Posts Tagged ‘The King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort’

A Father, Daughter Experience

Friday, April 19th, 2013

My daughter Whitney and I are morning people.  

We have a regular routine when we are at home. We wake up just before daylight, and most mornings, my nine year old daughter reads, plays and organizes her dolls and stuffed animals, and sometimes, when I’m not looking, sneaks in a little television.  I’m usually sitting in the kitchen poring over emails, reading news websites and planning my work day.
 

For Spring Break this year, my family took an amazing journey to the King and Prince Hotel on Saint Simons Island. The hotel was our home for 4 days. We rode bikes around the island, swam at the hotel pool, visited Fort Frederica and Cumberland Island National Parks and explored the entire island.  It was the best vacation my family has ever experienced. 

But despite all those wonderful activities, my fondest memory were the early mornings I spent with my daughter at sunrise.

St. Simons Island Beach

You see, as morning people, we discovered something very special at the King and Prince–the sunrise over the Atlantic Ocean.  Each morning, while my wife, who is not a morning person, was sleeping, Whitney and I awoke before sunrise, threw on some warm clothes, and walked a few hundred feet to the beach, holding hands, to watch the sun come up.  Three mornings. Three sunrises. Three memories with my daughter that will last a lifetime.

 Barefoot in the sand, and letting the ankle deep waves rush over our feet, my daughter and I explored the beach, following the plovers, terns and various shorebirds.

We found shells. Including the shell of a pre-historic horseshoe crab that at first frightened us, because it looked like a World War I army helmet that had washed ashore.

But the highlight of each morning was the sunrise.  Each different.  The first morning we saw rays of light struggling to breakthrough the grey and cloudy sky, creating spotlights. The sky looked like a laser light show.

Then on the second morning the entire sky turned blood orange, the clouds shielding the sun just enough to protect our eyes from looking directly into the sun. We stared at the sun, a fireball, gently rising on the horizon.

And on our last day, a clear crystal blue sky.  So clear, you could see the streaks in the sky where airplanes had flown. It was also getting warmer.  That refreshing day, we could tell spring was coming.

It has now been about week since we’ve come home from our Saint Simons Island Spring Break vacation.  Whitney and I are still 

Sunrise on St Simonsmorning people.  We get up early, I start to work, she prepares for school, and my wife gets a few more minutes of sleep. We are back into our routine.  But a couple of times, since coming back, Whitney has hugged me in the early morning before daylight, and asked to see the sunrise.  We throw on warmer clothes, clasp hands together and journey outside to explore and watch the sun come up.

While we watch the sun come up over our city, we remember our special gift from Saint Simons Island, the sunrise, the place and that special time and memory with my daughter.

 

Written by Pat Byington, editor of The Green Register

The King and Prince’s Newly Restored Pools

Monday, March 26th, 2012

We are excited to announce the opening of our new state-of-the-art luxurious oceanfront pools!  All through the winter, the pools were renovated and we have been anxiously awaiting the finished product.  Along with the pools, we have opened the Ocean Terrace Grille for a true oceanfront dining experience.  The terrace, just steps away from the ocean, is an ultra casual dining option.

Michael Johnson, Vice-President of Resort Operations, states “The staff of our Resort has been anticipating the unveiling of this spectacular pool complex renewal for many months. We are all thrilled with the results created by our designers and landscaping artisans. Excitement is high as we eagerly await our Spring and Summer guests’ arrival, anticipating their desires whatever their age.”

The new pool complex includes three unique pool offerings surrounded by various seating options for swimmers, readers and water spectators. It will tempt all of the senses with well designed amenities:

  • Sound – ambient music system that allows guests to also enjoy the waves crashing beyond the Hotel’s sea wall
  • Smell – landscaping that embraces aromatic flowers and indigenous plantings
  • Sight – broad open sightlines for pool guests and guestrooms around the deck
  • Touch – contemporary new finishes throughout the deck, pool and outdoor seating
  • Taste – the new Ocean Terrace Grille offers a refreshing menu of Southern culinary traditions

This past weekend we had our fist visitors to the complex and they loved it!

The first children jumping in the new pool!

