Escape to the Golden Isles

 

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Photos by Tammy Lee Bradley 0f Visit the South

 

Looking for a weekend escape?  Known for pristine beaches, historic sites, fine dining, acclaimed golfing, and mild weather, St. Simons offers something for everyone.

I invite you to come along on a visual tour with me as I explore all that the Golden Isles have to offer.


Beach Accommodations

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Poolside Dining at Echo. A great way for adult time while watching the kids play.

Every great weekend requires a hub for all your activities. St. Simons offers a variety of accommodations including resort hotels, rental homes, beachside bungalows, or even camping. Whether you are on a romantic getaway, family holiday, or business retreat, there is something for every lifestyle and budget.

My choice for the weekend- the Luxurious King & Prince Beach Resort offering oceanfront suites, poolside rooms, guest houses, and island villas.

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Poolside Lounging
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Echo

ECHO, located on property, is the island’s only oceanfront restaurant and bar. Chef James Flack serves  coastal cuisine in a casual atmosphere. They are open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily.

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The Bar at Echo
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Cozy Gathering Spaces
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Welcoming Entrance
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Opulent Suite with sunken living room area
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Nice Details Abound
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Waterfront Rooms with Balconies and Walk-out Porches
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The view from second floor suite
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Local water sports

Barry’s Beach Service is located on the beach in front of the hotel. Rentals include beach chairs/umbrellas, kayaks, sailboats, boogie boards, paddleboards and more.

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Safe places to play
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Friendly Locals
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Golfing – The King & Prince (photo)

The award-winning golf course offers a challenging layout amongst forests, salt marshes, and a vast lake at the 9th hole.


Decadent Dining

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From the local Irish Pubs to world class restaurants, St. Simons has no shortage of dining options.  My stay included meals at Echo, Gnat’s Landing, and the Georgia Sea Grill.

My favorite meals of the weekend included the Georgia Wild Shrimp.  If you haven’t tried this local seafood, you MUST.  There really is a difference. Sweet. Tender. Fresh! Yum.

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Bloody Mary Bar at Echo – The King & Prince Resort
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Breakfast Buffet at Echo – The King & Prince Resort
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A simple breakfast of local honey and homemade biscuits at Echo Buffet
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Caramelized Butternut Squash Soup with Pumpkin Bread Croutons at Echo Pairing Dinner
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Deep Fried Okra at Gnat’s Landing
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Eggs Benedict at Echo – King & Prince Resort
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Japanese Wagyu Filet, Beet Risotto, Confit Romanesco & Sauce Béarnaise at Echo Pairing Dinner
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Specialty drinks at Echo – The King & Prince Resort
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Deep Fried Pickles at Gnat’s Landing
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Roasted Brussel Sprouts at Georgia Sea Grill
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Spinach and Artichoke Dip at Gnat’s Landing
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Ahi Tuna Salad at Echo – King & Prince Resort
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Poached Pear with Asher Blue Panna Cotta Winter Salad and Balsamic Vinaigrette at Echo Pairing Dinner
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Fried Georgia Wild Shrimp Caesar Salad at Gnat’s Landing
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Coconut Chocolate Chip Pie with Salted Carmel at Georgia Sea Grill
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Crispy Calamari with Parmesan-Pecan Dust at Georgia Sea Grill
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Corn – Goat Cheese Ravioli in Basil Brown Butter and Arugula at Georgia Sea Grill
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Corn Battered Fried Georgia Wild Shrimp at Georgia Sea Grill
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Beer Tasting at Echo – The King & Prince Resort
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Roasted Beet Salad with Goat Cheese, Pecans, Cherries, Arugula, Spinach, and Roasted Shallot Vinaigrette at Georgia Sea Grill
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Classic Caesar Salad at Echo – The King & Prince Resort
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Crab Cakes at Echo – The King & Prince Resort

Exploring by Land

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Grab a bicycle from Ocean Motion Bicycle Rentals and head to the south end of the island. St.Simons’ Pier Village district is a popular destination. The perfect spot for shopping, dining, fishing at the pier, visiting the historic lighthouse, taking the kids to the playground, and more.

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St. Simons Lighthouse and Museum

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Fans of Eugenia Price flock to St. Simons to learn more about their favorite author and to visit the tiny island that inspired her writing.

Price’s fiction includes The Beloved Invader (1965), New Moon Rising (1969), and The Lighthouse (1971), which make up the St. Simons trilogy; Don Juan McQueen (1974), Maria (1977), and Margaret’s Story (1980), the Florida trilogy; Savannah (1983), To See Your Face Again (1985), Before the Darkness Falls (1987), and Stranger in Savannah (1989), the Savannah quartet; Bright Captivity (1991), Where Shadows Go (1993), and Beauty from Ashes (1995), the Georgia trilogy; and The Waiting Time, published in 1997.

Although her early books focused on real people who lived in coastal Georgia during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries—James Gould, Horace Gould, John Couper, Mary Gould, Anna Gould Dodge, and Anson Greene Phelps Dodge Jr.—her later novels featured fictional characters. It is the earlier novels that bring tourists to St. Simons year after year, where they walk among the moss-draped oaks in Christ Church Cemetery, searching for the graves of the islanders brought back to life in Price’s books. – Pearman, Renee. “Eugenia Price (1916-1996).” New Georgia Encyclopedia. 25 November 2013.

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Scott McQuade, President and CEO of the Golden Isles Convention and Visitors Bureau welcomes us to the Golden Isles Visitors Center. Recently completed to provide visitor information, the Visitors Bureau houses a local art gallery, artisan gift shop and photography exhibit.  Around the corner, you can also see one of the island’s Tree Spirits carved by local artisan Keith Jennings.

