Rich history and epicurean delights in the Golden Isles of Georgia

Lysa Allman-Badwin | 6/16/2016, 2:10 p.m.
In our previous explorations of the Golden Isles of Georgia, we delved into their early English, French, Spanish and African-American ...
At Gnat's Landing, the fried green tomatoes, pimento cheese dip, pecan and blue cheese salad and fried shrimp and fried oysters are just the beginning of the culinary fun. Lysa Allman-Baldwin

In our previous explorations of the Golden Isles of Georgia, we delved into their early English, French, Spanish and African-American history, their wealth of unique sites and attractions and the beauty of the natural landscape, together making them what they are today.

Another of the biggest draws to St. Simons, the largest of these barrier islands, is also a true Georgia jewel—The King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort.

Originally opened in 1935, The King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort has a long and storied history. It first operated as a popular seaside dance club set inside visually stunning Mediterranean architectural style buildings.

Because of its prime, protected location along the Georgia coast, it also served as a naval coast-watching and training facility during and for several years after World War II. In fact, the present day restaurant here was the former officers’ quarters, classrooms and local community gathering spot when naval personnel were not on duty.

The King and Prince, the only beachfront resort on the island, has undergone several extensive renovations over the years and is now family owned and operated, today encompassing an array of building and accommodation options, with ocean and/or garden views in everything from beautiful standard rooms to quaint villas, enchanting cabanas, spacious oceanfront suites and large, well-appointed rental homes. Together these close to 200 accommodations, at several price points, offer a great deal to the multigenerational visitors who come here.

Around the property, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a member of the Historic Hotels of America, guests can enjoy the oceanfront pool complex peppered with bridges, pergolas, patio and sand lounge chairs and tables and a fire pit, tennis courts, a fitness center, outdoor grill areas, al fresco lounges and its award-winning, 18-hole, par 72 golf course, located just a few miles away. Private spaces, including the Solarium, are also available for meetings and special events.

Once through the elegant Porte Cochere entryway into the main building, known as the Castle, you will find a soaring and light-filled lobby atrium and an inviting living room and fireplace. Thursdays through Sundays, local jazz combos entertain the guests here.

Just beyond the living room is ECHO Restaurant and Bar, named after the new, back in the day, radar signal technology used by the Navy here. ECHO’s comfortable, relaxing nautical décor is an apt backdrop to the classic coastal cuisine and creative, handcrafted cocktails served here for breakfast, lunch and dinner for guests, as well as visitors from the surrounding community and islands. What sets it apart is the staff’s primary focus on using the freshest seasonal produce, meats, seafood from local coastal farmers and purveyors to create their unique, one-of-a-kind food and beverage menu offerings.

GASTRONOMIC PLEASURES

For an island of only approximately 21,000 year-round residents, St. Simons offers a huge number—close to 70—of outstanding cafés and bakeries, mom and pop bistros, casual restaurants and fine dining establishments, most all family owned. Their unique coastal-niche dishes are often focused around the plethora of fresh marsh and sea fare in the area.