 

Simon & Sam, the first swimmers

 

Sundeck

 

Lounge Chairs under Pergola

 

Lounge Chairs by Pool

 

Children’s Wading Pool

 

Sandbox

 

Oval Pool

 

Kids in Wading Pool

 

Deck overlooking the beach

 

Ocean Terrace Grille

 

Ocean Terrace Grille

 

Pools

 

King and Prince Golf Pro Receives Award

Friday, March 2nd, 2012

We are excited to announce that our very own Rick Mattox, King and Prince Golf Course General Manager, received the 2011 Bill Strausbaugh Award.  The award is presented to PGA members who have shown outstanding integrity, commitment to mentoring PGA Professionals and who have made a significant impact on the careers of others.   We love having Rick a part of our King and Prince family!

Ultimate Spring Escapes

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

Southern Living has posted 10 destinations as the “Ultimate Spring Escapes.”  St. Simons Island was chosen as one of the destinations and The King and Prince was listed as a place to stay.

Ultimate Spring Escapes

Slather on the sunscreen and prepare for bliss at one of our favorite spring vacation destinations.

St. Simons Island, GA

The beaches and golf courses of this Atlantic escape hnvie for king of the island. About 80 miles north of Jacksonville and 85 miles south of Savannah, St. Simons has multiple golf courses, pristine coastlines, and plenty of outdoor activities to fill those sun-drenched Spring Break days. If you’re bit by the shopping bug, venture to the island’s southern tip to Pier Village to pick up an extra pair of sandals or an easy beach read. Local restaurants specialize in seafood dishes, and The Coastal Kitchen offers a raw shrimp and oyster bar.

Lay your head in luxury at the beachfront King and Prince Resort, where Southern hospitality and deluxe amenities are at their best. Hodnett Cooper Vacation Rentals offers condos and villas for couples or families on any budget, including daily and weekly rentals.

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.

TibbettsTravel: King and Prince

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012

Read below to see Christine Tibbetts’ article from TibbettsTravel about exploring St. Simons and activities and The King and Prince Resort & Golf Course.

King and Prince: A forward-looking resort with history on St. Simons Island

Sunday, December 11, 2011

By Christine Tibbetts

ST. SIMONS, Georgia — Elegance and longevity. Fresh new cuisine wrapping around 76 years of resort history on a barrier island that began forming 200 million years ago.

Grand combination for a holiday at the King and Prince beach and golf resort on St. Simons Island.

Some pleasant places are only fancy; this one has depth too, and neighbors who stay. Here’s how that translates to tourists.

Long-time pleasures keep on happening but change filters in, everything hand-in-hand on this handsome property and throughout the barrier island.

For example: the King and Prince has long served peach cobbler for breakfast. Tradition continues. Now they’re also squeezing juice from their courtyard grapefruit trees for a Prohibition cocktail reflecting one of their historic eras.

Seven decades of menus and history with more in the making.

Well-balanced spirits are only one passion of the new King and Prince cuisine director. Fresh Georgia foods are too, and wines from near and far.

Vinny D’Agostino is his name, steeped in the flavors of his Italian family and schooled at Johnson and Wales College of Culinary Arts in Providence, Rhode Island and North Miami.

A member of the Court of Master Sommeliers, D’Agostino holds a string of accolades from Bon Appetit and Food and Wine magazines for restaurants and bars he’s owned and operated.

Wild Georgia shrimp join many King and Prince menu items including this low country boil accented with olive branches from Georgia Olive Farms in Lakeland

He speaks as easily of his time as a youth on family farms and vineyards in Fornelli, Italy as he does now about the wonders of wild Georgia shrimp.

“Food and drink,” D’Agostino says, “are tied to the history of place in so many significant ways.  Our menus reflect that, and our chefs incorporate their Island family histories along with their professional training.”

Fine eating happens often, at the resort and around the island. In between meals, I listened to local stories on the Lighthouse Trolley, first-person tales since the owner/driver Cap Fendig hails from a family arriving here in the 1800s.

When I’m getting local history from someone whose granddaughter goes to the same elementary school he did, plus his grandfather, I feel grounded.

St. Simons Island is a different experience from resorts with passing-through, seasonal workers.

This bit of the Georgia coast has more residents than visitors:  65 percent full time, Fendig said.

Everyone I talked to loves the tidal marshes, maritime forests, freshwater sloughs and the spartina sugar cane grasses that make local shrimp sweet. They gather at Neptune Park, which visitors do too, so mixing it up is an easy pleasure.

There’s a pier for fishing and gazing and a smooth brick walkway hugging the water, leading to the lighthouse. Talk to Curt Smith; he’s the modern executive version of a light station keeper and an enthusiastic St. Simons Island historian.

