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.
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.
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.
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.
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…