Posts Tagged ‘St. Simons Lighthouse’

History is Alive on St. Simons Island

Thursday, July 17th, 2014

History is Alive on St. Simons Island

Our quaint island paradise is the perfect place to relax on the beach or do some shopping…but did you know that you’ll find history around every corner while you are on St. Simons Island? Home to Ft. Frederica, Christ Church, The St. Simons Island Lighthouse and several trolley companies, there are many ways to explore the rich history of the island.

Fort Frederica- This centuries old fort is located at the northern end of the island was established in 1736 and still stands today as a testament to the dreams, struggle, victory and defeat of the early colonists. If you visit the fort, there are ranger-led tours and re-enactments that take place throughout the year. While learning about the history of the fort, you will take in breathtaking views of the marsh and see many coastal birds. The fort is open 7 days a week from 9am-5pm except for certain holidays.

Christ Church- In 1763, John & Charles Wesley (the fathers of the Methodist church) began holding services under the live oak trees on the property. The church as it stands today, was built by Anson Phelps Dodge, Jr. as a memorial to his late wife. From the beautiful gardens to the interior of the church, to the love story that it tells, this church is a lovely place to visit for an afternoon during your trip to St. Simons Island.

St. Simons Island Lighthouse- The lighthouse is one of only 4 active lighthouses in Georgia. Climb the 129 stairs to the top for a spectacular view of the village, St. Simons Sound and Jekyll Island. While you are visiting, be sure to spend some time at the attached A.W. Jones Heritage Center where you can learn about the coastal heritage of the island. The lighthouse is open daily. View their website for information on specific days and times.

For more information about historic tours and sites as well as trolley tours, visit our website.

 

The Top 5 Romantic Spots on St. Simons Island

Monday, February 10th, 2014

Since Valentine’s Day is this week, we thought we would share our picks for the top 5 most romantic spots on St. Simons Island, Georgia.

Sunset at the Pier - The golden sunsets are sure to leave you speechless and in awe of how beautiful nature can be.

St Simons Island Georgia Pier at Sunset

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunrise from a chair-swing at The King and Prince Resort - Enjoy the stillness of the morning and spend your first waking moments breathing in the salt air and watching the sun rise on another beautiful day.

Chair Swing at The King and Prince Resort

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The top of the St. Simons Island lighthouse - The view is simply spectacular and will make for a memorable moment for you and the one you love.

St Simons Island Lighthouse

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Strolling beneath the live oaks - Whether it is night or day, take a walk underneath the live oaks. The beauty of the giant live oak trees dripping with Spanish moss is a perfect way to spend some quiet time together.

Under The Live Oaks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christ Church - The beauty of the church and its gardens combined with the history of the church (which includes a love story) are enough to make anyone swoon!

Christ Church

 

The Top 5 Reasons to Visit St. Simons Island During the Winter

Friday, December 6th, 2013

Any time of the year is a good time to visit our island paradise but here are our top 5 reasons why St. Simons Island should be on your list this winter.

Beach on St Simons Island5. Quiet Beaches.  Wintertime gives islanders and visitors alike the chance to enjoy our pristine beaches without the crowds of the summer. Whether you are going for a morning walk or reading a book, you may find that while there are others on the beach, it is peaceful and calm. St. Simons Island was also named one of America’s 10 Best Winter Beach Retreats by Yahoo Travel.

4. Coastal Beauty.  Although we are partial to St. Simons, it is by far one of the most special and beautiful places in the U.S.. It is easy to get lost in the beauty of the Golden Isles. From the salt marshes to the maritime forests, pristine beaches, as well as splendid sunrises and sunsets. Nothing compares to the beauty that is all around you-and in the heart of the people on St. Simons Island. When you visit, be sure to take time to learn about the history of the island by visiting the Lighthouse or taking a tour of Fort Frederica. If you are up for an adventure, take a guided kayak tour with Southeast Adventure Outfitters.

3. Moderate Temperatures.  While lows can get into the 40′s, temperatures normally range from the 60′s to 80′s during the winter months in the Golden Isles. While it does rain, skies stay mostly clear and sunny which is great for golfers and those who like to walk on the beach. Who doesn’t love a nice, sunny day? There are plenty of days filled with sunshine on St. Simons Island.

2. Great Prices. If you are looking for a great deal on a hotel room, house or condo, prices will usually be lower during the winter. Nightly, weekly and even monthly rates are often more affordable. Whether you are a family looking for a fun getaway, a couple looking for a romantic weekend away or snowbirds staying for a few weeks or months, you will find lower rates a great way to save some money while having a fantastic trip.