Picnic tables and trees galore make Neptune Park a lingering place; for $7.00 get an all-day pass to the big swimming pool.

I walked the bricks twice after way too much breakfast at Sandcastle Café.

Tidal marshes are incubators for so many species that this Georgia coast is one of the 20 most diverse in the world.

That where Tim and Melissa Wellford have been serving legendary eggs, muffins, grits with or without shrimp, French toast, sausage, bacon and more for 24 years.

This is yet another St. Simons Island kind of place to share good conversation with residents.

Local people seem honored to live on a barrier island; Fendig says only two percent of the world’s coasts have barrier islands. Made me feel like a new frontier explorer.

Georgia has 15 barrier islands; four are auto accessible. Good idea to be OK with bridges when you go. 1924 was the first year St. Simons was connected by a causeway to the mainland.

Short and wide is the nature of these islands; North Carolina’s Outer Banks are long and ribbon-like.

Curious facts like that are easy to pick up at the Coast Guard Maritime Museum, a handsome Colonial Revival style structure, one of 80 built as WPA projects.

Definitely watch the documentary to understand the territory; National Geographic says this coast is one of the 20 most diverse in the world.  Museum exhibits are clear and clean, not too much reading, good graphics.

The Coast Guard Station turned Maritime Center features clear, concise, handsome exhibits, about St. Simons Island ecosystems and history.

One section pinpoints a different kind of amazing history: World War II right off this coast. German subs targeting the beaches. Two oil tankers sank.  Dogs trained as defense partners for sentry guards.

Then return to the King and Prince with a different eye knowing today’s elegant pale yellow resort became a radar training school.

The hotel opened to the public July 2, 1941 and in the winter of 1942 was reserved solely for the U.S. Navy and the war effort.

This was the gathering place for families learning their sailor had died because nearby Jacksonville, Fla. was the military point of return.

Looking up in the former ballroom to stained glass window scenes installed in 1938 when this was a private club, and looking out to the Atlantic Ocean, I mused about that war effort, and ours today.

King and Prince staff seem well versed in that history, and proud to be part of a place that sacrificed for the nation. My musing? Who is sharing any thing or any place today? Only our troops?

Travel takes my heart and soul to new places. Then the opportunity is

Shrimp and grits recipe at the King and Prince: long tradition using local wild Georgia shrimp.

mine to act on the thoughts the journeys trigger.

Lighter thoughts swirled in the ballroom too, wishing the King and Prince would reinstitute dancing dominant there decades ago.

My New Jersey parents waltzed often at the nearby Cloister Hotel on Sea Island but I found a gentler, more personable charm at the King and Prince.

Elegance to enjoy, exquisite details shared with pleasure seem the formula here. Bud St. Pierre has directed the sales and marketing for 10 years, happy he and his wife are raising young sons on this barrier island.

“We hire nice people here,” he said with almost a giggle. And I observed hotel and resort staff treating each other like they thought so too.

Many choices at the King and Prince for where to rest starting with oceanfront suites, villas, towers and rooms with balconies overlooking the tennis courts.

G.W. and I stayed in the luxurious Tabby House, a separate structure with space to share and a kitchen; could have brought some of the family.

The Meadows is also a stand-alone house, this one rich with fine and folk art and lots of levels and stairways.

Allow sufficient time when you reserve accommodations to savor the options.

Allow time, too, to explore the tidal waters on the Lady Jane. She’s an eco boat, gathering detailed information to provide the Department of Natural Resources.
Up came the 20-foot-wide net and into a waist high table went the contents

“I never met a blue crab that wasn’t angry,” says Clifford Credle, naturalist on the Lady Jane shrimp boat in waters near Brunswick.

twice on my morning cruise.

Look fast because back into the water is the mission, tallying life and returning to nature.

Exceptional catches require measuring, like the green sea turtle weighing 30 pounds that surprised Clifford Credle, my 18-year-old eco guide who started learning the estuary life when he was nine with his dad Larry who captains this vessel.

Wild Georgia shrimp caught in this net don’t go back to sea; they’re cooked five minutes later and served to Lady Jane passengers.

A King and Prince holiday merges easily with St. Simons Island discoveries, not always the case with resort vacations. Sometimes they lock you in, or so it feels. Isolated.

I think I figured out the difference. King and Prince personnel really live on this island. I kept seeing them in community places as well as the hotel and grounds.

