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One Sunday night recently I was able to con the hubby into heading to Jekyll Island for dinner. Date nights for us typically mean date nights for all 3 of us so I knew it would have to be something that would be four year old friendly. If you have followed my blog you know that I LOVE Jekyll Island. Seriously. It happens to be the closest of our local islands to my house which is a plus AND it does not have that super saturated, touristy feel to me. This isn’t to say that I don’t ADORE the surrounding islands, but Jekyll is extra special in my opinion.
The beaches here are my favorite because they rarely seem crowded. Some days it is almost like you have the beach all to yourself. On Jekyll you have the history and beauty of the Jekyll Island Club, the thrills of Summer Waves, educational experiences can be found at several places including the kid favorite The Sea Turtle Center, and most recently a brand new village area has been added which has revitalized the island. What is not to love? Along with the addition of the new GORGEOUS ( seriously amazing) conference center and village area brimming with shops and restaurants, there have been several new spectacular hotels pop up in that area. The Westin, which is known for providing an excellent hotel experience, is located smack dab in the midst of the new village area. Also, The Jekyll Island Club has added a new property in this area- The Jekyll Ocean Club- which is an oceanfront boutique that features 40 suites and is located within walking distance of the new village. It too looks FAB-U-LOUS! I had not had a chance to explore the new village area yet and so I thought this particular Sunday night would be an excellent opportunity for all three of us to go and explore.
We were torn between a few really good restaurant options as we journeyed across the causeway and so we did what any democratic institution would do- we flipped a coin. Fortunately for us, the coin landed on heads which meant off to Jekyll Island Seafood Co. we went. We were able to easily find parking in the village in a lot right next to the restaurant. When we got out of the car we almost fell onto the beach! That is how close it is. This place is literally ON the beach. I was loving it already. We stepped inside and were quickly greeted by a hostess. The inside was definitely what I would describe as “coastal chic”. There were chandeliers made out of oyster shells that I was especially taken with as well as a very attractive bar area. I loved the reclaimed wood finishes and the hint of an industrial flair which is oh so popular. The designer of the interior certainly had an eye for local flavor and a vision for all that should embody a coastal restaurant. We were graciously given the choice of indoor or outdoor dining and with the mini- human in tow I bet you can guess which option we chose- You guessed it! HUGE advocate of outdoor dining with children, especially when the outdoor option means you are practically having dinner on the beach. The outdoor seating really hides a multitude of behavioral sins and I am not referring to the adults people. We stepped out onto a HUGE outdoor patio. It was around 8pm and it was not the least bit hot. There was a wonderful ocean breeze rolling in and you could literally hear the waves crashing in the distance.
We were greeted by our server quickly and in just a few moments had two very cold blue moons as well as a milk. Brandon and I really enjoyed the view and remarked that of all of the different outdoor dining experiences we had tried that Jekyll Island Seafood Co. might take the cake for best location. It really is a stunning view especially at that time of day. We could see The Westin directly behind us as well as other shops and restaurants. There were people of all ages window shopping, relaxing on benches sprinkled throughout the well manicured courtyard areas, and going for a walk at dusk on the beach. Overall this area has a super laid back and chill vibe that says come explore and hang out for awhile. Love it!
We looked over the menu which was chock full of local offerings with a southern flair. There were just enough choices that everyone could find something they liked but not so many that it was overwhelming. I have a tendency to get really overwhelmed with making a selection when there are ten pages on a menu. Brandon went with his old tried and true shrimp and grits and I opted for the salmon. Pierce also stayed within his comfort zone and “informed” us he would be having the grilled cheese. Lord help me :).
It was so relaxing and peaceful on the porch that I almost did not want the food to come so we could just enjoy it a little longer. We got our food rather quickly and let me just say we were not disappointed. My salmon was out of this world. We eat salmon a lot around out house and when we order it at restaurants my husband will often remark that it is not as good as what we make at home. **Side note- rest assured that his opinion can be trusted on a fair and honest review of food as he is NOT one to sugar coat his food critiques. He has zero issues letting you know if something doesn’t taste right whether you made it or someone else did.** I happen to think this salmon absolutely smoked my homemade salmon. Brandon said he thought it was the best salmon he had ever had. It had a peach compote/salsa type topping that was fresh, sweet, and incredible. It really set the salmon off. I also had perfectly steamed broccoli as well and it was also tasty. Brandon’s shrimp and grits were great and the shrimp were huge and so fresh! You can really tell the difference when a restaurant serves local fresh shrimp. It makes a huge impact on the taste of the shrimp. Pierce’s grilled cheese looked very good as far as grilled cheese goes and his fries were really good too. My favorite thing about his meal was that it was served inside a frisbee that he was allowed to keep. We noticed this trend at a lot of places on our Sanibel vacation we took recently and I think it is such a good idea and so fun. The kids especially love this and it makes a great addition to the beach bag.
We wrapped up and then decided that we would check out Fuse which was just down from Jekyll Island Seafood Co. As we walked to Fuse we passed quite a few shops that looked worth going back to explore later. They were already closed of course but from the looks of it there were lots of great shopping options- Including Kennedy’s Outfitters and Tonya’s which both also have locations on St. Simons Island as well. Fuse also has at least two options on St. Simons Island and when we are staying over there my husband always insist we hit Fuse after dinner on the way home. This night was no exception and we went to check out their newest location. Fuse features lots of frozen yogurt flavors which are self serve and then they have a topping bar area that has any of every topping you can think of to add to your yogurt. You pay at the end based on weight and this particular night the nice young lady that was working informed us if we guess the weight then we got our yogurt for free. We weren’t so lucky! I tried cheesecake frozen yogurt which was a flavor of their’s I had not seen before and topped mine with reese cup bits. It was out of this world good. Pierce put a little bit of everything on his and I am not sure how it could have tasted good but he seemed to enjoy it. Kids will really enjoy this place as it gives them the ability to design their own dessert. Pierce always looks forward to Fuse and the adults do too!
As summer gets closer I encourage you to check out Jekyll Island, Jekyll Island Seafood Co., the new hotel options, and so much more as a place to enjoy the summer with your family. There is just too much to do there to include in just one post. You can read more about Jekyll Island here and here. Whether you are local or semi-local, looking for a great date night spot, a fun day trip, or a week long vacation, I can not recommend this little island enough. There is a reason that the world’s richest billionaires built summer homes ( that you can still tour) here over 100 years ago and it is not because it is mediocre. It is a special place that charms you with it’s beauty, elegance, adventure, and all that there is to do and explore. Jekyll has something for everyone and unlike a hundred years ago it is accessible now to almost every budget and every family.