Golf Course St Simons Island

 

1. Golf. With over 200 holes of golf to be played on St. Simons Island and the surrounding areas, the Golden Isles are a golfers paradise! The King and Prince Golf Course on the north end of St. Simons offers some of the best golf around and they often have specials available for resort guests as well as visitors.

Neptune Small – Story of a Friendship

Thursday, June 13th, 2013

The southern tip of Georgia’s Saint Simons Island is a verdant park next to a friendly little town with great shops and some extraordinary restaurants. From the pier at the foot of the village, the view is across to Jekyll Island, and the passage between sometimes fills with looming super cargo ships passing by on their way in or out of Brunswick harbor.

Neptune Park

Neptune Park Playground

Several small hotels and inns are nearby, and it’s only a short stroll or bike ride from the celebrated King and Prince Beach and Golf Resort about a mile up the road or up the beach.

There’s a playground area for kids of all ages, sweeping oaks and waterside benches looking across the way and out to sea. The famed Saint Simon’s Lighthouse stands guard there, with its tales of illicit love, violence and ghosts.

But it’s a tale of loyalty, transcendent friendship and bitter irony that defines the spirit of this place, known as Neptune Park.

View from Neptune Park

View from Neptune Park

In the 1830’s, the lower part of the island was owned by the King family, and operated as the Retreat Plantation. Like all plantations of the day, it was self-sustaining.  The Kings grew their own food and raised their own livestock, and raised cash crops like cotton and indigo to sell or trade for the things they needed.  Like all plantations, it was a place of wealth and power, and its labor was done by a small army of slaves.

It was the custom of the times, when a child was born to the owners of the plantation, for them to reach into their community of slaves and choose a young child to be a playmate and companion for their own child. When Henry Lord Page King was born in 1831, the King family took the slave baby Neptune Small into their house to be friend, playmate, and eventually manservant to young “Lordy” King.

The two boys grew to be fast friends.  They did everything together.  They hunted in the rich forests of the island.  They fished and swam up the east beaches (where the King and Prince stands now, and up to where the old Coast Guard Station would later be built).

Lighthouse

St. Simons Island Lighthouse

They took their lessons together, and although it was rigorously against the law, Mrs. King also taught Neptune to read and write. While Neptune was not free and in the service of his master, the relationship seems to have been more secured by friendship than slavery.

Lordy King grew up to study law and opened a practice in Savannah. On the plantation, Neptune married his true love and had a daughter.

The hostilities between the states broke out, and in 1861 Lordy King enlisted to fight.  As was the custom amongst aristocratic families, the men took a manservant with them, and Neptune went north to serve his young man.

King fought valorously at the Peninsula in Richmond and at Sharpsburg, and witnessed the fall of Harper’s Ferry. He seemed invincible, and when a dangerous mission emerged, he was the first and only volunteer.

Lordy was the aide-de-camp of the commander of the division. During the battle at Fredericksburg in December 1862, orders needed to be carried across the battlefield to one of the Brigadier Generals.  Instructing Neptune to stay at the camp, Lordy set off to deliver those orders. When night fell, Lordy King had not returned. In the black of night, Neptune went out onto the battlefield to find his friend, and found him killed.

At that point, Neptune was a free man.  The law had emancipated him, and his ”owner” was dead. He could simply have walked away.  Instead, Neptune Small gathered up the body of Lordy King, and braving the shells and fire of the battle, took him off the battlefield, built a coffin, found a wagon, and carried him from Fredericksburg, Virginia all the way home to Saint Simons Island.

Lordy’s younger brother Richard had enlisted, and Neptune went off to be his servant and protector.  He was told that he could stay home with his family, but he refused.

When the war ended, Neptune returned, with Richard unharmed. But they returned to a devastated, destroyed Retreat Plantation, occupied and then razed by Union troops. There was no food and no money, but as recognition for his bravery and loyalty, the King family granted a parcel of land from the old plantation site to Neptune Small. He lived there until his death in 1907.

Neptune Small, photo courtesy of www.GlynnCounty.com

Neptune Small, photo courtesy of www.GlynnCounty.com

Lordy King and his family are buried at the cemetery at Christ Church, in a majestic family plot, like those of the other plantation and luminary families of Saint Simons Island.  Neptune Small is buried at the former Retreat Plantation, presently the site of the Sea Island Golf Club.

A more fitting memorial, Neptune Park, is the former slave’s old homestead at the tip of Saint Simon’s Island. It stands in testament to the simple human attributes of loyalty and friendship honored by all men and women everywhere.