Even food and beverage director Vinny. Saw him, chowing down on ribs and Brunswick stew at Southern Soul BBQ.  Good sign I thought, the pile of local oak in the front yard. Separate smokers for each kind of meat.

Four holes on the Hampton Club course involve the marshes, carefully constructed and monitored to respect and preserve this ecosystem.

I’m no golfer but the King and Prince’s Hampton Club gave me hope.  Most encouraging lesson I’ve ever had was with General Manager and Head Pro Rick Mattox.

He just received a major PGA award for outstanding integrity, charity, mentoring and service to community.  Golfers would recognize the Bill Strabaugh award name.

For real golfers, this course features four holes playing through the marsh, built and maintained with strict regulations, Mattox says. Marsh golf is not to be found anywhere else.

Wannabe golfers like me have a good chance of being allowed to borrow a cart in the late afternoon and experience the beauty of greens and marsh.  The view stretches forever.

Driving to the Hampton Club offers a chance to see island ecosystems, and to visit at least three historic sites: Fort Frederica, Christ Church and the Wesley Memorial and Gardens.

 

Time for Good Food

Thursday, December 29th, 2011

Rachel writes in her blog, “Time for Good Food,” about her trip to St. Simons and all the sites she saw and food she ate at The King and Prince.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Inspired by St. Simon’s Island

A week ago today I was at St. Simon’s Island, Georgia taking in the beautiful scenery and stuffing my belly with delicious food. Magical sounds cliché, but it really was an amazing trip that I won’t soon forget. I was invited by The King and Prince Resort and their publicist Leigh Cort, along with other journalists and bloggers from around the country, to be a part of a media trip focused on Southern culinary traditions. My friend Nikiwas also one of the journalists, so we rode down together.For someone like me who is enamored with history, food and the idea of eating locally and sustainably, it was sheer heaven. I learned so much, tasted so much and am so inspired, this is going to have to be several posts. Maybe a trilogy? You’ll see what I mean in a minute.

Christ Church – the most visited attraction on St. Simons Island

I vaguely remember spending a day sightseeing on St. Simon’s Island as a child. One memory that stands out is visiting the moss draped Christ Church and its cemetery. I was excited to get to see it again all these years later. The parish was founded in 1736, though the current church building dates to 1884. A walk through Christ Church’s cemetery inspired prolific Georgia writer, Eugenia Price, to pen her first historical novel The Beloved Invader. The book brought to life the church’s rector Anson Dodge, Jr. and led to additional books, New Moon Rising and Lighthouse – known as the St. Simon’s Trilogy. Interestingly, Price stayed at The King and Prince in 1961 when she discovered the island that would define her career as a writer. Tourists still come to St. Simon’s today inspired by her books. Who knows, maybe I’ll be inspired to write a historical novel, but for now I’ll settle on a trilogy of blog posts. This first: an overview rich with photos.

The exterior of The King and Prince’s historic hotel building.

The King and Prince was built in 1935 and is the only oceanfront hotel on the island. I think that’s what sets St. Simon’s apart from other tourist destinations. It doesn’t feel touristy. You won’t find the high-rise condominiums and tacky beach stores. It’s quiet, laid back, upscale in some ways, but unassuming.Naturally, it’s a popular destination for weddings and romantic getaways. However, I’m totally inspired to take my family back there.

A wedding photo shoot I happened to catch out the window.

The beach is great, but there are also miles and miles of golden marshlands that are especially beautiful at sunset. Growing abundantly in the marshlands and estuaries is Spartina, the golden hued grass that gives St. Simon’s Island and other nearby barrier islands their nickname, “The Golden Isles.”

Marshlands at dusk.

And there’s the Lighthouse. And the cute village with shops and restaurants. And the waterfront park. And the Maritime Museum that is housed in a former Coast Guard Station.

Oceanfront park with St. Simons Lighthouse in the background.Maritime Center and Museum

I could go on and on, but I know you are probably wondering: what about the food? This is a food blog after all! Most of our meals were served at The King and Prince under the direction of its Food and Beverage Director, Vinny D’Agostino. While on staff for just a short while, D’Agostino is making great strides in bringing local farmers and food artisans ”to the table” to enhance the dining program at the resort. Honestly, going in to this I was not expecting the food to be that great. I’ve had some pretty bland, uninspiring hotel food in the past — but I have to say that the food I tasted at the King and Prince was really delicious. The shrimp and grits, I swear, may have been the best I ever tasted. I’m going to attempt to make them at home and share the recipe with you in the next post in my trilogy!