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Scott explains the Tree Spirits of St. Simons
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Known for its breakfast buffet, Sandcastle Café is popular with tourist and locals alike.

 

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SSI Pride

 

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Every perfect small town has a locally owned bookstore. St. Simons is no exception.

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Learning about Bee Products downtown with Ted Dennard of Savannah Bee Company. An elderly beekeeper, Roy Hightower, sparked young Ted’s journey in the magical world of bees and honey and it’s been 35 years of it ever since. Ted backed into business in 1999 when his friend opened a store in Savannah and began selling his tupelo honey. Ted is  passionate about sharing the world of bees with others and introducing new honeybee products to market. – Savannah Bee Company.

 

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Local honey

 

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Bringing friends along makes every trip more enjoyable.

 

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Pier Market Village

 

 

 

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15 shops in quaint colorful cottages
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Fishing on the pier

 

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Sunday morning church service by the pier with St. Simons Community Church

 

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A quiet place to sit and watch the world go by

 


Historic Sites

 

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Aboard the Lighthouse Trolley Tours

If biking is not your thing or you want to see the outskirts of St. Simons,  Lighthouse Trolley Tours can help. Hop onboard and visit Christ Church where the Methodist Denomination was founded.  They also offer trips to the Avenue of the Oaks, Fort Frederica, Jekyll Island, and Ghost Tours.

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The Christ Church Frederica – St. Simons

Christ Church was built by the congregation of John and Charles Wesley. John and Charles Wesley, both evangelists, accompanied James Oglethorpe to Georgia in order to establish it as an English colony. They were both religious leaders. John is considered one of the greatest evangelists. Charles is famous for writing hundreds of hymns and poems. His most famous hymn is “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.” – Christ Church

 

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Interior of Christ Church

The first church structure was built in 1820 but was partially destroyed by Union troops during the Civil War. In 1884, the Reverend Anson Phelps Dodge, Jr., built the present structure in memory of his wife, Ellen.

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Beautiful windows. There is even one by Tiffany
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The Dodge Family Plot

The grounds contain a cemetery with graves of the Dodge Family, early settlers, and many famous Georgians including the author Eugenia Price.

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Still taking care of the Anson Dodge Home Children

After the loss of their only child in infancy, Reverend Dodge and his second wife Anna Gould started an orphanage called the Anson Phelps Dodge Home for boys that remained in operation until 1956.


Sightseeing By Sea

 

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Cap Fendig and his wife Catherine

Takeing to the water is a great way to see St. Simons, Jekyll Island, Brunswick and Bird Island.  Cap Fendig of Cap Fendig Tours, a life long resident of St. Simons and a member of one of the oldest island families, provides various tour options.  Choose from dolphin tours, private sunset cruises, lunch and dinner cruises, fishing tours, wedding boat trips, and more.

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The white pelicans of Bird Island

The rare and beautiful white pelicans of Bird Island.  Created almost 10 years ago to provide refuge for all species of migrating birds, Bird Island is located off the coast of Jekyll Island. It replaces shrinking bird habitats with one protected from raccoons and other prey.

To the surprise of the birding experts, these White Pelicans, which are normally seen in the Great Lakes Region, have found their way to this tiny Georgia island. Each year the population grows and several are staying year round.   Like the tourists, I guess they know they found a welcome home on the Golden Isles.

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A Jaunt To Jekyll Island Club

 

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The Jekyll Island Club Hotel

 

The 240-acre Historic Landmark District of Jekyll Island Club is just a short drive south of St. Simons and a perfect afternoon excursion. A 90-minute guided tram tour includes entry into two cottages and Faith Chapel. For $16, I think it is an amazing value and history lesson. During your visit, you can also opt for a narrated horse-drawn carriage tour for $15 or a private evening tour for two for $40.

Founded in 1886, the Jekyll Island Club was once the private winter retreat of America’s wealthiest families with such members as Morgan, Rockefeller, Pulitzer and Vanderbilt. The club’s focal point for evening meals in the Grand Dining Room, guest accommodations, and social activities. Learn more about this Historic Landmark listed on the National Register of Historic Places at http://www.jekyllclub.com/about-us/hotel-history/

The clubhouse is now the Jekyll Island Club Hotel and is the island’s only 5-star resort.

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The Jekyll Island Club Hotel
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Open-air tram
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Faith Chapel

Faith Chapel in the Historic District of the Jekyll Island Club was built in 1904 and added to the National Register in 1971.   Originally named the All Faith Chapel due to the various denominations of the club’s members, it was later shortened to Faith Chapel.

Open to the public as part of the tram tour or as a chapel only pass, it is worth exploring. Make sure to look for the original (and signed) Tiffany Stained Glass Window at the front of the chapel.


 

I hope you enjoyed the journey and thank your for exploring with me.  Make sure to follow along with VISIT the SOUTH on Instagram at @tammyleebradley and @visitthesouthEATS as I explore the beauty of the SOUTH!


All photos by Tammy Lee Bradley of VISIT the SOUTH™. Please do not download.

Disclosure: Complimentary accommodations, meals, and activities were provided by Leigh Cort Publicity and The King & Prince Resort. No other compensation was received for this review. This post reflects the honest opinion of my experience without outside influence.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Goodness, your photos are magnificent. I think the honey from that biscuit ran off the screen and onto my desk. Or maybe it is my drool. Jekyll Island is on my radar!

    Travel Happy!

    Like

    1. Haha. I’m laughing so hard. Thank you for the kind words. Tam

      Like

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