St. Simons Island, Georgia

When I Went: Nov. 6-11, 2011

Was That the Best Time of Year to Go? November is a great time. Not only is it my birthday month, but the hordes have left the beach free for wandering, the skies twinkle lapis blue, and the temperature’s just right.

Why I Went There: My husband and I have long loved St. Simons Island. We spent many an anniversary there when we lived in Atlanta. It’s got all the comforts and accoutrements you expect at a beach resort, but offers a distinctive sense of becoming one with a place that has delighted visitors for centuries. It was high time for a reunion.

Who Went With Me? My husband.

We Stayed Here: We stayed at the grand dame of the island, the King and Prince. Bud St. Pierre serves as gracious host, ensuring that all flows well. Vinny d’Agostino, the new director of food and beverage, has transformed the resort’s menus with artisanal offerings from wild Georgia shrimp, local olive oil, and 13th Colony spirits.

You Won’t Want to Miss: A stay at the King and Prince; it’s at the island’s epicenter and a perfect stage for your visit. Take some time to learn more about the island’s history. An hour and a half tour on Cap Fendig’s Lighthouse Trolley acquaints you with the history and lore of the place.

Eat Here: Southern Soul Barbeque, seen on the TV show Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, is a celebration of all things protein. Try the Weekday Worker Special: a pulled pork “Que” sandwich with fries and a large soda for $6.50. The Sand Castle Café is where the locals gather for breakfast buffet, with all things warm and wonderful. Eggs cooked to order and pancakes are part of the $8.95 sticker price. The Friday Seafood Buffet at the King and Prince is not to be missed. Start with one of Vinny’s vintage cocktails (I loved the Aviator with Luxardo Maraschino liqueur), then dive in. Be sure to sample haute Shrimp ‘n’ Grits featuring those wild Georgia crustaceans flavored sweet by the spartina marsh grass (cousin to sugar cane).

Play Here: Rent a bike and travel the trails that wind along the 12-mile length of the island. Head down to the pier, climb to the top of the lighthouse, and enjoy the unparalelled view. Take a ride on the Lady Jane, a renovated shrimping boat that trawls the marsh and brings in a cornucopia of a catch that is explained by captain’s son Cliff Credle. We came up with a green sea turtle while there. See the video evidence here. Shrimp are boiled and served onboard. For golf, the King and Prince course nestled in the live oaks at the island’s north end is my favorite, with four holes floating across the glittering marsh grass.

If I Went Again: I’d take a day and just “be.”

How Did You Get There From Dallas? Jacksonville, Florida, is the easiest airport.  Rent a car there, and you’re an hour’s drive away.

Other Tips For Fellow Travelers: We enjoyed our reunion with the island so much that we are moving there in 2012. No, seriously!

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