Shrimp and Grits made highlighted with Tasso ham, fresh corn and tomato.

One afternoon we had the pleasure of meeting food growers and artisans from around the state and sampling their fare. The most exciting thing I tasted was the first pressing of olive oil made from Georgia-grown olives thanks to Georgia Olive Farms. It’s so new that it isn’t even on the market yet. We also tasted cheese from Flat Creek Lodge, muscadine wine from Still Pond Vineyards, 13th Colony Distillery liquors, chocolates from Sugar Marsh Cottage, Wild Georgia Shrimp, Savannah Bee Company honey and peach products from Lane Southern Orchards — to name a few. I’ll definitely share more with you. Remember, my trilogy?

Georgia made products we tasted.

On our final day at the King and Prince, we ate breakfast in the elegant Delegal Room — once the ballroom of the old resort. I imagined how many dances, weddings, receptions and important events must have taken place in this stained glass adorned room with sweeping ocean views. I doctored this photo up a bit to look “old,” much like the actual historic photos that lined the lobby hallway and are featured in each guest room. It makes me feel happy.

Pretending it’s 1951

I love places with a sense of history, natural beauty and authentic Southern charm. You will definitely find that at The King and Prince and on St. Simon’s Island. Now, time for a short disclaimer: The King and Prince provided me with a complimentary stay and meals, but did not pay me to write this or endorse the resort in any way. By being a gracious host, showing me the island and sharing the spotlight with other local businesses and attractions, they made me fall in love. I’ll definitely be back!

King and Prince Shrimp & Grits in Tasso Cream Sauce

Tuesday, December 13th, 2011

Marc d’Entremont writes an article at Suite101 about his visit to The King and Prince Resort and eating their Shrimp & Grits, a Southern Culinary Tradition.

King and Prince Resort’s Shrimp and Grits in a Tasso Cream Sauce

The King & Prince Beach & Golf Resort, St. Simons Island, GA, finesses a classic dish served in every southern dinner elevating Shrimp and Grits to stardom.
 

 

Shrimp & Grits in a Tasso Cream Sauce- Marc d’Entremont

It was the end of a pleasant sunny early November day in the now quiet off-season of St. Simons Island, one of Georgia’s premier barrier island destinations. The elegant 1935 King and Prince Beach and Golf Resort , listed on the National Historic Register and Historic Hotels of America, set a table befitting its Old World heritage. The formal place settings with an array of flatware and crystal stemware lay on starched white linen lit by softly glowing candles. The guests are not what the media would identify as royalty or even VIPs. We’re nearly two dozen jaded, or nearly jaded, travel and food journalists – critics to the core.

 

Southern Culinary Traditions

We were the guests of The King and Prince. Our four day tour to explore the culinary traditions of southeastern Georgia was organized by Leigh Cort Publicity. Such media trips involve a considerable amount of activity, not the least of which is eating and drinking. To make an impression worthy of an article the fare has to be more than just free.

Tradition versus an Old Standby

Personally my foodie radar was picking up more an old diner standby rather than a fine tradition when the itinerary indicated that dinner would include a Shrimp and Grits cooking demonstration. Google any of a dozen recipes and discover everything from bullion cubes to extra sharp cheddar used to mask tasteless farm raised frozen shrimp mounded on top of instant grits. Believe me I’ve had my full of disappointing versions.

Chef Dwayne Austell and Vinny D’Agostino

It took only a moment after entering the dining room for my nose to detect a subtle aroma of warm smoked meat. It was emanating from the chafing dish that was keeping the sauce at serving temperature. I should have guessed that a Johnson & Wales University graduate, Vinny D’Agostino, Food and Beverage Director, and Georgia Low Country native Sous Chef Dwayne Austell would rise above the ordinary.

Wild Shrimp and Tasso Ham

Quality ingredients are essential for a great dish and there is no comparison between farm raised and wild shrimp. Fortunately, much of America’s shrimp is wild and the package will be labeled appropriately. The high tides and lush nutrient rich salt marshes of low country and barrier islands provide an excellent clean environment for Georgia’s abundant shrimp. The Georgia White Shrimp is especially plump, meaty and flavorful. Yet the secret to Chef Austell’s outstanding Shrimp and Grits is the addition of smoky, cured Tasso ham – an essential ingredient in much of southern cajun cuisine. What is actually a pork butt rather than a ham gives the cajun spiced light cream sauce a rich flavor that lingers in the mouth.

