Magic & Romance on St. Simons Island, Georgia

by Betsi and Jim Hill
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St. Simons Island

St. Simons Island.

“By a world of marsh that borders a world of sea. Sinuous southward and sinuous northward the shimmering band; of the sand-beach fastens the fringe of the marsh to the folds of the land. Inward and outward to northward and southward the beach-lines linger and curl as a silver-wrought garment that clings to and follows the firm, sweet limbs of a girl.” -Sidney Lanier, poet. 1878

St. Simons Island

Exuding a casual beach vibe, and moss-draped live oaks towering over the narrow streets, this is St. Simons Island. Restaurants and unique shops line the picturesque downtown streets that border the water and marsh.

Downtown St. Simons Island.

Busy shopkeepers look up from their work to greet you with a smile and small talk as you browse among their offerings. People are slowly ambling down the sidewalks peering into shop windows. Children are clamoring for ice cream, waiting for their turn to order this frozen delight. Couples holding hands with their shoulders touching, glance towards each other with shy smiles as they slowly maneuver around crowds of children and adults gathered on the sidewalk.

Life goes at a slower pace on the island, and your outside cares are forgotten as you linger over a cold drink. Walking the streets of downtown, hand-in-hand with the one you love, it’s easy to see why Travel+Leisure named St. Simons “America’s Most Romantic Town.”

St. Simons Island

Strolling the boardwalk on St. Simons Island is magical and romantic at any time of the day.

Lighthouse Trolley: History, Ghosts & More

Hopping onboard the Lighthouse Trolley, Cap Fendig and his staff will entertain you with stories of St. Simons’ past. Before long giggles break out, and your face will begin to stretch in a smile.

Cutting through the subdued chatter, the trolley driver rings his bell. “First stop, Fort Frederica,” he calls out. Cap Fendig begins to regale us with the history of the Fort.

St. Simons Island

Cap Fendig onboard the Lighthouse Trolley

The colony of Georgia was established in 1733. Three years later James Oglethorpe built Fort Frederica to protect the young colony against Spanish attack. To deter the Spanish from attacking the fort, Oglethorpe and his troops stealthily pushed south to St. Augustine to attack the entrenched Spanish soldiers. His attack on the Spanish failed, and as Oglethorpe and his troops fled back to Fort Frederica, the Spanish troops swiftly chased them back to St. Simons and attacked the fort. Oglethorpe’s troops successfully routed the Spanish and held Fort Frederica.

st simons island

Fort Frederica held the Spanish invasion of St. Simons Island in 1742.

“Next stop Christ Church,” our driver sings out. During the Civil War, Confederate soldiers built a new fort at the site of the St. Simons Lighthouse to protect the tiny island. Christ Church Cemetary contains graves of Confederate and Union soldiers killed during battle.

Christ Church is the second oldest church in Georgia, and its history spans 209 years. The church is the second oldest in Georgia and is an active parish. Walking the grounds, you come across a massive live oak, heavily draped with Spanish moss, looking like a wizened old man. This oak, known as the “Wesley Oak,” is where the Wesley brothers, Charles and John, preached, right under the oak tree.

As you walk the streets and visit the sites of St. Simons, the ghosts of the past are discernible – the best known is the ghost of the St. Simons Lighthouse. Rumor has it that this restless spirit is that of a former lighthouse keeper. The ghosts of the past whisper and run through this tiny island like tendrils of fog that reach in and around you, pulling you into its story.

St. Simons Christ Church

St. Simons Christ Church is the second oldest church in Georgia

Fabulous Food at Georgia Sea Grill

After a day of sightseeing aboard the Lighthouse Trolley, it’s time to think about dinner. And nothing is better to top off your day than Georgia Sea Grill.

Reaching the door of the restaurant with its honey-colored shutters standing like sentinels at the entrance, savory scents waft through the thick, Georgia air, offering diners the promise of a tasty meal. With an upscale, yet casual feel, Georgia Sea Grill is passionate in their pursuit offering diners “sensational cuisine, presented with a warm welcome and attentive service.” Owner Zack Gowen and Chef Time Lensch are certainly setting the bar high as they achieve this goal. Georgia Sea Grill is one of St. Simons best choices for fresh seafood and stellar service. Their menu has lots of choices that highlight their pursuit of fresh food, ranging from the freshest ocean-to-table seafood to Southern culinary classics with a twist.

The dim lights and soft music lend a cozy and romantic feel to your evening. Artfully decorated with fresh herbs and flowers and elegantly plated, each dish contributes to the romantic feel, making the Georgia Sea Grill the perfect choice to celebrate life’s milestones.


Continue the Romance at the King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort

St. Simons’ only beachfront resort is the King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort. You’ve had a full day of sightseeing and dinner at the Georgia Sea Grill. What can be better than snuggling in a luxurious room or villa as the sound of the surf crashing on the beach lulls you to sleep? The resort delivers luxury in each of their room offerings.

Sunrise on the beach is a magical time. Crawl out of your comfortable bed, toss on your clothes and head for the beach to watch the sun gracefully begin her ascent, bathing the sand in indescribable shades of red, yellow and orange. Walking along the beach at sunrise, dipping your toes in the salty ocean water and a slight breeze ruffling your hair, your senses begin to awaken to the day ahead.

King and Prince Beach and Golf Resort

The beach at the King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort

ECHO Offers Extraordinary Culinary Creations

As you head back to your room, think about breakfast at ECHO. The Eggs Lowcountry, with shrimp and andouille sausage, corn, potato and fried egg is a great way to get your morning started.

Culinary creativity is where Chef Flack, ECHO’s Executive Chef excels. We were mesmerized as Chef Flack demonstrated how to fillet a grouper. Wielding his knife with finesse, the grouper is suddenly transformed from a giant fish to an appealing mound of fillets by Chef Flack.

Chef Flack demonstrates how to fillet fish.

The fish is elegantly prepared and plated, ready for diners to devour the delicious creation, will leaving taste buds desiring more.

A beautifully plated and succulent grouper entree.

History, romance, and fabulous food wait for you on St. Simons Island!

The fishing pier.

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Note: A huge thank you to Georgia Sea Grill, The King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort and Leigh Cort Publicity for their generous hospitality.  As always, all opinions are our own.

-All photos by Jim Hill.

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