To learn more about the remarkable history of Saint Simons Island, and to see it for yourself, contact the King and Prince Beach and Golf Resort at www.KingandPrince.com.

 

Biking Through History

Tuesday, May 14th, 2013
St. Simons Bike Trails

St. Simons Island Bike Trails

There’s no better way to unwind on vacation than on a bike. Just a short walk from The King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort on St. Simons Island, Ocean Motion offers a variety of bikes for all riders. Local maps clearly delineate the major bike paths as you embark on your tour, complete with the tangy salt smell of the sea filling the breeze as you glide by.  The beaches are a natural avenue of sand, and you can ride from the village at the island’s southernmost tip all the way up to a breathtaking inlet.  You might see a mighty cargo ship as it follows the channel out to sea from Brunswick. You’ll ride past pretty beach cottages and stunning modern beach homes alike. Look out to sea and you’ll probably see a small pod of dolphins that likes to play just outside the breakers.

 

Further up the beach, you can visit the old Coast Guard and Maritime Museum. Built 150 or so years ago, the station sits several hundred yards from the beachfront. Once it was right at water’s edge where the Coast Guard could launch its rescue boats, but the powerful tides and drifting sand have changed the ocean front face of the island. The Maritime Museum features numerous galleries that feature both the history of the island and its ecology. It’s a great place to learn about this island’s beaches, marshes and forests.

Coast Guard Station and Maritime Museum

Coast Guard Station and Maritime Museum – photo courtesy of AtlantaMoms.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cross the East Beach Causeway – a two lane road across a beautiful section of marsh – to find the site of The Battle of Bloody Marsh.  James Oglethorpe led the colonization of Georgia for Great Britain, beginning to fortify St. Simon’s Island in the 1730’s against the Spanish in Florida. Tensions over trade and border disputes between England and Spain were at a boiling point, and the path up the eastern coast north of Georgia was potentially a clear road of conquest for Spain.

Battle of the Bloody Marsh

Battle of the Bloody Marsh site

A Spanish attack led by Spanish Governor Don Manuel De Montiano from St. Augustine was met by Oglethorpe.  Montiano’s  vastly outnumbered force was quickly driven off the island, not to return, on July 18, 1742. This decisive victory likely saved Georgia and the early colonies from Spanish rule. The battleground is so named for claims that the marsh ran red with the blood of Spanish soldiers. In truth, only seven were killed. There’s not much there now but a monument and a plaque, a great view across the marsh and a somber atmosphere of history.

Some seven miles or so north is Fort Frederica, with a monument and visitor’s center commemorating the archaeological remnants of a fort and town built by Oglethorpe between 1736 and 1748.  About 630 British troops and 500 colonial residents lived in the fort and town. By 1749, however, the Spanish no longer threatened the colony and the government disbanded the garrison. The village soon fell into economic decline, and by 1755 it was mostly abandoned. A fire in 1758 sealed the town’s fate. A charming visitor’s center with film presentations, walking paths, and a number of restorative archaeological digs give a great picture of early colonial life.

 

Fort Frederica National Monument

Fort Frederica National Monument – photo courtesy of TripAdvisor.com

Back at the village, the famed St. Simon’s Lighthouse, one of only a few major lighthouses remaining on the southern coast, dominates a waterside park just a walk across the street from restaurants and shops in a tiny, friendly little metropolis.

In its current iteration the lighthouse is a fully automated aid to navigation, but its history goes all the way back to 1804. At that time, the finished structure stood 85 feet tall and was constructed entirely from tabby, a local material comprised largely of oyster shells. It was an 8 sided pyramid, the top of which was an iron lantern ten feet high. Destroyed by the Confederates in 1862 to prevent its use by invading Union forces, it was rebuilt in 1872, including a new Victorian style Keeper’s cottage. The keeper and his assistant shared the dwelling. Tempers flared one Sunday morning in March 1880 between the head keeper and his assistant, leaving the keeper, Frederick Osborne, dead.

St Simons Lighthouse

St Simons Island Lighthouse

In 2004, the lighthouse was deeded to the Coastal Georgia Historical Society under the Lighthouse Preservation Act. Evidently, Fred remained; his footsteps in the tower have been heard by the wives of later keepers … and by lighthouse visitors.

Saint Simon’s Island is rich with history and many other historical sites. Don’t miss Christ Church, for instance, visited frequently by American presidents, and the home of a story of loyalty and love that is pure inspiration. On the very same road, approaching Fort Frederica be sure to visit the first African church in America, built by slaves, for slaves.

To learn more about Saint Simon’s Island, history tours, beaches, marshes and ghosts, contact the King and Prince Resort at www.kingandprince.com.