The Recipe – for 2 servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2/3rd cup diced Tasso ham
  • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen kernel corn
  • 1/2 cup seeded diced tomatoes
  • 4 Tablespoons diced green onions
  • 4 to 6 ounces fresh shelled wild shrimp
  • 2 Tablespoons cajun seasoning mix
  • 1/2 cup grated asiago cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • olive oil
  • cooked grits

Preparation:

  1. First prepare grits using the best recipe I know for Creamy Stone Ground Grits
  2. Add just enough olive oil to lightly cover the bottom of two saute pans and heat over medium setting.
  3. In one pan add the shrimp and cajun seasoning. Saute no more than 5 minutes. Overcooking results in tough shrimp.
  4. In the second pan add the ham and corn and saute for a couple minutes. Add the tomatoes and green onions, combine and saute a few minutes more. Add the heavy cream and asiago cheese. Bring to a simmer and cook for two minutes.
  5. Combine the shrimp and all the pan juices into the sauce.
  6. Serve over the prepared grits.

Wine Pairing

Vinny D’Agostino, a sommelier as well, paired the entree with a nice Georgia Chardonnay from Frogtown Cellars. The minimal acidity of a Chardonnay, preferably unoaked, works well with the creamy sauce. A California or Washington State Chardonnay would be a fine substitute since Georgia wines are not widely distributed.

Even if you’re not dining a few hundred feet from the ocean, this fine recipe from the King and Prince Beach and Golf Resort can conjure memories of warm lazy days under oak trees dripping with Spanish Moss and sea gulls laughing overhead.

St. Simons Island- A Restful Retreat

Friday, June 24th, 2011

Dena & Chuck Bingham write about their visit to St. Simons Island in Senior Connection Magazine. Along with the King and Prince accommodations and St. Simons Island attractions, they describe the southern island culture and way of life.

St. Simons Island—A Restful Retreat

BY CHUCK AND DENA BINGHAM

OK. You’ve taken the grandkids to see Mickey and Minnie often enough to know the routine: Stand in line for 45 minutes for a five-minute ride; someone else’s crying grandkid just spilled a sticky concoction on your new izod shirt and the line for a $9 sandwich is twenty people deep. By late afternoon a whole theme park full of cranky three-year-olds are pitching a fit because they’re tired. You take two more Tylenol and head for the exit with your own grandkids in tow. Ah, but wait. You are parked on the other side of a lake that now looks endless and there are three thousand people in front of you waiting for the same ferry boat.

The King and Prince Beach Resort

The King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort

Travel

Oleander Building

The Oleander Building

This time do something for you… About an hour north of the Jacksonville airport is a quiet, laid-back hideaway just waiting for you. Take the Saint Simons Island exit off of I-95 and head for the Atlantic Ocean (about ten miles). Once you cross the causeway to St. Simons Island you can feel the stress melting away. You won’t find Ferris wheels, or tea cup rides, or 6-foottall rodents with big ears. What you will find is an upscale residential island that doesn’t mind sharing its seclusion with savvy, well-heeled vacationers.

Oceanfront room view

Oceanfront Rooms

The grand old oak trees drip with Spanish moss as you make your way to the stately King and Prince Beach and Golf Resort. Upon arrival the attentive staff quickly reacquaints you with Southern hospitality. Built in 1935, the resort was originally a dance club for well-to-do Northerners. It has consistently been upgraded to meet today’s discerning traveler’s tastes. Accommodations range from Oceanside Villas to private cottages to king-bedded rooms. Outstanding cuisine is a hallmark of the resort and is not to be missed.

georgia golf course

King and Prince Golf Course

Venturing into other parts of town reveals an additional bounty of local dining pleasures. Kick back at George Stewart’s Saltwater Cowboy for great pub fare. Or, if you’re in the mood for finer dining, try Halyards where Chef Dave Snyder prepares an exquisite tuna tartare. Lunch at Palmer’s Village Café is a must as Chef John Belechak prepares the best Southern dishes with locally grown produce. For a truly unique experience, take the “Lady Jane” shrimping trawler into the shallows of the Atlantic marshes for a first-hand look at how modern shrimping is accomplished. The tour comes complete with a marine biologist who explains in detail the ecosystem of the region and its importance to the local economy.

