We are proud to partner with King & Prince Beach & Resort for a hosted stay at the hotel and ECHO restaurant, however our opinions in this blog are all our own.
We happened to be contacted by a PR representative who asked me if I'd ever considered being a travel writer. I said no, but sign me up!!! She registered us for a night's stay at the King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort just an hour and a half north of Jacksonville that very Sunday, which just happened to be our wedding anniversary! And we just so happened to have visited St. Simon's Island on our way to our honey moon so we thought it was a great coincidence and story!!! We enjoyed our relaxing stay in the historic, European style resort and they sure made us feel like a King and Queen for the day. Parents, this is a family friendly place, especially in summer, but we hope you will visit for a relaxing getaway alone this winter! We all need some time away from the kids, am I right? This location is relaxation at its finest. Here is how we transformed out of our yoga pants and jeans, shed our stress, and relaxed to enjoy a wonderful break from being parents, becoming a King and Queen for the night at King and Prince!
1. We Relaxed in Nature
On the way up on I-95 we were still a bit stressed from the week and we wanted to talk about stressful things. But upon crossing the St. Mary's River at the Florida Georgia line, the marshes began. Wide open expanses of fresh air, swaying spartina grasses, winding creeks. We tried to keep worrying about packing snacks for school, that bill we needed to pay... but we kept being interrupted by the open skies, the birds flying. At the next big expanse we had to just take a deep breath and relax! As we exited the highway, the big world of business and racing left us as we headed east to the islands, the salt air, to the small town of St. Simon's Island, Georgia. We went over many bridges as we continued to go more remote. We went over a last bridge that dropped us off into a small town and we were in heaven as we rode into the King and Prince parking area at dark with a big deep breath and a knowing glance at each other meaning, "We are on vacation-no kids."
2. WeRelaxed by the Fire
When we walked in we were giddy-what an interesting place with history and grandeur! We checked in and then walked to the stairs. In front of us was an ancient tapestry that just felt, "Old Georgia." To our right were oversized couches, wooden chairs with big pillows, books (books...as a mom I haven't seen one of those in years) and a warm fire. We calculated how long it would take us to put our stuff in the room and be back here with our feet up on the coffee table perusing local magazines. There was coffee at the bar and signature cocktails for purchase. This must be how kings and queens live, we mused.
3. Parents Can Relax with a Quiet Dinner at ECHO
After getting settled we went down for a romantic dinner at ECHO, the hotel's restaurant named with a nod to the hotel's brief naval history during World War II. We were happy to not have to walk around and find a place to eat. It was a cozy space with only about 20 booths and tables overlooking the beach during the day, and romantically lighted and quiet at night. We started with a craft cocktail and a local beer. The crab cakes appetizer was light and fluffy and melted in our mouths. The shrimp and grits were southern style like we've never seen-jumbo fried Georgia local shrimp standing on a boat of southern greens with andouille sausage over light and buttery grits, amazing!! We had to take our brownie cheese cake with ice cream to the room, but ate every bit once we got there. What an amazing change of pace from wild dinner with kids roaming around at home! Like I said, King and Queen for the night!
4. Parents Relax in the Historic Hotel Rooms, Under the Stars
Our hotel room was in of the historic part of the hotel, built in 1935. The place burned a few months after it was built because the locals did not like the kind of dancing, parties, and music hosted in the hotel every evening by the wealthy visitors from neighboring Jekyll Island! They came over from their vacation by boats each evening, before bridges were built, for jazz parties that ran into the night and there were even big time boxing matches hosted at the hotel. We imagined ladies in slinky, sparkling gowns and dazzling earrings with those long golf tee style cigarette holders, the band playing, and the men gathered playing heavy poker games. Walking through the stained glass rooms we could feel the presence of the wealthy royalty of yesteryear.
Our room was cozy with a large king size bed filling up the smaller style room, European style. And by that I mean that the European rooms are smaller indicating that you should spend more time traveling and seeing the sights than watching TV in your room. That was the case here, but the size encouraged you to simply step out onto the porch, which was massive. The porch overlooked the ocean and had plenty of room to put up your feet and look at the huge sky. That night was clear and we could see the stars. It was like we were in the stars. Again, we wanted to be busy and turn on the tv, but the stars! Those Georgia stars were far from the lights of Jacksonville, they were coming after us, they engulfed us and forced us just to look, to breathe, to enjoy, to relax. We watched the stars, we sat, we were not interrupted by kids for a moment, we enjoyed each other's presence as the waves washed in and out in a peaceful rhythm somewhere out in the darkness.
5. Relax By the Beach (Or By Shopping!)
In the morning we enjoyed another hosted visit for an ECHO breakfast. We thought we couldn't get any more local than shrimp and grits, but then there was the Low Country Omlette! Jumbo Georgia shrimp, that yummy andouille sausage again, cheddar cheese, local potato fingers, and seasonings. It was the most lovely omlette and I felt like an old time shrimper as we watched the shrimp boats come in on the calm water and the families walking dogs on the beach. We enjoyed a pleasant history lesson and local shipping and trade discussion with hotel manager with the name of a mysterious Frenchman, Mr. Bud St. Pierre. By the end we, too wanted to research the bands that were here after the depression, review photos of World War II, and reenact the boxing matches of the past.
The concierge gave us a map of the island and we enjoyed a one mile walk on the peaceful beach to the quaint shopping district and pier. We looked at all the beach homes, so different than Jacksonville with their Atlanta style red brick and columns right on the beach. We enjoyed actually relaxing on our beach walk without having to heard kids, take them up to the restroom, find them food, etc. We just enjoyed the crisp, cool winds, the open sky, and the view of the wilderness of Cumberland Island with its wild horses out at sea. As we reached the shopping district with the view of the lighthouse, the red brick library and playground right on the ocean, and the peaceful fishing pier, we started looking for a competitor for my husband's profession, because if that was open, we were ready to move here!
6. A Relaxing Stay
Simple, I know, but parent's just don't get to relax these days. And something as easy as relaxing makes us feel like Kings and Queens!! We so enjoyed our stay for the evening and day! Who knew over 12 years ago when we visited for our honeymoon that we should have appreciated our freedom and youth and long nights of sleep! Coming back was a reminder of the past and the relaxing trips we used to take together, but also a great way to refresh and enjoy/appreciate the health and happiness we have together and as a family today. We have so enjoyed our 12 years married and last 5 years with kids, but we do need these short trips away to relax and pamper ourselves like a King and Queen. We are so glad we have found this spot! We definitely need to return for more of the relaxation at King and Prince, like The Royal Treatment Cottage, the open air of the golf course, the pools, and the local nature hikes, bikes and kayak tours, but to also bring our children for the summer family fun. We are so thankful for our rejuvenating, hosted stay at King and Prince Beach & Resort and we hope we can spread the word to other Jacksonville parents looking for a nearby getaway!
For more info and the famous King and Prince Shrimp and Grits recipe, click here!
King and Prince Greens Recipe for the Greens in the Shrimp and Grits:
Collard Greens Ingredients:
1/2 pound smoked ham hocks
1 tablespoon coarse sea salt
1 tablespoon tabasco
1 tablespoon blackening seasoning
2 large bunch collard greens
1 tablespoon butter
In a large pot, bring 1 gallon of water to a boil and add smoked meat, blackening seasoning, coarse sea salt and hot sauce. Reduce heat to medium and cook for 25 minutes. Wash the collard greens thoroughly, remove the stems, chop greens, place in pot with meat and add butter. Cook for 30 to 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. When done taste and adjust seasoning.
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