The next morning we gathered in the hotel’s solarium for a hearty breakfast and listened as Curt Smith brought St. Simons Island’s fascinating past to life. Curt has spent his life on St. Simons and shares many personal stories as well as tales of its first native American inhabitants, occupations by the Spanish and British and the island’s critical military role during World War II. He is also intimately familiar with the islands geological history . When you visit the island, make it a point to visit the Historical Society and ask for Curt. St. Simons has a most colorful past.
We hopped on the Lighthouse Trolley and joined local legend Cap Fendig for a mini island tour. Cap exudes southern grace and is a master storyteller. Ask him about the time he ran for President, yes, of the United States. We stopped at Christ Church, where John and Charles Wesley, considered the fathers of the Methodist Church, preached to the natives. Christ Church dates back to 1776 and has been rebuilt after being partially destroyed in wartime.
Dinner was a short walk out the driveway at the Beachcomber BBQ. You may know this place from the Food Network’s “The Best Thing I Ever Ate.” Brother and sister Roger and Heather Hardman run this place and the bbq is nothing short of extraordinary. I love brisket and this was exceptionally tasty as were their ribs.
The next morning we caught the edge of the storm. Winds were whipping, flags were snapping and we headed downtown for breakfast at Palmer’s Village Cafe. Palmer Fortune has turned this into the place to go for breakfast on St. Simons.Colorful local artwork adorns the walls and in the kitchen Chef John Belechak is doing his best to please your palate. His philosophy is to create food that falls between the rough and refined. It’s hearty fare, and we enjoyed an Islander omelette and the Coastal Delight, an open face sandwich with shrimp and tasso, fresh mustard green and sautéed mushrooms.
Our St. Simons experience came to a close with a low country boil. Wild Georgia shrimp, blue crabs, sausage and corn simmered together and we reminisced about how much fun we had had in two short days. If you ever get the opportunity to visit this magical place, do it. I’ll warn you, many who have, never returned.