CRÈME DE LA CRÈME: COASTAL GEORGIA HOT SPOTS
Spanish moss dripping from live oak trees as they bend over the road. Peeks of the Atlantic Ocean between sand dunes, a swipe of darker blue below the blue skies. Signs for “Peel N Eat Shrimp” and “Ice Cold Beverages.” This is coastal Georgia, and you’re getting hungry.
ONE /// Despite the seemingly permanent flock of teenagers camping out at a back table and the hippyish artisan market that greets you upon entering, Wake Up Coffee Company serves surprisingly sophisticated and quite impressively delicious caffeinated beverages. In fact, we’d argue that the baristas make some of the best espresso drinks in the South, using Fair Trade beans sourced from all over the world.
TWO /// A few doors down from Wake Up in St. Simons’ Redfern Village is Viola’s Market. At this gorgeously curated yet very approachable gift and home décor shop, we particularly enjoyed the cookbook, pickle, and gourmet food selection, as they all paid homage to so many of our Southern culinary heroes and heroines.
THREE /// We had so much fun eating at Southern Soul Barbeque that we decided we needed to meet the owners. Not only do Griffin Bufkin and Harrison Sapp make the best lunch to be had in the entirety of the Golden Isles, but they also make sure the whole experience is fun at their gas station turned restaurant on St. Simons. This is low-key barbeque at its best; know that you will leave reeking of smoke (especially if you sit at a picnic table outside), that you may have trouble picking a favorite from the four sauces they make.
FOUR /// Halyards is a beautifully appointed space, and anywhere you sit, you will be well cared for by an attentive staff. However, the long sleek bar is difficult to ignore when you enter. Settle in, like we did, and you might have found your roost for the evening. There is no reason to contemplate anything but local seafood, so go for that. Imaginative toppings and wonderful sides will make this a St. Simons standout experience.
FIVE /// Funky cafés in village centers are always fun to patronize, but even above and beyond the many and creative java beverages that juiced us up during the day at Palm Coast Coffee, we liked this former house for the pub it turns into come nightfall. Open mic night, local musical talent, plenty of rotating beer on tap, and more character than anything around, you feel like you are in Key West in the midst of the tony St. Simons main drag.
SIX /// To sit on an outdoor deck and devour local shrimp with a cold beer might be one of life’s inarguable and purest pleasures. To do so on the magical seaside landscape of the impeccable Jekyll Island is all the better, so head to the Rah Bar to indulge your senses. Peel and eat those puppies as you relish this very casual dive of a seafood joint juxtaposed with the one of the South’s most beautiful vistas.