Steep Climb to a Spectacular View

Monday, January 14th, 2013

Annette White has delighted us with many entertaining posts on her blog, Bucket List Journey.  One bucket list item that she needed to check off was a climb to the top of a lighthouse.  Perfect!  St. Simons Island is home to a fully functioning lighthouse, built in 1872.  129 steps up a cast iron spiral stairway led Annette to some glorious views.  This magnificent piece of history is located about a mile south of The King and Prince Resort – great stop for a bike ride!

Read more about Annette’s journey in her blog post, Climbing a St. Simons Island Lighthouse.

St Simons Island Lighthouse

St. Simons Island Lighthouse

Explore the Golden Isle of St. Simons

Tuesday, February 21st, 2012

A great article by Carolyn Burns Bass posted in Greer’s OC about The King and Prince Resort and what to see and do on St. Simons Island.

Explore the Golden Isle of St. Simons

01.20.12

Review by Carolyn Burns Bass

It’s not hard to understand why this stretch of the Georgia coast is known as the Golden Isles. Miles of marsh grass wave in the breeze, carved by streams, rivers, and inlets to form a jigsaw puzzle of islands. The sun rises like a glittering coin over the Atlantic and blankets the marshlands in gold and amber as it sets over the isles. Poised on the mouth of the sound leading up to the bustling port city of Brunswick, is St. Simons Island, the largest of Georgia’s Golden Isles.

The Spanish named the island and the sound after a Catholic saint during 16th century exploration of the Southeastern coastline. You can see Spanish influences throughout the region, including the architecture. Mediterranean arches, turrets, clay tiles and stucco make haunting backdrops for the Spanish moss dripping off the massive trees overarching the buildings and lining the streets and lanes. The island has maintained its quaint seaside charm through decades of development in the islands and cities surrounding this wild island treasure.

The King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort

The jewel of this golden isle is the King and Prince Beach and Golf Resort. Perched on the white sandy shore near the mouth of St. Simons Sound, this historic hotel offers panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean and the coastline stretching north and south. Built in 1935 as a private dance club for the well-heeled of the area, it added lodging to its original structure in 1941 and opened to the public as a hotel. There was nothing as magnificent as The King and Prince anywhere along the Southeast coast when it was built and even today it rises above many of the cookie-cutter resorts now dotting the coast and the Isles.

A spacious, bright and airy lobby greets you from the main entry of the King and Prince. You can see the Mediterranean design in the arches that line the coastal stretch of the lobby interior. Natural wood bannisters, trim and ceiling beams encasing dark embossed tin tiles add warmth to the lobby’s light interior. Just beyond the reception desk is a fountain, surrounded by palms, lush greenery and flowers, and an indoor pool and whirlpool (one of five pools located throughout the resort).

Guests at the King and Prince have a deluxe array of choices in room types to meet budget or family needs. Oceanfront rooms in the historic building are only steps from the beach, with spacious bathrooms and separate sitting areas. Luxury amenities such as in-room Keurig coffee stations, Bath & Body Works toiletries, and large flat screen televisions are standard in every room. Stretching beyond the historic main building are the Beach Villas. These roomy accommodations offer two- or three-bedroom apartment size villas with master bedrooms, full kitchens, dining areas and private patios or balconies.

Stepping up the game in privacy and luxury at the King and Prince are the Residences, which comprise of six individual houses spread throughout the resort to include quaint beach cottages and even executive-level houses with ample meeting and entertaining areas (with as many as five bedrooms!).

Scenic and Challenging Golf

Competing with beach and ocean activities on St. Simons Island are the resort’s tennis courts, pools and golf course. While the formal name of the King and Prince includes “golf resort,” the greens are actually a bit of a drive to the northern-most end of the island. Known as the Hampton Club, this golf course shuttles hotel guests straught to the course for a day of golf among the salt marshes, swampy lagoons, towering palmettos and grand oaks draped with Spanish moss.

The course was renovated in 2009 with renewal in turf and design enhancements to the original 18-hole, 72-par design. Four of the holes sit upon individual marsh islands accessible by elevated cart bridges, making for challenging play. Practice areas include a driving range, putting green and a chipping green, and golfers can grab lunch or post game cocktails in the roomy clubhouse. You can take a virtual flyover of the entire course from the resort’s website for an overview of this distinctive course.

