Feature Photo: Meeting up at King Island Bar & Grill (left to right): Pete Christy, Jim Christy, Jack Christy, David Christy and Dan Christy. It was Dan’s birthday. (ROBYN JONES/CONTRIBUTOR)
August is just around the corner. One more month of summer and if you are like me you may be trying to fit in as much summer fun as possible before the leaves begin to turn and fall from the trees. Let me make a suggestion for your “Must Do” summer list. West of Interstate 5 on Eight Mile Road, your destination is King Island Marina Resort.
Just a short drive away, but it feels more like a long way from home.
Right before the second bridge traveling west on Eight Mile Road make a sharp left onto a narrow levy road that quickly wraps itself nicely around the freshly painted resort. Park along the levee and take a stroll while you feel the breeze and listen to the water lapping against the boats. Or head further in and park below the levy near the general store and bait shop.
If it’s the weekend you are likely to hear live music, happy group chatter, and the purr of engines. Otherwise, it might be the birds chirping, fish jumping, or the page turning of your beloved summer novel. In either case, King Island offers that relaxing summer haze we all relish from time to time.
In addition, the quaint resort boasts 215 slips (for you land-lubbers, that’s a parking spot for your boat), a newly updated restaurant and bar, RV sites, gas stop, guest dock, boat launch, mobile home park, laundry & shower facilities, dry storage, propane refills and 24-hour security cameras. Expansive outdoor and shaded patio seating offers comfort and relaxation at this cozy Delta setting.
It’s everything you need from sunrise to sunset on the Delta. Soon you will be able to watch a beautiful Delta sunset from your own private perch above the restaurant. A brand new one-bedroom Airbnb is in the works and will offer sweeping views of the Delta.
Other future endeavors include a park-like setting with tables, grass, trees and perhaps a designated stage area for more live music. Delta concerts have always been a major attraction for fun-seeking river rats, and King Island Marina Resort offers a generous dose with live local music three weekends per month from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
For years the Nomellini and Leonardini families owned all the parcels that make up King Island Resort, and they leased them to several businesses. In 2014, after 25 years managing Herman and Helen’s Marina, longtime Delta lover Chuck Spurlock began buying the parcels. By December 2020 Chuck had full ownership, was busy creating a memorable getaway for guests and adding a fresh coat of paint to all.
These days you will find Chuck’s son, C.J., working alongside him and Chuck’s granddaughter, Novalee, waitressing. His happy Delta promoter and Office Manager Annie Aquino rounds out the loyal, close knit staff.
Historically, Delta destinations have offered a retreat from our routine suburban life, but offered little in the way of cuisine. Thanks to Chuck and his team, those days are over. The total Delta package is now available at King Island.
As the story goes, Chuck heard about the fires that gutted Giusti’s restaurant further up the Delta and immediately reached out to the head chef, Jose Gaiton. A cuisine game-changer, Jose arrived at King Island the next day.
There are quality customary breakfasts, such as the Depth Charge, and Fisherman’s Breakfast, as well as lunch favorites Chuck’s Chicken Club and Rib Eye Steak Sandwich. A full bar helps create the perfect “fill up my senses and stomach” one-stop eating experience.
Chuck’s next venture should thrill Delta lovers. He has purchased the famed Herman & Helen’s Marina just 2.4 miles west of King Island a.k.a., the dead end of Eight Mile Road.
“Well, first we have to clean it all up and haul out the junk,” says Chuck with a sigh and a smile.
“New dock, slips, moorage, general store and possibly a restaurant. Not quite sure yet,” Chuck adds. Additionally, he’s in the process of securing permits for his “Floating Home Marina” on the property. Think houseboat – only bigger and without a motor.
So, who’s ready to become a full-time river rat?
King Island Resort & Marina
11530 W Eight Mile Rd
(209) 477-5364; https://www.kingislandresort.com/
Marina hours: Sunday – Thursday: 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Friday & Saturday: 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Bar & Grill hours: Wednesday-Friday opens at 11 a.m.; Saturday & Sunday opens at 8 a.m.