By Jemille Williams
According to the readers of Travel + Leisure magazine, we’ve got the best of both worlds just five hours away on Georgia’s St. Simons. Now, just because they say it’s romantic doesn’t mean it isn’t the perfect place for a Mother’s Day Mother/Daughter Trip, because face it, romance is more in the eyes of the female beholder. Most guys are pretty much okay with wherever.
So whether you make it just the two of you, or you include the rest of the family, everyone is sure to have a great time on St. Simons. From quiet history to golf, tennis and water sports like fishing, kayaking and just plain ol’ splashing in the surf, there are plenty of things to keep everyone happy.
The St. Simons Lighthouse is a must-see. It was first lit in 1872, replacing the previous one built in 1807 that was destroyed in the Civil War. For the hale and hearty able to climb the spiral steps, the view is breath-taking, but for those who can’t spare that many breaths, there are comfortable theatre seats and a first-class film that tells of local history and natural resources. It also has a great gift shop where I found just the pair of sand dollar earrings my mother had been searching for.
Two places for quiet contemplation are Wesley Memorial Methodist Church and Christ Church Frederica, sites of many Atlanta-area destination weddings. Christ Church opened its doors in 1820, then was defiled as a stable in the Civil War, but was lovingly restored in 1889. Its Tiffany windows are lovely and sure to please any mother. Just across the road are the hushed gardens surrounding the Wesley Memorial. It is moving to walk in the footsteps of Oglethorpe and the Wesleys back in 1736.
My 86-year old mother used to go down to house parties on St. Simons Island back in the ’40s, so I thought what better place for a Mother/Daughter Trip than revisiting her salad days. They could never afford The King and Prince, so it was such a thrill for her to stay there. She said it was the most beautiful suite she’d ever seen! I gave her the oceanview room in our two-bedroom suite. It was so nice to have the privacy and separation of the Early Bird and the Night Owl.
The K&P expanded from a 1935 dance club into a hotel in 1941, but the war put that on hiatus, and it was pressed into service by the Navy as a radar installation to track the U-boats. It certainly made for cushy barracks. Officers enjoyed an ocean view and enlisted men got the parking lot, but I’m sure there were no complaints. Even today, it is the island’s only oceanfront resort.
Generations of Atlantans have holidayed at this member of the Historic Hotels of America that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The fascinating rhythms of Glenn Miller have reverberated within their storied walls, and the brilliant stained glass windows that tell the story of the islands have enchanted legions of guests. They have just completed a grand refreshment of the space, updating the facilities while maintaining its Old School Mediterranean character. For the most relaxing activity of all, they will give you and mom the Queen and Princess Treatment at their appropriately named spa – The Royal Treatment.
Go ahead and splurge at Smallcakes, a cupcakery of great renown. USA Today ranks the chain, founded by Cupcake Wars’ Jeff Martin (a man who truly gets women), as a Top Ten Cupcake Place. I got the Maple Bacon (complete with a crisp little snippet of bacon tucked into the maple frosting). Mom is a sucker for Key Lime, but the Red Velvet was tempting, too.
If You Go:
St. Simons Island Information: stsimonsisland.com
The King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort: 800-342-0212 or kingandprince.com
Jemille William’s travel writing has appeared in the AJC, Roswell Beacon, Appen Media and TripAdvisor.