4 Things I Wish I’d Known About The Paula Deen Tour
It’s our last day in Savannah which makes me unutterably sad as this is a lovely and elegant town with so many amazing places to see and eat. You can see where my priorities lie. We booked this trip a couple of months ago and got a package deal for the Paula Deen Tour through our hotel. We picked Sunday for no particular reason other than thinking it would be a nice thing to do our last day here to be followed up by a lovely dinner out in the evening following the tour.
There wasn’t an enormous amount of information about the tour online–just that you get to see Paula’s Savannah, have lunch at Uncle Bubba’s Oyster House (her brother’s restaurant), and that the tour ticket enables you to get preferred seating at The Lady and Sons. There were a number of things that we didn’t find out because we booked through the hotel rather than directly through Old Savannah Tours (though we looked at all of their stuff online prior to booking). So here’s what I wish I’d known, just so we could have planned our day better.
- The advertisement on the Old Savannah website says “Join us for this exclusive tour, which includes a bag of goodies and lunch at Uncle Bubba’s Oyster House.” Sounds like everybody who signs up for the tour gets a bag of goodies, right? Not the case. There is a raffle based on ticket number for a SINGLE bag of goodies, which included a cookbook, signed picture, some butt rub (we assume for a Boston butt), and a few coupons for local merchants. Sadly, we didn’t win.
- Our hotel told us that the tour began when they picked us up at the hotel around 9 and ended around 4:30. So we went prepared for a loooooong day of touring. What was ACTUALLY the case (and I’m sure the tour company would have been far more clear on this), is that a shuttle bus picked us up for the tour around 9, took us into Savannah to their headquarters, where we switched over to a trolley for the remainder of the tour, which finished up about 12:40 after lunch at Uncle Bubba’s, leaving us stranded to walk all over the historic district unless we chose to spend another $40 for the pair of us to get the right to ride on the trolley system off and on as much as we wanted. If we had it to do over, we would have simply parked at the trolley headquarters (there’s free parking for passengers) so that we had access to our car and could have done our own thing without having to watch the clock to make sure we got back in time to ride the shuttle back to the hotel. It also would have been nice to move the car to one of the parking garages elsewhere in the historic district that would have been mor central to our ramblings.
- The Lady and Sons closes at 5 PM on Sunday. This was an ENORMOUS shock to us. We were expecting that it would be open through dinner like every other restaurant everywhere. We’d planned to come BACK to the hotel after an afternoon of walking and sweating, clean up, and go back for a nice dinner. Not the case. So we wound up calling during the tour to exercise our preferred seating priviledges and getting a 3 o’clock reservation. I should mention again that we JUST ate lunch at Uncle Bubba’s at about 11:30. Do yourself a favor and book your tour earlier in your visit, do that on one day, and call to book your reservation to The Lady and Sons another. That is simply too much fabulous southern cooking for one stomach to handle in a single day, let alone within a 4 hour period. I’ve been feeling like the Hindenberg all afternoon.
- While the tour takes you through much of the Historic District, you won’t have any opportunity to take pictures or hear a whole lot about it, so if you’re looking for that, I’d take one of the historic walking tours. And be SURE to wear good walking shoes–hubby got blisters.
That having been said, the tour was a whole lot of fun. I really enjoy Paula’s story and loved hearing about how she and Michael met (through her dogs actually). Uncle Bubba’s had excellent seafood and a lovely atmosphere. On the buffet provided for the tour we had fried swai (a local fish), black-eyed peas, mac and cheese, jambalaya, low country boil, grilled oysters (I can’t get past the texture), and peach cobbler. I got to see where Paula’s Party was filmed and the Throwdown she did with Bobby Flay over Chicken Fried Steak (of course she won) which was the thing that inspired this trip to begin with.
The Lady and Sons itself was very classy in a comfortable old south kind of way. They had a huge buffet and fantastic sweet tea (I’d expect no less from the First Lady of Southern Cooking). Naturally, we didn’t see anybody interesting like Paula or any of her family, but the food was top notch. I think there was an entire stick of butter in the serving and a half of mashed potatoes I had. OMG. So good. I had fried chicken, baked chicken, beef stew (or shredded pot roast?), mashed potatoes, lima beans, green beans, saffron rice, cream corn, a johnny cake, a cheddar and chive biscuit, and some kind of oreo gooey cake that was one of the richest things I’ve ever put in my mouth. To commemorate the trip, I bought a Paula Deen t-shirt in the gift shop that says “Tastes Like Butter.” I figured it was appropriate.
Anyway, Savannah has been awesome and has earned a place on our list of places we might like to live. We certainly ate at other places while we were here, and I’ll be writing up my thoughts on all of those experiences later this week.