Sheila Gaspers writes a second article about her St. Simons trip on her blog, Tango Diva. She writes about local eateries and activities on the island.
St. Simons Island Discoveries – Coastal Georgia
April 20th, 2011 by Sheila
My love affair with St. Simons Island, Georgia is renewed with each visit.
Living the island life is about exploration & experimentation.
Here are a few delightful ”Off the Beaten Path” Recommendations:
- Sandcastle Cafe & Grill – Local DIVE Extraordinaire for over 20 + years! You have hit the mother lode when you have opted for the breakfast buffet. I found myself drowning in ecstasy over a plate of biscuits and gravy…no easy task for a northern gal. Owners, Tim and Melissa Wellford take pride in serving up a hearty and wholesome meal for under $10.
- Palmer’s Village Cafe – a hip newcomer to the Island Dining Scene. Chef John Belechak, hailing from Tennessee’s jewel – The Inn at Blackberry Farm, brings his prestigious culinary experience and love of innovation to his new special seaside kitchen. Customers are treated to unique flavor combinations with every dish. Oversized whimsical and colorful paintings by island artist, Cathie Parmelee, brighten the walls and frame the open kitchen giving the eatery its artsy bistro ambience. The cafe is a hometown hit. You know it’s good when the locals are lining up on Mallery Street with visitors to partake in Palmer’s signature plates. The Hooch, a spicy cheese omelet dressed with fried onions and served with grits; Mary’s Chicken Salad Sandwich, a toasted hoagie filled with rich ricotta cheese and red pepper and Palmer’s rock’n Reuben Sandwich are notoriously popular! Expect a wait; the word on the street – “it doesn’t get any better than this”. Open for breakfast (served all day) and lunch with monthly themed dinners to be added to the mix by September. Reservations accepted for larger parties.
Saltwater Cowboy – Good Down Home Island Grub…with a touch of the big city. Give me a great burger or serve up a juicy T-Bone steak, grilled tuna, low country boil …and, I am liv’n the St. Simons’ dream. Enjoy that extra cocktail, Saltwater Cowboy is just around the corner from the resort….so skip the car, relax and take carefree moonlit stroll back to your island sanctuary.
- Halyards – Fine Dining Far from Ordinary! Chef Owner, Dave Snyder excels in opening up his kitchen and the minds of guests to innovative cuisine that focuses on simple pleasures. His talent and generosity runneth over! Chef Snyder loves to share – his expertise, his recipes and his local finds. He seeks out only the best ingredients and harvests from the nearby coastal area whenever possible – local fish, shrimp and farm fresh products – to deliver an authentic regional dining experience. Halyard’s “Catch of the Day – Your Way” – Asian, Almondine or Nola/Cajun with a variety of sides – gives frequent diners a chance to mix it up and experiment. Or indulge in a mouth-watering favorite dish from the main menu – Almond Baked Trout, Braised Short Ribs, or opt for the Mustard Glazed Pork Chop. Whatever the entree, you will not be disappointed. But no meal would really be complete without a taste of Halyard’s Creamy Blue Crab Bisque; be forewarned, during the holidays faithful customers flock to the restaurant for carry out containers of the hearty homemade recipe – so it may be sold out! For a limited time, you can dine and save with Halyard’s fixed menu special – 3 for $33 -available most weeknights. Love Italian… then cross the courtyard to Tramici, Halyard’s sister restaurant next door. Expect the same great friendly service with casual Italian fare at affordable prices.
So much to see and do! You will need more than a weekend to enjoy all that the island has to offer!
My Top Picks
- The Coast Guard Maritime Museum and Lighthouse. You will not want to miss St. Simons’ native historian, Mr. Curt Smith’s engaging and enlightening personal tour.
- A Trolley Tour c/o St. Simons Lighthouse Trolley. If you are lucky, a colorful narration awaits by trolley owner and island ex-commissioner, Cap Fendig, a charming southern gent with stories that could fill a lifetime. On the weekends, Cap offers a wonderful 90 minute river tour exploring the inland waters around the island where playful Dolphins and Alligators are often spotted. Each tour is a special adventure.
- An Island Bike Ride – 11+ miles of incredible natural beauty. Ocean Motion Surf Shop, just one block the resort’s entrance, offers affordable flexible rentals.
- Shopping on Mallery Street in the Village. Fabulous Fashionista Finds!
- Dancing and Drinks at The Village Pub, a fun local watering hole. Good music and good people that make for a GREAT time!
- Shrimp Boat Experience on the Lady Jane. A perfect way to spend an afternoon! Learn about the shrimp industry firsthand and discover the wonders of the coastal eco-system brimming with sea life from onboard marine experts – horseshoe crabs, turtles, fish, squid, shrimp and more. A fantastic family outing!
- A visit to the Left Bank Art Gallery and an informal chat with owner and island icon, Millie Huie Wilcox. Relish every moment as Millie shares personal stories and intimate insights of the art and the island.
- A Chocolate or Cupcake Fix at St. Simons Sweets – a candy emporium of homemade treats, ice cream and confectionary delights. Sharon. the owner, tells me it is all about a special mother’s touch. Her mom, Mary often acts as quality control in the kitchen while baking away behind the scenes daily to deliver decadent and delicious memories. Mom’s specialty Orange Cupcakes are outrageous…be sure to snag a few for the road trip home.
- Soak in the Sunshine with a morning jog or walk on the beach then lounge with a good book poolside at the King and Prince Resort.
- Sleep In with the balcony doors wide open welcoming a cool ocean breeze and the hypnotic sonata of the surf.
It is hard resist the charm and beauty of the island.
Visitors always seem to find their way back…bringing extended family and friends in tow. And then, of course, there are those lucky few…who come to vacation…fall in love…and simply choose to never leave.
Whether for a day, a week or a lifetime, St. Simons will capture your heart!
For all your travel planning needs, visit the Brunswick-Golden Isles Tourism website or call 800-933-COAST.