Barrier Island Bliss
The dinner bell rings three times a day at the Lodge on Little St. Simons Island, Georgia.
Guests convene in two adjoining dining rooms for family-style meals where everyone enthusiastically passes platters while discussing the day’s adventures. Executive Chef Robert Douglas has a wealth of ingredients at his fingertips: Georgia shrimp star in a colorful Lowcountry Boil, boneless quail get a stuffed brioche treatment, stone-ground blue corn infuses moist cornbread with incredible flavor, and Sunday’s fried chicken luncheon is a true tongue-wagger. Flame-licked oyster roasts, when it’s the season for them, use jagged clusters from nearby Sapelo Island. Flowering arrangements at the center of each table come straight from the Lodge’s organic garden, where the resident gardener Séamus Maclennan tends to collards and caraway-scented thyme, hibiscus for tea, limequats, rosemary, citrus-forward “rue” herb, and tangerine-scented marigold (an aromatic for rice), among dozens of other edibles that he protects from opportunistic deer, armadillos, and raccoons. Guests are encouraged to wander the garden at will and pluck a small clutch of aromatherapy. Grab a housemade granola bar at the main lodge, then hop on a bike for the leisurely two-mile ride to the beach to watch bald eagles fishing the surf. And if you catch something by rod and reel or by cast-net, be sure to bring it to the kitchen where they’ll cook it up as a pre-dinner snack to share with other guests.
Say goodbye to the mainland. Park your car at the northern tip of St. Simons Island, hop on a waiting skiff, and relax for the breezy ten-minute ferry ride down a river and through a creek, past dolphins and cormorants, before arriving at the Lodge’s private dock.
You are one of only thirty-two (max) lucky guests on an 11,000-acre nature preserve placed under permanent conservation easement by owner Hank Paulson (the seventy-fourth secretary of the treasury). With seven miles of empty beach and miles of maritime forest trails, the entire island is your playground. Naturalists lead daily excursions to spy on alligators and nesting bald eagles. Hooting owls serenade you to sleep.
Tin-roofed cottages are dwarfed by towering pines and centuries-old live oaks dripping with Spanish moss. A 1917 hunting lodge forms the heart of the resort, where guests convene at cocktail hour to mingle over wine and cheese.
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