of themselves and those they love. Truly, a trip to St. Simon’s will be packed with memories to cherish for a lifetime. Visitors return home feeling they’ve escaped the business of modern life, and connected to the gentle Southern seaside life that will forever endure the test of time.
Sucheta Rawal of Go Eat Give visited The King and Prince recently and had a great time aboard The Lady Jane, as written in her article, “Catching a Shark in Georgia.”
Shrimping is a fun activity for the entire family and I recommend you try it at least once. It’s not just about catching the shrimp, but learning about how a food you enjoy every day makes its way from the ocean’s floor on to your plate. And who knows, you may get to see a surprise visitor too!
Read more of Sucheta’s story and see her pictures of “Shrimpin’” in action here.
Did you know that Delta Airlines services Brunswick Golden Isles Airport directly from Atlanta? A 40-minute flight puts you a 20-minute drive from The King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort. If you’re traveling between August and December, check out this deal! For more information, visit www.delta.com. The airport code is BQK.
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Brunswick Golden Isles Airport to/from Atlanta
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The fine print:
The boss has given you one more deadline, your son is begging to take on one more sport (doubling your chauffeur duties), the grass needs to be cut, you need to go grocery shopping, your little princess has varnished your new couch with a bottle of nail polish, that load of clothes in the dryer has been there for DAYS and now needs to be ironed. Ready for a break yet? Come on down to The King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort to de-stress and reward yourself.
We think a vacation should be all about fun and relaxation. Our newly revived pool complex is our summertime hub of activities. Kelsey Todd, our Activities Director, has a variety of activities planned for the kids. Our Ocean Terrace Grille offers up delicious cuisine and refreshing libations (for both kids and grown-ups) so you don’t even have to abandon your comfy lounge chair. Just soak up the sun and enjoy! Enjoy these photos of our summertime happenings, and call today to book your well-deserved getaway!
Experiencing the history, beauty, tranquility and the food of St. Simons Island
By Elayne Spencer
Part One: In this installment, I am focusing on the food I found while staying on St. Simons Island. In my next installment, I will share with you the historical highlights of the Island, making it a perfect place for a fall field trip.
If the coast of Georgia isn’t on your mind as a destination for a family/educational get-away, you’ll want to add it to your list immediately. If you’re trying to work in
an affordable “field trip” for your homeschooling family, fall or early spring are exceptional times to visit the area. The rates are lower than in the summer months, but the days are warm and the nights are cool… perfect weather for exploring all the island has to offer.
Nestled among the coastline and barrier islands of Georgia, Brunswick and the
Golden Isles welcome you to a truly exhilarating expanse of sea, sun, and fun. There is so much do and see! Yet, just relaxing and taking in the beauty of these fabled shores will give you enough wonderful memories to last for years. After experiencing the hospitality and beauty of St. Simons Island, it’s apparent why Georgia stays in the minds of so many, evoking images of open arms and peaceful dreams.
There’s a peaceful, laid-back feel on St. Simons Island. It’s quiet. It’s established. It has many year-round residents. Yet, you feel at home. When you enter restaurants and shops you are treated not as a guest but as a friend. There’s a lack of pretentiousness that personifies the soul of the South.
YUM YUM YUM
And the food? I’m not sure I could find better food. Anywhere.
There are foods that I have not been particularly drawn to in the past. Before I left for this trip, however, I decided to open up my mind (and my palate) and view every culinary exposure as an adventure. I was not disappointed.
After checking in at The King and Prince Resort, the adventure began! At dinner, I was seated next to Vinny D’Agostino, Food & Beverage Director at The King and Prince. Besides having a contagious and delightful sense of fun and adventure, Vinny has an amazing grasp on the nuances of food preparation, history and creation. Throughout the rest of the trip, I stayed close to Vinny and experienced food I’d never been brave enough to try. The first culinary treat was Apalachiacola Oysters on the half shell with sweet corn, asparagus, tomato and cilantro vinaigrette. I planned to pretend I liked the dish, but as it turned out, no acting skills were necessary. It was delectable! No one was more surprised than I. I think Vinny had a napkin handy … just in case.
We were joined by Chef Jeff Kaplan and Bud St. Pierre, Director of Sales and Marketing. Dinner was prepared before our eyes and I never expected to be so smitten with grits! I’d had grits before, but none that rival the ones served to us that night … Wild Georgia Low Country Shrimp and Grits.
I love shrimp prepared any way. Fried, boiled, grilled … you name it. I have eaten shrimp all over the country, but there is something that distinguishes Wild Georgia shrimp from any other shrimp I’ve ever eaten. They’re unusually sweet. According toWild Georgia Shrimp, they have their own unique flavor. The flesh is firm and the color is fresh. Wild Georgia Shrimp grow naturally. According to Monterey Bay Aquarium, “Southeast Asian wetlands, especially mangrove forests, are being destroyed to create commercial shrimp farms. These ponds build up muck which can cause shrimp to have pollutants or disease.” Yuck. There’s none of that muck in this sweet, succulent shrimp.
