On the Wednesday of our vacation, we headed out to accomplish an exciting task...one which, just a few weeks before, I hadn't been sure if I wanted to even do. Make an in-person reservation at Paula Deen's restaurant. Apparently, eating at The Lady & Sons is one of those Savannah vacationy things that you MUST DO. And sometimes I don't really like people telling me I MUST DO something. I know it's crazy, because I even LIKE Paula Deen. I think she's an incredibly smart, savvy business woman - and I love that she's really close to her family. I buy her magazines from time to time and I have a beautiful red enamel stock pot that has her name on the bottom of it. But I buy those things and watch her show because I personally enjoy them. Not because people are telling me I should.
You see, I'm one of those people. It took me a long time to get into the Harry Potter books until my friend Ashley gave me one for my birthday, with a card that said, "You may not think you're going to like this, but I promise that you will." And I did. I've read all of them and I've watched all of the movies. But I've never even read the first word of the Twilight series. And if I hadn't watched LOST from the very beginning, I would have brushed it off as just another case of the bandwagon phenomenon. Sometimes I might miss good things because of this thing in my brain that says, "If everybody likes it, it must not be that good." Crazy, huh?
Anyway, I like Paula Deen - and here I was, considering not even visiting her restaurant when we were in Savannah. There would be long lines! And it was expensive! And it was just country cookin'! And everybody is telling me to go! So I didn't fight for it, but Jeremy seemed O.K. with going, so we put it on the list. Their website tells you that they only take reservations for big holiday meals (Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc.) so every other day of the year, you must show up at the restaurant at 9:30ish and put your name down. I guess that's how they know you're serious. They don't do phone reservations. They don't do website reservations. But let me tell you, their business is a well-oiled machine. And it works.
We ate breakfast again at Goose Feathers and then walked over to The Lady & Sons. We put our name down for 5:00 so that we would have time to get to church at 7:00 that night. They asked us to be there at 4:45 and to line up on the sidewalk across the street from the restaurant. Okaaaay. But, sure, whatever. Then we went on about our day, with Jeremy saying things like, "We're going to see Paula! I'm STOKED."
Now, both of us had liked the food at Goose Feathers, but the coffee had needed lots of extra cream and sugar the day before, so we figured we might as well find a Starbucks. We found one a few streets over, right there on the stereotypical corner. It was the largest Starbucks I've ever seen. And it was crowded. Remember what I said about the Savannah College of Art & Design? Well, artists need their coffee. It didn't take us long to figure that one out. We enjoyed a long bout of people watching while we were there. And I figured out that I needed to stick with my favorite - pumpkin spice latte' - and not go chasing waterfalls of toffee mocha or some such nonsense. It was no good. Don't bother. And we played on the chalkboard while waiting outside the restrooms. I think all restroom areas should have one of these. It was a pretty good idea. Good job, Savannah Starbucks!
We continued to walk around the city and explore some of the squares, which were strategically placed every so often. I'm telling you, what a great city plan! And while Jeremy was reading about one of the statues in the center of one of the squares, I commissioned a woman sitting on a bench to make us a Savannah rose. I can't remember what they're made out of - some kind of grass? She had several made up but she totally sold me when she asked how many years we'd been married. "Two," I said. She offered to make us a different one with two hearts (signifying two years) and two roses (signifying each of us) and well, I couldn't resist. Isn't it pretty?
Next we went to the Visitor's Center and then caught one of the bus-dressed-up-like-a-trolley tours. We did the Oglethorpe one - and I would highly recommend it. It was 90 minutes long and I would have gladly stayed 90 minutes more. The story of the city of Savannah is incredibly interesting and there are so, so many beautiful historical sites and pretty homes to see.
We got let off at the City Market area and shopped for awhile before heading back to the hotel for a quick nap. Then it was time...
Time to go to The Lady & Sons! We lined up on the sidewalk across the street, just as we had been instructed. Despite it being the first week of November and not really tourist season, there were PLENTY of people waiting with us. I can't imagine how many people there are in the summer! Yikes!
See us reflected in the window?
They called each of our party names, one at a time - then we crossed the street and accepted our ticket, which told us and the hostess inside which floor we would be seated on. All of it went seamlessly and quickly, with a minimal amount of waiting. Cheese biscuits and hoe cakes were brought to our table - at one point Jeremy said, "These need something. I can't believe there's no BUTTER on the table!" For real, Paula. =)
Then we visited the buffet across the room. This is not the place where you'll find gourmet food or even Southern fusion - it's just good ole' country cookin', y'all. And it was good! Expensive ($18 something a person) but good. Later I tried to jot down what all was offered - I might have missed a thing or two, but here's the main menu: fried chicken, turkey and dressing, green beans, creamed corn, macaroni & cheese, mashed potatoes, lima beans, black eyed peas, cabbage, shredded chicken (or pork maybe?) with vegetables, and a salad bar.
As for dessert, your waitress would come around and offer you a selection on a tray. I got the gooey butter cake (of course) and Jeremy got the banana pudding. I mean, puddin'. I keep hearing Paula's voice in my head. ;)
Too bad she wasn't there that night. We kept wondering what kind of chaos would ensue if she or her boys happened to walk in the door.
After dinner, we had plenty of time to spend a few minutes next door at the extension of the Paula Deen empire - the gift shop.
There were all these Girl Scouts running around, but I was able to make my selection fairly quickly...
Aren't those Christmas bags just cute, too? Love 'em! And Jeremy's a pretty good hand model.
And then we stopped in another square to admire the fountain and take a few pictures.
While we were there, I noticed this card on one of the benches and stopped to inspect it.
Interesting way to put it, am I right? And very true. After we took pictures of it, I left it there for someone else to find...
We headed on to the evening services at the Central Church of Christ. As soon as we opened the door and walked in, I recognized a girl I had been in college with! Turns out that her husband is the minister there. I tell you, wherever we visit, there's always some kind of connection we can make. =) This congregation was awesome. In the short amount of time we were there, we could tell that we would love to worship regularly with them if we lived in the area. We talked to many people in our class that night and everyone was super friendly. And as usual, we were among the last ones to leave. It happens at home and it happens elsewhere, too, I guess. =)
Let me encourage you to attend church services while you're on vacation, if you don't already. I know it's not always easy to find one and it's not always easy to walk into a building you're unfamiliar with, but it's worth it. And by "worth it," I mean that you are showing God that you think He is important...that you think He is more important than relaxation, than food, than an event. And that's always worth it - whether you are on vacation or not.