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September 3, 2013

St. Simons Island: A jewel in Georgia's Golden Isles

The perfect shade of yellow changed my notion of royalty at the beach and golf resort on Georgia's barrier island of St. Simons.

Purple's no longer as regal in my mind as the yellow distinguishing The King and Prince historic hotel building, villas and guest cottages on the Atlantic Ocean.

Calm, not lemony. Tasteful, not boastful. Yellow with eternal energies. At 77 years old, this member of Historic Hotels of America honors history while embracing the latest amenities.

The King and Prince is a serene getaway on St. Simons, one of 13 barrier islands along the Georgia coast. The five-mile causeway provides just enough broad views of the marshes to jettison worries while approaching a holiday. Live oak trees provide canopies over the island road leading everywhere; this is an easy place to learn your way.

I recommend asking Cap Fendig to orient you with his Lighthouse Trolley tour. There have been six generations of Fendigs on St. Simons, and he says every last one of them was thrilled about their home — including the ones in elementary school here today.

Then book part of a day on the Lady Jane shrimp boat. You’ll have to drive the causeway into Brunswick for this chance to get into the salt marshes, where shallow tidal waters nourish untold numbers of nutrient-rich fish and plants. “Eco tour” is how the family-owned Lady Jane describes the experience; they pulled up a young loggerhead sea turtle the day I toured, moving into high gear in an instant to measure, weigh, photograph, notify the Department of Natural Resources and ease the precious reptile back into the waters.

St. Simons has a village bustling with eateries and shops, small, individually owned boutique style places. Nice pier, too, for fishing and crabbing. Bump into locals here, or at least people who seem to spend months at a time in island cottages.

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