Chef Kaplan prepared Shrimp and Grits in a Tasso Cream Sauce. If you’d like to try your hand at it, here’s the recipe. I’m pretty sure the addition of asiago cheese is a nod to Vinny’s Italian roots. I’ve never met an Italian spin I didn’t like.
King and Prince Shrimp & Grits in a Tasso Cream Sauce Recipe
1 cup heaving cream
1/3 cup tasso ham
¼ cup kernel corn
¼ cup diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons chopped green onions
½ cup wild Georgia shrimp
1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning
¼ cup asiago cheese
salt and pepper to taste
Preparation: In a sauce pan, sauté the Georgia shrimp with Cajun seasoning using olive oil. In another pan, sauté tasso ham, corn, tomatoes, and green onions: add heavy cream and asiago cheese: let simmer two minutes. Add shrimp and serve over stone ground grits of your choice.
I could go on and on about the food. (Too late … I think I already have!) We visitedSouthern Soul Barbeque, housed in a converted 1940s gas station. All the smoking is done with wood. Prior to our visit, Guy Fieri from Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives visited. (Watch here…)
Among our group, we tried nearly every kind of smoked meat on the menu – it was all delicious. My mouth is still watering over the fried green beans. Delicious! Take a look at the menu … it’s so affordable. It’s also gone through its share of challenges and hasrisen from the ashes, so to speak, only a month or so after being visited by Guy.
Heading to the downtown area, we visited Palmer’s Cafe to see Palmer Fortune and his beloved team. I can’t think of a breakfast food I like more than Eggs Benedict. Palmer’s puts a distinctive, southern spin on its version. Their version of Eggs Benedict is fondly called “The Southern.” It is two poached eggs, collards and ham served on an open faced biscuit with homemade ‘pot-licker’ gravy. In place of the usual Canadian Bacon, there was a thick, crispy fried green tomato. I have spent nights awake thinking about that scrumptious tomato. I grew up on fried green tomatoes, but they were nothing like the one I had at Palmer’s. (Sorry, Mom.) Check out their breakfast menu.
Chef Dave Snyder of Halyards surpassed all of our expectations with a sampling of what must have been every single item he serves at his restaurant. Every selection on the menu is prepared fresh – seafood, beef, poultry, game, sauces, soups and sweets. And every single thing is made from scratch. How can you not love a place that hangs its hat on using fresh food and making everything from scratch? While my mouth watered while tasting his luscious the seafood, I have to say … the grilled vegetables were some of the best I’ve ever eaten. Probably because they were fresh … And made from scratch.
And Vinny D’Agostino? Are you reading this? I am waiting on my batch of homemade Limoncello to arrive … It’s been a hot summer here! I need a refreshing treat!
Special thanks to my fellow journalists and Leigh Cort. I look forward to perhaps
crossing paths with all of you again. Maybe a reunion?
MORE PHOTOS BELOW
Chef Dave Snyder of Halyards
There’s more than shrimp in that net!
“The Southern” at Palmer’s Cafe
Shark attack! Follow Will’s travel adventures http://blogs.gonomad.com/wake-and-wander/
Chef Snyder’s fresh selection of seafood
Southern Cuisine, Ocean Breezes, and History — All at The King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort on St. Simons Island
By Diane Leone
It’s almost impossible not to feel a bit like royalty while staying at The King and Prince. It’s not just the sparkling water in the sprawling pool area or the ocean breeze from the blue Atlantic just outside your room — it’s also the history of the resort, having started in 1935 as a private dance club only to become The King and Prince Hotel in 1941. And the royal feel continues as you learn the history of St. Simons and enjoy the Southern hospitality of the local residents and business owners. They are on “island time” and it won’t be long before you are, too. Soon you’ll never want to leave this paradise.
Attending the four-day “Southern Culinary Cuisine” event at The King and Prince is an amazing treat.
With the recent addition of Executive Chef Jeff Kaplan, The King and Prince has succeeded in creating an exceptional Southern Cuisine experience for its guests. Chef Kaplan embraces the “Food to Table Movement.” This was apparent from the first evening, when the menu included inventive drinks from Georgia’s 13th Colony Distillery, an amazing spread of artisan cheeses from Sweet Grass Dairy (Thomasville, GA) paired with local honeys and jams, delicious White Georgia Shrimp & Grits, melt-in-your-mouth crème brûlée with fresh Georgia peaches, and buttery Chardonnay made from the Muscadine grape (compliments of Georgia’s Still Pond Winery).
