Luckily, we had a coffeepot in our room so after we woke up early we made some. We also learned the hard way that this was to be the best tasting coffee we would ever have at the hotel, so we had to learn to survive on one or two small cups. While mom was getting ready, I took a picture of the view outside of our room. We then went downstairs to help ourselves to a quick breakfast before our tour. That morning, it was eggs, sausage, and fresh fruit. We tried to have some of the coffee, but it was seriously bad. Having no coffee would be better than drinking that.
At 8:45am, our shuttle arrived to take us to the tour bus to start the Paula Deen Tour
. We were the last ones to board, so got stuck with the cheap seats all the way in the back of the bus. Which was okay. Mom and I each got a window that way. Our goodie bag that the website draws folks in with really wasn’t anything special. There were a few coupons, some pecan pralines (more on these later), and a coupon for preferred seating at Lady and Sons.
Our bus traveled through historic Savannah right through Congress Street. As our tour leader Mary Jane talked on her headset, she pointed us all to notice a small building located at 311 West Congress Street. This was the first location of the Lady and Sons restaurant. As chance would have it, it is now the location of Molly MacPhearson’s ~ the very same restaurant we ate at the night before. What a fluke! We then drove by the current location of the restaurant before heading down through River Street and then on our way to our destination.
Our first stop on the tour was to Polk's Market
Anyone who knows me, knows I’m a foodie. I love food. I love to cook. And I love to eat. This place was awesome. Lots of fresh produce and shelves full of locally made salsas, jellies, dips, etc., etc. They also had samples laid out so we tried a little bit of everything during or 15 minute stop before we boarded the bus to head out for our next destination.
After driving by Paula’s former residence in the historic district, we then headed towards Savannah proper where we drove by the house Paula lived in when she first started The Bag Lady and then reached our second stop, The Byrd Cookie Company The Byrd Cookie Company
which is the store that Paula buys all of her key lime coolers for the key lime tarts she makes at her restaurant (okay, she doesn’t really make them anymore ~ she’s never at her restaurant, but you get the idea). Again, there were lots and lots of samples. Benne was waiting for us and gave us all the recipe for the key lime tart recipe. Then we went to the back of the store to enjoy all of the samples. And believe me, there were lots of samples. And I indulged in almost all of them. Mom and I browsed and bought a few little things, but decided we would definitely be going back.
We all hopped back onto the bus and headed out towards the banks of Moon River (anyone familiar with the song by Johnny Mercer? Yes, it is one and the same) to Bethesda Home for Boys Bethesda Home for Boys
, which is one of Paula’s charities. Not that I wasn’t interested in other parts of the tour, but this one really peaked my interest because I work at a similar facility at home. Bethesda was founded originally as an orphanage in 1740 and is, in fact, older than the United States itself. It is now used as a residential treatment center for at-risk boys. The campus was beautiful and had miles and miles of live oak-lined drives and was full of just these awesome old brick buildings. It was an extraordinary campus. We then stopped at the chapel where Paula and Michael were married (and later, Paula’s son Jamie and his wife Brooke married there as well). I did get out of the bus to take a few pictures because I love churches, I love history, and it was just a beautiful little chapel. On a Paula side note, evidently she and her husband Michael dress up as Mr. and Mrs. Clause every year and visit Bethesda at Christmas. They bring wrapped gifts for the younger boys and give money to the older boys who are nearing the end of their stay at the home.
We then boarded up and headed to our final destination, Uncle Bubba’s Oyster House
. We were all sent to the back room where on occasion Paula films her Paula's Party
. Of course she wasn’t there that day, she was still in New York filming at her studio there. In any case, there was a nice buffet laid out for us to enjoy. We filled our plates with Low-Country Boil (shrimp, sausage, corn, and potatoes), Macaroni & Cheese, Pulled Pork, Greens, Bread, and Chocolate Chip Gooey Butter Cake. Then, as if that weren’t enough, the waitress came in to give us some of Bubba’s signature charbroiled oysters. The food was delicious. Absolutely delicious. I had a little of everything. Okay, maybe a lot of most things, but a little of some things. One thing I’ll also mention is the Macaroni and Cheese was glued together by gobs and gobs of cheese. It was delicious, I just couldn’t eat it all (or didn’t want to ~ I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to fit in my clothes when I got home). Mom and I sat at a table with a couple from Missouri. They were so nice and had in fact been a part of a group that had traveled to New York to view Paula’s taping. We had a nice time visiting with them. As we visited and were just finishing up our meal, who should show up but Uncle Bubba himself. He’s a nice man and sure does like to talk. Mom and I each got our photo taken with him before we headed out to board the bus to get back to our hotel.