Strewn along the emerald waters of the Georgia coast like a string of golden beads are the aptly named Golden Isles, several enchanting barrier islands including Jekyll Island, Sea Island, Little St. Simons Island, St. Simons Island and the mainland city of Brunswick.
The largest of the Golden Isles is St. Simons where visitors come year round to enjoy the temperate climate, miles of beautiful sandy beaches, golf courses, and plenty of interesting little shops and restaurants. Kayaking, fishing, and biking are also popular activities on the island. Located midway between Savannah, Georgia and Jacksonville, Florida, the location is easily accessible and popular for families, couples, and groups of friends.
I recently spent a few days on St. Simons Island on a girlfriends getaway at the gorgeous King and Prince Beach and Golf Resort. We spent our time strolling and relaxing on the beach, shopping, touring, and eating – lots and lots of eating!
For 75 years, the luxurious King and Prince Beach and Golf Resort has been welcoming guests to its idyllic oceanfront retreat on the National Register of Historic Places. The terra-cotta façade and spacious and lovely recently remodeled lobby were our first introduction to the resort and we were immediately impressed. The resort is justifiably proud of their new lobby, pool and restaurant after the multi-million dollar makeover which transformed the lobby and restaurant into a beautiful, open area done in seaside colors with astonishing ocean views.
A golf course, Royal Treatment Cottage for massages, the wonderful Echo restaurant, tennis courts, indoor and outdoor pools – this place really has it all! It’s no surprise that Southern Living magazine chose the resort to add to its Southern Living Hotel Collection, a series of the most wonderful hotels in the South.
We were excited to be staying in one of the resort’s lovely ocean view villas. The two and three bedroom villas all have an ocean front or ocean view and are all individually owned so the décor varies. Our villa was beautifully furnished with comfortable furniture, a fully equipped kitchen, two bedrooms, and a view of the pool area and the beach.
We truly enjoyed everything about our stay on St. Simons Island but one of the highlights had to be the great food we found everywhere. Each meal was better than the last and we relished every delicious bite. The restaurant at the King and Prince Resort called Echo had to one of our favorites and we were fortunate to have several different meals there.
Echo Oceanfront. Upon arrival, I had a business meeting and was fortunate to be introduced to this charming, airy restaurant with distinctive seaside colors and a beautifully done floor reminiscent of light, weathered oak which looks like it has been directly transferred from a beach cottage. With prompting (but not much), I was encouraged to try two of the appetizers so ordered the crab cakes and the grouper taco. I am a crab cake connoisseur so when I tell you they were good, you can believe it. Fish tacos can be unappetizing if they are not prepared correctly but my grouper tacos could not have been fresher or more delicious.
For dessert, I ordered a darling pumpkin spice cake which came adorned with a white chocolate candy imprinted with the name of the resort – what a nice touch!
We were back at Echo twice for breakfast and had everything from a freshly prepared omelet to eggs Benedict with crab cakes, all of which were wonderful. The restaurant has a full, hot breakfast buffet with an omelet bar and some of the freshest and most delicious fruit we have ever tasted.
We are so fortunate that on our first morning, one of our group ordered what was referred to on the menu as “cinnamon doughnuts”. These were far from your typical doughnuts but more like a light, delightful beignet which has been dipped into cinnamon sugar. They were hot, fresh, and so delicious that we almost came to blows over who would get the last one. Naturally, the second morning we all ordered our own!
Dinner at the restaurant one night was equally amazing with the first class service we had come to expect at this resort. When my steak was not prepared correctly, they whisked it away and insisted on comping my dinner for the inconvenience. The shrimp and grits my friend ordered were reportedly some of the best she has ever eaten. Even though we were full, I had to try their pecan pie and was very glad I did!
Decoy Bar and Grill. Located just a couple of blocks from the resort, this comfortable and friendly restaurant is owned by a long-term Island resident and has a full service menu and full service bar. With dark wood floors and paneling along with Decoy memorabilia along with outdoor seating, this is truly an inviting location for lunch or dinner.
Intrigued by the fried lobster appetizer, I had to order it and it was wonderful. I have only had fried lobster one other time as it is pretty unique so it was a good choice. For dinner, we were encouraged to try one of their pasta dishes so I ordered the shrimp and tomato pasta. A little bland, it was still good and the shrimp was definitely fresh and wonderful.
Barbara Jeans. While taking a trolley tour of the island one day, the driver informed us that the best crab cakes on the island were to be had at this location. Well, how could we pass up that recommendation? After our tour, it was time for a crab cake sampler at this friendly neighborhood restaurant. A family run, multi-unit restaurant that began in 1998 on St. Simons Island, they specialize in seafood and made from scratch, home style cooking. Barbara Jean Barta is the person who runs the restaurants and she has also written a cookbook. In addition, you can actually order the famous crab cakes online. As we had dinner plans, we each just ordered one crab cake each so I don’t know about any other menu items. The crab cakes were good but I honestly thought those at Echo were slightly better. I’ll have to pay them another visit and try some of their other items!
Nazarro’s Italian Cuisine. Although we are all huge fans of seafood, we were excited to be taking a break and having some Italian food one night. Tucked away in a shopping center, you might not think you could get gourmet quality Italian food here but you would be so wrong. A small, homey restaurant with dark wood touches and linen tablecloth covered tables, the restaurant also has a full bar and an outside dining area. After fresh and delicious Caesar salads, I enjoyed lobster ravioli that was obviously prepared from freshly made ravioli. Although the menu specified that it was pesto lobster ravioli, I was still a little shocked to see my ravioli covered with a green sauce but, once I took a bite, my reservations disappeared as it was wonderful.
When you pay a visit to St. Simons Island – and you should immediately plan to do so – be sure to check out each of these delectable restaurants. I promise you will not be sorry!