Saint Simons Island Trolley

St Simons Island Trolley

saint simons island lighthouse

St Simons Island Lighthouse

To enjoy the laidback pace of the island, why not rent bicycles at Ocean Motion right outside the entrance to King and Prince Resort. A leisurely 10-minute ride gets you to the heart of town. For the truly adventurous, the island boasts 18 miles of paved bicycle paths. If you’d rather let someone else navigate, try the Lighthouse Trolley which takes you (free) from the north end, where you’ll find the championship King and Prince Golf Course, to the south end, where you’ll find—you guessed it—the Lighthouse. Go in the lighthouse museum to hear about the great historical importance of this region.

There is so much, or so little, to do here…the choice is yours. If there is one drawback to this hidden treasure, it’s this: you may not want to leave…

To learn more, contact The King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort at (912) 638-3631 and www.kingandprince.com, or visit the St. Simons Island visitors guide at www.explorestsimonsisland.com.

Easy Getaway to St. Simons Island

Thursday, June 16th, 2011

Charlene Peters writes another article on Examiner.com about St. Simons Island mentioning numerous outdoor activities and local restaurants.

Easy getaway from Boston to St. Simons Island, Georgia

April 11, 2011

Charlene Peters

Boston City Guide Examiner

Sometimes there’s nothing as exciting as discovering unique shopping areas in a destination you hadn’t expected would offer so much. St. Simons Island, about a one-hour drive from the Jacksonville, Florida airport, is such a place.

A high-scale island that caters to families who want an affordable vacation (a stay at the King and Price Beach & Golf Resort is the place to be), and is home (seasonal) to the Fortune 500 crowd, it was surprising to find affordable, unique pieces in trendy shops throughout the downtown area. But that was but one small perk in a recent visit to the 18-mile long island — with a population of 21,000 seasonally.

shrimp and grits

Sous Chef, Paula Murphy offers a cooking demo of shrimp ‘n grits at King and Price Beach & Golf Resort on St. Simons Island, Georgia

The culinary scene, which is trendy and not just about shrimp ‘n grits (although there are plenty of these sweet island tastes at almost every eatery), includes top restaurants such as Halyards, serving the freshest and tastiest tuna tartare with citrus aioli, as well as offering cooking classes through its USA Island Cooking Classes program. The drive to Halyards is your first course for dinner, aesthetically speaking, as the road that leads to this eatery is a tree tunnel of old oak trees accessorized with Spanish Moss. In business for 11 years, Chef Dave Snyder is one to watch, especially when he’s kneading his own cheese curd and water to make fresh mozarella. While Halyards is a bit more of an upscale dining experience, Chef Dave offers a scaled down version of more affordable tastes at his neighboring Tramici restaurant. And then there’s Palmer’s Village Cafe, the newest spot in town for breakfast and lunch, where Chef John Belechak serves southern specialties that will tempt you to return over and over again. If your in the mood for some low country pub food, head to Saltwater Cowboy and you’ll “git” your fill. Learn firsthand about the shrimping industry of the island onboard the Lady Jane, an absolute must for those who want to be in-the-know.

Not sure what else to do while on the island? Take a tour on the Lighthouse Trolley with “Cap” Fending and you’ll learn about life on the island, with personal anecdotes from a man that once ran for the presidential election, but now relishes in a life of sharing his experiences and knowledge of St. Simons Island through group tours on the trolley, as well as dolphin and fishing excursions. If you want to know more about the history of the Georgia Coast, you can head to the Coast Guard Maritime Museum and get your fill, courtesy of Curt Smith, or hop on a bicycle and get lost in the island’s surrounding beauty of beaches and residential areas. Ocean Motion offers kayak rentals and bicycles with baskets and locks so that you can cruise along 21 miles of bike paths! Oh, and it also has a great sports shop and clothing store.

Need to sweeten things up a bit? Head downtown to St. Simons Sweets and grab a pecan, Rice Krispie treat — or two.

If you, or someone you travel with loves golf, a must go-to spot would be the King & Prince Golf Course, a championship course that’s worth a golf cart drive through just to witness the beauty of the landscape.

Need a bit of culture? You’ll be sure to get your fill at the Left Bank Art Gallery, especially if you stay and chat with owner, Mildred Huie Wilcox, a southern belle who will leave you in awe with stories from her past experiences living in New York City as a fashion model, and stories of life on the island with her late-husband.

With so many treasures to experience on St. Simons Island, this is a destination worth exploring.