You will awake to the sound of the ocean waves hitting the beach. Don’t miss a chance to watch the sunrise over the ocean before you make your way to the culinary delight that awaits you for breakfast. One such dish is Chef Kaplan’s take on traditional eggs benedict, a delightful meal with perfectly poached eggs resting on fried green tomatoes, bacon, and goat cheese on top of English muffins.
Although you could simply spend the day at the edge of the ocean or at the pool, basking in the sun and sampling the Southern fare, there are activities to explore on St. Simons that will help you burn some calories so you can enjoy more Southern Cuisine delights. One such option is The King and Prince Golf Course, designed by architect Joe Lee; the course is famous for a group of four spectacular signature holes delicately situated in the marsh. Watch for the eagle nest and alligators if the grand 300-year-old oaks with moss hanging lazily off their limbs are not enough to capture your attention while experiencing this beautiful golf course. If you want to see the island and hear stories of its history, take a trolley tour with Cap Fendig, whose family has resided on St. Simons since the 1800s.
To really feel the local vibe of the fresh food you are tasting, take the Let’s Go Shrimpin’ tour on the Lady Jane shrimp boat, where you’ll have the chance to touch the bounty hauled up from the water. Experience the thrill of seeing all of the different fish, sharks, shrimp, and stingrays. During our excursion, a sea turtle was caught in the nets (it’s rare for this to happen), great to see but always put back in the water. Everything caught is put back after guests get to touch, hold, and photograph the catch, except for the shrimp, because the trademark white shrimp are boiled up for guests to dine on before departing the Lady Jane.
For a truly local feel, consider Southern Soul Barbeque, a casual place with benches outside where you can smell the ribs, chicken, pulled pork and killer ‘sides’ cooking. The restaurant has nationwide appeal (featured on shows such as Diners, Drive-ins and Dives).
Don’t miss a visit to Palmer’s Village Café where you’ll find delightful locally-sourced dishes with a beautiful backdrop of local artists’ paintings. The art makes the café feel light and airy and it’s for sale if you find a piece you just have to have. Palmer’s offers up creative breakfast dishes such as a mini biscuit with café sausage and pimento cheese — a Southern tradition — or challah French toast and blueberry orange compote with warm, fresh maple syrup.
While on the island, you simply cannot afford to miss a meal at the award-winning Halyards restaurant, where Chef Dave Snyder features a “seafood demo” with 10-15 varieties of local fish. Our menu included grilled whole shrimp with salsa, sautéed flounder with caramelized vidalia crab scampi butter, oysters grilled with garlic oil and chimichurri, and much more. It’s a must-experience local eatery.
The delightful Sugar Marsh Cottage, located just 13 miles from Brunswick, offered an amazing chocolate tasting, complete with information on how to rate chocolate. This was wonderful — and yet there was more! A honey sampling from Savannah Bee Company was truly an inspiring experience. Who knew there were so many delectable types of honey?
To round out your gourmet sampling of the incredible Southern Culinary Cuisine event, find Food and Beverage Director Mr. Vinny D’Agostino to get his recipe for homemade limoncello. Not only does this Italian after-dinner liqueur aid in digestion, it’s smooth and sublime.
At the end of the day, The King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort, along with St. Simons Island, are worth experiencing. You’ll find yourself on island time in no time at all.
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“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.
I’m looking forward to going shrimping aboard the “Lady Jane” with Captain Larry CreedleWednesday. Besides going shrimping on an authentic shrimp boat for the first time, I will learn about fishing ecology, which my 12-year-old son will appreciate learning about once I get home. He loves anything to do with fishing so he’ll be thrilled to learn about shrimping.
Here is a brief overview of what The King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort and St Simons Island, GA has to offer.
Coastal Outdoor Adventure Camps
This camping adventure strives to teach children how to appreciate nature, how to fish and how to swim. With a different theme every registration date, the Coastal Outdoor Adventure Camp is a family fun part of The King and Prince Beach Resort. There are multiple registration dates throughout the year, so that you can coordinate them with your vacation.Read more about Coastal Outdoor Adventure Camps here.
From yoga classes to swimming, there are dozens of options for families at this resort. There is a special activity coordinator that can help your group develop a schedule of child-friendly adventures. Learn more about King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort activities here.
The King and Prince Resort is filled with beautiful forests and coastal shorelines. You canrent a bike from local bike shop, Ocean Motion, and take one of the scenic bike trails through certain parts of the island. The real point of interest is that your family can rent a bike called a surrey, which holds up to 9 people. It’s an amazing opportunity to bond with your family while exploring nature on vacation.
The King and Prince Resort doesn’t disappoint!