Pier Village is a small, but very busy section of St. Simon’s Island, Georgia, where, on any given day, locals can count on seeing three things: fisherman with nets and rods on the pier, pancakes on the griddle at the Sandcastle Café, and local artist, Ms. Peggy Buchan.
Setting up shop at the pier’s gazebo or at the entrance of the island’s 325-foot pier, Ms. Peggy is a well-known addition to Pier Village. She spends most mornings painting the scenic waterfront, as well as other locations of the island, which include historic Christ Church and the beaches. On certain days, the canvas painter could be seen painting from memory aboard the Lady Jane, a shrimping boat offering two-hour excursions where passengers help the crew sort out the daily catch. During this voyage, a variety of ocean dwellers are caught, including bonnet head, blacktip and sand sharks, puffer fish, horse crabs and blue crabs. Spend some time on the deck or inside the air-conditioned cabin, and experience the beauty of the island’s calm seas.
A long-time resident of the island, Ms. Peggy said she has painted since the mid-seventies, but didn’t go professional until about 20 years ago. Though she is no longer participating in shows, she is painting where and when she chooses.
When I met up with the talented painter, an island local was picking up a freshly painted canvas from her. She was setup under the gazebo, as a welcomed break from the hot Georgia sun. Two other local artists were also taking shade from the sun, just a few steps away. Karen Keene Braswell and Alyson Tucker were setup on the busy pier, embracing the variety of subjects to paint. As a SUP boarder passed by, photos were taken with a plan to turn that moment into a painting. Locals are often the subject of these ladies’ portraits. The three artists are good friends, finishing many painting sessions with iced coffee get-togethers. Ms. Peggy sweetly refers to the trio as “The Three Musketeers”.
A few years back, Ms. Peggy spent some time painting beach views from the island’s only beachfront hotel, The King & Prince. The resort is a beautiful and relaxing destination, providing as many lodging options as Ms. Peggy’s painting destinations. Amenities are plentiful at the King & Prince, including spa treatments, fine dining at Echo, and a few outdoor pools. Bike riding is top-notch in and around the island, with miles of smoothly-paved bike paths for visitors and locals alike to cruise around the island. For those guests at the resort, Ocean Motion Surf Shop is right around the corner, offering a variety of bikes for rent.
There’s certainly nothing better than chatting up a lovable local while you’re taking a vacation, and Ms. Peggy, with years of island wisdom hidden behind that gentle smile, is the perfect candidate for such as task. She lists The Crab Trap as her favorite dining option, with fried oysters being her absolute favorite dish! Another recommendation from the artist is the shrimp salad from Brogens.
If you’re in town, be sure to stop by to say hello to Ms. Peggy. She’ll tell you a story or two before you take a stroll through the many storefronts that line Mallery Street. Ghost tours are held most nights, and shops contain surf and fishing gear plus one-of-a-kind island items. Of course, our recommendation for a souvenir comes from charming Ms. Peggy. Picking up one of her original works, allows you to take a piece of the island home with you.