When you’re on St. Simons Island, the richly preserved history offers a fascinating reminder that you’re in the South. Key aspects of the island’s history, including remnants from the Civil War, can be explored here.
But there’s something else guaranteed to make you feel like you’re in the South, and that’s access to things that are unique to the region.
Here’s a good example: when it’s lunchtime, take the family over to Barbara Jean’s, a restaurant at 214 Mallery St. on St. Simons.
It’s a place where you can order Jumbo crab cakes with sides of Dirty Rice and White Cheddar cheese grits.
Or maybe you’re more in the mood for Fried Chicken with gravy and sides of Mac and Cheese and Carrots.
Barbara Jean’s offer a real taste, so to speak, of what Southern Comforts are all about here – and that includes the sumptuous meals that are unique to the region, having been passed down from one generation to the next, sometimes dating back a century or more.
There’s a good chance your plate will be scraped clean.
This family run restaurant that opened in 1998 specializes in seafood dishes – but also in made-from-scratch, home-style cooking, which means southern cooking at its finest.
Menu items like the She Crab Soup, “Chocolate Stuff” dessert and homemade breads have developed a strong and loyal following on the island, and this is just one fine example of how the island excels at providing visitors with the best in Southern comforts and Southern culture.
What Can Visitors Expect by Way of Southern Comfort?
Southern comfort means a lot of things. When you visit St. Simons Island, if you’re coming from a big city, one of the first things you’ll notice is that St. Simons sure doesn’t look or feel like a huge urban center.
No heavy traffic congestion, for one.
For another, nobody seems to be in a big hurry on St. Simons Island. The people who live and work on the island take their time – enough time, in fact, to stop and offer you a warm and inviting greeting and a friendly smile.
That’s one way that St. Simons Island delivers on genuine Southern hospitality: the friendliness and charm of the locals, and the slower pace of life here.
St. Simons Island is far too beautiful a place for anyone to be a big hurry. If you stop by the Pier Village area to check out the antique shops, specialty stores and restaurants there, take a moment and look around.
You’re more likely to see people getting around on bicycle or a golf cart than by car.
You might notice people enjoying a picnic lunch in Neptune Park, enjoying the shading provided by the Live Oaks.
And you can stroll down to the pier and enjoy the spectacular views of the ocean. The seagulls like to perform for the people there, demonstrating how they’re skilled at swooping down to catch their dinner before the fishermen do.
St. Simons Island calls out to you to slow down, relax, and simply enjoy.
And while you can stand on the pier and watch ships sail by, the island’s beautifully preserved past is also fascinating to explore, in a host of different ways.
On the north end of St. Simons Island is Fort Frederica, offering a look at the English occupation of the island after they drove off the Spanish soldiers who had been stationed in nearby Florida.
The cemetery behind the historic Christ Church bears witness to sons lost in the Civil War, while the slave cabins of Hamilton Plantation at Gascoigne Bluff let visitors see the timber milled there after the Civil War, providing jobs for both the planters and freed slaves.
Being on St. Simons Island, you can enjoy that slower pace of life, the friendliness of the locals, and a look back into southern history.
And then there’s something else on St. Simons Island that is uniquely southern: the food.
What Kind of Southern Dishes are Found on St. Simons?
No matter where you go on St. Simons Island, Southern comfort food is everywhere, from breakfast staples like biscuits and gravy and grits, to peach cobbler and platters of fresh oysters on the half shell served family style.
Sometimes called Down Home Cooking, Southern meals and southern cooking recipes are entirely unique, and very easy to fall in love with.
The St. Simons African American Heritage Coalition works to share the Islands African American history, showcased in properties like The Harrington Graded School, an elementary school that was built for African Americans and now serves as a cultural center.
It’s a great starting point for tours of the island’s African American history.
And that history includes some amazing southern recipes that stay alive today in restaurants like Southern Soul Barbeque.
It’s a place where you can get a terrific sense of what southern cooks can do, with a menu that includes a Pig Sandwich, a Knuckle Sammich, a Rib Sammich, Jive Chicken and Pulled Pork, among others.
The soulful sides include collard greens, fried Okra, hushpuppies and a sack of fried green beans.
St. Simons Island is also the ideal place to visit to gorge on shrimp and grits, with those fresh-off-the-boat jumbo shrimp sautéed in butter. Shrimp is king in these parts.
In addition to the island’s history and nature, you can take advantage of a delicious diversity of Georgia foods. Fresh seafood is a specialty here, and for good reason. Marshlands are found everywhere on Georgia’s barrier islands, and the marine life it harbors is diverse.
The shallow tidal water is home to plenty of marine species before they set out to the open sea, and local fishermen have been known to bring in Atlantic white shrimp, flounder, kingfish, stingray, bluefish and more.
There’s plenty of coastal cuisine at this oceanfront restaurant, including fresh seafood, shrimp and grits, and breakfast po’boys.
Blackwater Grill also specializes in the traditional meals of the Coastal South, including island seafood specialties, gumbo, and Cajun Rubbed Ribs.
You get the picture.
That’s in addition to finding Georgia smoked and cured meats, pecans, salsas, Savannah honey, and locally grown olives in the shops here.
You can say this about Southern chefs: they absolutely do not want you to leave feeling hungry.
Whether you arrive for an extended stay on St. Simons Island, or just want to enjoy a relaxing weekend here, you’re going to find Southern comfort food everywhere. It’s remarkable to discover how many seafood restaurants there are on the island.
And those breakfast places brimming with eggs, waffles, pancakes, biscuits and gravy, and grits are pretty appealing, too.
Add to that the relaxing pace of life on the island, and the warm welcome and greetings you’re going to get from the locals, and you get a solid idea of what Southern Hospitality is all about.
It’s available in abundance on St. Simons Island.
St. Simons Island is truly the ideal place to visit, and the island keeps attracting people — not only to visit but also to settle down permanently.
If you’re also considering becoming a permanent resident of St. Simons Island, contact Palmetto Building Group today.
We also have homes close to the Pier Village, or right near the beach.
Whatever it is that draws you to life on St. Simons Island, we have a home to match your concept of the ideal setting.
Contact Palmetto Building Group today at 912-266-8401 or email us at Palmettoleads@gmail.com to learn more. We look forward to hearing from you, but most of all, we’re thrilled to know you’re looking for a new home on one of the most spectacularly beautiful and historic parts of South Georgia.