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. Simon's 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 the St. Simon's 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!