Georgia Coastal Cuisine at its Finest

Director of food and beverage, Vinny D’Agostino, revitalized the King and Prince’s food culture when he joined the staff in May 2011. A master sommelier and culinary arts graduate from Johnson and Wales University, D’Agostino brought more than two decades of creative culinary experience from some of the nation’s top hotels and restaurants. Food was the centerpiece of D’Agostino’s large Italian family, inspiring his passion for taste, texture and temptation, and it shows in everything he prepares or directs. Be sure to try D’Agostino’s signature shrimp and grits, made with Georgia’s wild white shrimp and Tasso ham in a spicy cream sauce that wraps the tongue in savory delight.

The King and Prince is renowned throughout the Golden Isles for its Friday night seafood buffet and its sumptuous Sunday brunch. Set in the resort’s Delegal room, the Friday night seafood buffet features various preparations of the region’s distinctive wild white shrimp, plus platters of crab legs, chilled and steamed; oysters, both fried and on the half-shell; clams and mussels, along with entrees of salmon, catfish, tilapia, sole, grouper and other chef selections. Sunday brunch includes an omelet bar, plus a wide variety of southern comfort foods such as grits, plain, creamy with cheese, or spiced to delight with shrimp; smoked BBQ ribs; buttermilk fried chicken; succulent pot roast and gravy, crispy fried catfish and plenty of other chef surprises.

The Delegal room itself is a thing of beauty. Commanding the eye is the view of the Atlantic from the windows lining the oceanfront wall. Set above the oceanfront windows and around the entire room are eleven spectacular stained glass windows depicting the history of St. Simons island.

Additional dining choices at the King and Prince include the King’s Tavern set in the hotel’s turret lined with oceanfront windows for stunning ocean views, the Atrium Café where snacks and refreshments, along with barista-prepared coffees and teas are served, plus the seasonal (March through October) Paradise Beach Bar and Grill located beachside with casual fare and cocktail service.

More to Do and See On St. Simons

Guests not getting enough exercise running or strolling along the beach, bicycling through town, or browsing through the myriad shops on St. Simons, have free access to treadmills, ellipticals, free weights, and exercise balls in the fitness facility next to the tennis courts.

Set only steps away from the beach guests may rejuvenate body and soul in the Royal Treatment Cottage, an intimate retreat house with a full menu of massage therapies. Lunch can be ordered from the concierge and enjoyed in the quiet of the cottage.

Out and about in St. Simons you’ll find boutiques and souvenir stores, coffeehouses and cafes, candy stores and cocktail happy hours. You can rent a bicycle at Ocean Motion (walking distance from the King and Prince) and pedal around the Island’s 21 miles winding bike paths.

Hop on the Lighthouse Trolley for a guided tour of St. Simons island. The trolley can take you from the Coast Guard station, now a Maritime Museum with history of the island–including its fascinating mission as a coast watching and training facility during WWII–to the working lighthouse; to the picturesque Christ Church, the first English church in Georgia; around town and through the moss-lined lanes from the north end to the south. If you’re lucky to get Cap Fielding as your trolley guide, you’re in for a treat with his arcane knowledge of the region’s colorful history.

On the Water Excitement

Travelers seeking new experiences can get thrills and chills from a shrimping trip on the waters off St. Simons island on The Lady Jane, a former working shrimp boat now USCG certified to carry passengers. The Lady Jane, run by Captain Larry Credle, is an educational and tourism expedition not to be missed.

Guests board The Lady Jane in nearby Brunswick, then head into the waters of St. Simons Sound. Once clear of the marshes, Captain Credle drops his shrimp net and trawls until he figures he’s got a good catch. The net drips with surprise when lifted, then released on the ship’s sorting deck. All hands aboard have a chance to sort the treasures in the net, the jewel of the catch being the wild white Georgia shrimp. It’s not unusual for the net to bring up stingrays, puffer fish, several varieties of flounder, shrimp and crab—including the distinctive horseshoe crabs–plus beautiful whelks. A naturalist on board identifies the different fish in the catch, including the occasional catch of a loggerhead sea turtle. When turtles are caught, they are weighed, measured, and photographed, then released. The details are sent to the Georgia Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.

Everything but the wild white shrimp is released back into the sea. While cruising back to harbor on The Lady Jane, a shipmate cleans and shells the shrimp, then serves it fresh on a platter with homemade cocktail sauce and lemon. Seafood doesn’t get fresher than this.

Getting to St. Simons Island

St. Simons Island is easily accessible from international airports at Savannah/Hilton Head to the north and Jacksonville to the south, while Delta brings in three flights a day to nearby Brunswick Golden Isles Airport.

The King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort, 201 Arnold Rd., St. Simons Island, GA 31522, 912-638-3631, www.kingandprince.com.