Sunday, June 12, 2011

Hospitality, Paula Deen Style

As anyone who has read my blog for very long knows, I love Savannah, Georgia. We just went there in March for a spring vacation with our son who was on break from college. Some of you also know that my husband surprised me by making reservations for us at Paula Deen’s personal beach house. And as unbelievable as that sounds, it’s true. She has a couple of beach houses on Tybee Island (just outside Savannah), and this one is advertised as “Paula’s personal beach house” and is marketed with Mermaid Cottages. We had visited Tybee Island before, but had previously stayed at the Hyatt on River Street and at the Hamilton Turner Bed & Breakfast in Savannah. We highly recommend both of those, but this time decided to try something different, so Ken made reservations at this beach house.

So, regarding our recent stay, here are the questions I have received:
1. Did you really stay at Paula Deen’s personal beach house?
2. Do you guys know Paula?
No. We all did meet her a few years ago when I attended one of her cooking classes. This was before Paula was the mega-media presence she is today. (Just for the record, I am a Paula FAN but not a groupie who follows her from place to place - a fan but not a fanatic.) At that time she held cooking classes, in both her restaurant and Uncle Bubba’s, her brother’s restaurant. The one I attended was at Uncle Bubba’s. To read about that adventure, please check out this blog entry:
3. Did you have to pay to stay there?
Uh, yep. We were fortunate that it was officially “off season” (the first time EVER we have rented a beach house off season!), and they do offer discounts. If you 're interested, be sure to ask when you call them. Anyone who has rented a beach house knows it’s not cheap. It was very comparable to others in the area, though.
4. What did the house look like? How was it decorated? Did you take pictures?
The house was beautiful, but not austentacious. It was decorated in her home furnishings collection and was complete with her line of cookware, dishes, and other things that I did not even know she endorses. There were dozens of family photographs adorning the walls and shelves. Anyone who has watched Paula for even a couple of episodes would recognize many in the photos. I am including some pictures we took during our week there.
5. Would you stay there again?
In a heartbeat! It was a wonderful location – close to the beach and not far from Savannah, my favorite place in the world. I would have to say, though, that the customer service and attention we received from Mermaid Cottages was unsurpassed. We have rented several beach houses through the years along the Outer Banks and never received service as good as what we received from them.
This photo was taken the day of the class. If you’re interested, you can read about that on the 9/9/09 posting on my blog. Here is the address (you'll probably have to cut and paste it into your browser):

But our trip this past March was a quickly planned trip to enjoy time with our son while he was on his spring break. Matthew wanted a place where he could walk on the beach but still have plenty of other things to do nearby. Naturally, we thought of Savannah (ok, I thought of Savannah!). So, Ken made accommodations and we were all delighted with them. The house was called, “Y’all Come Inn.” Now I ask you, how appropriate is that?! It was beautifully decorated and filled with lots of family photos and personal items. Paula’s cookware, dishes and home furnishing lines were well represented, too. It really was lovely. There were lots of small welcome gifts as well as a lot of varieties of sauces, spices and Captain Michael’s Coffee, as well. I was especially pleased with all the “little things” they provided. We have rented several beach houses through the years and this one was by far the best equipped. Part of the package also included a personalized cookbook.
The very best part, though, was that VIP reservations were made for us at both The Lady & Sons (Paula’s restaurant) and Uncle Bubba’s (her brother’s seafood restaurant). If you have been to The Lady & Sons or know someone who has, you are well aware that reservations are unheard of there. I’m not sure how it’s done now, but we when were first there several years ago, you had to stand in line to get a time to come back to stand in line a shorter time to get your table. I kid you not! And the first two times we went were in August and my sweet husband stood in that hot sun to get dinner times for us. At that time they formed reservation lines twice daily: one in the morning for lunch and then one later in the day for supper. People started standing in line hours before they started giving dining times, so it was not uncommon to stand there for 1-3 hours, just to get a time to go back and wait to get in. Crazy stuff, I’m telling ya! But….that all changed with this last visit. We were given reservations as often as we wanted in the week at both restaurants.
That was all due to my thoughtful husband.

And the food was wonderful. It’s like the food I was raised on and still make - the good, stick-to-your-ribs, country cooking. Fried chicken that melts in your mouth, green beans with ham and new potatoes, barbeque pork ribs, homemade dressing, macaroni and cheese, hoe cakes and cheese biscuits and so, so much more. And this was just part of the buffet. Delicious sweet tea with a mint garnish and several desserts to choose from are also part of the buffet. You can order from a complete menu, too. I wonder, though, who would go there and NOT have the buffet? I can’t imagine!
I’ve had lots of questions about our stay at Paula’s house and about visiting Savannah. If you have questions you’d like me to answer on the blog, please write me and I’ll answer them here. Leave a comment on the blog, email me or facebook me and I’ll answer your questions if I can.

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