We thoroughly enjoyed out trip to St Simon’s Island last weekend. It’s not a bad ride, though a tad long at a little over three hours. The atmosphere and amenities of the island itself were great. I look forward to going back sometime soon.
We arrived at noonish on Friday and checked in early at the Holiday Inn Express. Lovely hotel, very polite and charming staff. Every single person we saw working there was just as nice as they could be. Even the maintenance staff stopped and held doors and greeted us.
The room itself was nice, if a bit unremarkable. I’ve gotten pretty used to having a small fridge and microwave in every toom we get anywhere we go. This room didn’t boast either of those amenities, which seemed a bit odd. We didn’t end up needing them, but it would’ve been nice just having them available.
We set out for lunch and went to a local shopping area called Redfern village. We wandered about the overpriced shops for a bit (Marilyn saw a watch that she absolutely loved but couldn’t bring herself to buy), then I declared my need for sustenance. We decided upon a place called Gnat’s Landing, which seemed pretty jumping for Friday lunch.
It didn’t take us long to realize that the clientele of this establishment was, ummm, monoethnic. It looked like everyone else there just came from a J Crew photo shoot. I have to admit to enjoying it more when the crowd is a bit more diverse. The biggest difference I could see amongst the women is that some were pre- and post-boob job. That was about it. I caught myself hoping the whole island wasn’t like that.
The lunch tself was good, we ordered way too much and I drank a couple of margaritas (yummy). I had the Fried Green Tomato Sandwich which was good, but not stunningly so. The tomato slices needed to be a tad thinner, in my opinion. But I did enjoy it. Our final tally for lunch hit $60 which was a bit of a sticker shock for the wife and I. We decided to reel in the ordering frenzy for the remainder of our meals or it was going to be one seriously expensive weekend.
After lunch we went back to get the watch Marilyn wanted (and that Emily has been wearing the past few mornings) and then back to the room and got changed and headed for the beach. It was a short little jaunt and there were plenty of well marked public beach access points available. We picked one at random and went down to the water’s edge and set up our base camp.
The wind was blowing pretty strong and the water was chilly, but Emily is not to be deterred by such triflings. In we went. She and I jumped in the waves and scoured the beach for shells so that Emily could take a souvenir to her Nannyboo. As a side note, I din’t find a single intact shell the whole time that did not have a living creature inside it. I found dozens of shells with hermit crabs inside of all of them, from the biggest to the smallest. I just didn’t have the heart to evict the crabs for our own selfish purposes, so back into the drink they went. We played and explored and Marilyn and Jonathan took a stroll down the beach and we wore ourselves out.
After packing up and heading back to the hotel, we got showered up and chose our dinner venue. We ended up choosing Locos Grill & Pub which was just around the corner from the hotel.
I have a general rule that I don’t do franchise restaurants whilst on vacation. Why travel if you are just going to go eat at Applebee’s? You could’ve stayed home and done that. So I have to plead ignorance when agreeing to go there. I didn’t realize it was a franchise and I surely didn’t realize there was one in Martinez. It only took a few seconds inside to realize that we were in a chain restaurant, but at that point, what the hell.
Still full from lunch, I had a salad with buffalo chicken wing stuff on top. It was the same salad you could have at TGIFriday’s or Applebee’s or Chili’s, etc, etc. Acceptable, but unremarkable.
We spent a relaxed evening hanging out with the kids at the hotel and slept like logs.
In the morning, we partook of the free continental breakfast, (there is a reason it is free, too, you couldn’t get people to pay for that) and then frolicked poolside for most of the morning.
After the pool, we went down to the pier to check out what was happening down there.
As soon as we got there, we knew we had found the place we wanted to spend some time in. Much, much more diverse crowd here (a small group of black bikers, mostly older women, roared past us on some absolutely gorgeous Harley’s as we were getting our bearings) and the kind of cheesy “beachiness” that I like so much about Tybee Island was more apparent here. We had lunch at the 4th of May Deli, with my choice being the Poblano Burrito. Quite tasty and pretty big.
We stopped at a nearby ice cream parlor, named Zuzu’s and bought a round of cones.
Wired up on all that sweetness, we took Emily over to a nearby playground, which had a huge number of kids, and let her go wild. Now Emily is not really the wild type, honestly. She doesn’t just go diving in feet first. So it took her a few minutes to acclimatize to the frenetic pace of the playground. But once she got into it she made a new little friend (Madison, I think her name was) and they climbed and explored and dug and whispered things to each other in secret child talk. Jonathan was asleep in the stroller for most of this and Marilyn and he took another stroll while I watched Emily play.
A few hours later, we pried Emily off the playground, kicking and screaming, and headed back to the hotel to clean up and chill out.
For dinner, we headed to Kobe Japanese Steakhouse. Yes, I know, another chain. But Emily and Jonathan had never been to one and we thought the show might be entertaining for them. It was good, Emily loved the fire and always enjoys using chopsticks. Our chef had a hard time understanding that all Emily wanted was plain white rice. He kept slipping different things onto her plate to try and spice it up for her, she would look at me and I would dutifully remove it. She won’t even eat the rice that something else touches. Once it is no longer stark white, she doesn’t want it. Go figure.
That was the end of that evening and again, we wound it down in the hotel room and slept like logs.
Continental breakfast, again. Bleh.
So we hit the beach again Sunday morning and did our new routines with Emily and I jumping in the waves and building doomed sandcastles too close to the water. Marilyn and Jonathan strolled and explored. By 10:30 we packed up and headed back to the hotel to check out.
So all in all, it was a really nice weekend. Not too frenetic, just enough beach time and play time to keep Emily and Jonathan happy, enough relax time to keep Mom and Dad happy. It’s a nice, relaxed, friendly island with lots of family activity things to do (we barely scratched the surface). I think we most definitely will be going back sometime soon. Probably not this year, but I’m hoping we can work it in to the schedule next year.
Next up, Tybee in July!