Sorry this post is up a day late. We got back from the party late last night and I was so tired. Warning in advance, this is a long post!
Saturday was by far my favorite day of the entire trip. Of course I was excited about the dinner at Paula's, but we also did a lot of other fun things!
We started off the day by renting one of the babies!
We had a blast! It was so much easier to see downtown on this, rather than try to drive or walk in 80 degree temps plus humidity. They were brave enough to let me drive, and I am proud to say we all returned in one piece! Our first stop was a pub for lunch. The food was great and you couldn't beat the location. We were on a quaint little tree lined street and it was just perfect!
I loved this phone booth outside the pub :-)
After lunch we rode our little car over to Forsyth Park to look around. Forsyth is probably one of the most popular spots in the historic district, and for good reason. It is so beautiful! If you look close in this first picture, you can see white chairs that were set up for a wedding. Talk about a dream wedding! Not to mention the perfect weather.
Brittany has been my best friend since the 6th grade and I really do consider myself an honorary member of the Fink family. I love Michelle and call her my "mama Fink" so we thought it would be cute to take a picture of the 3 of us together. It's Michelle with her 2nd and 5th daughter :) The joke is that when I get into a serious relationship, my boyfriend will have to not only ask my dad for my hand in marriage, but he will also have to ask Mike Fink. I am blessed by their friendship!
After Forsyth we headed over to Polk's produce market. I first learned about Polk's when I was in Savannah 2 summers ago and took the Paula Deen tour. When Paula was first starting her business and didn't have very much money at all, she would go to Polk's in the morning to pick up her fresh produce and then would pay them at the end of the day.
Britt, mom and me outside of Polk's.
After Polk's we stopped into the Cupcake Emporium for a cupcake! We initially thought that we would go in and get one cupcake to split 4 ways. Ha! That is laughable. We walked in and saw all those yummy cupcakes lined up in the case and each decided that we didn't want to share.
Britt with her chocolate cupcake with chocolate frosting.
I got a chocolate cupcake with a raspberry creme frosting.
After we had our cupcakes we returned our little scooter/car and drove out to Bonaventure Cemetery. We had heard several people throughout the weekend talk about how beautiful it is, so we thought we should drive out and see it. This is also where they filmed the movie Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. What made the cemetery pretty were those big live oaks with the spanish moss. It really was neat to see!
After the cemetery we drove out to the Bethesda Home for the Boys. Bethesda is Paula's favorite charity and all the proceeds from the dinner were going to Bethesda.
This is the entrance to Bethesda. It is gorgeous!
Bethesda is also where Paula and Michael got married.
We were lucky that the door to the Whitefield Chapel was open and we were able to go inside. It is really the perfect wedding chapel, and it's easy to see why Paula chose it. It is simplistic and quaint.
Britt and me up in the balcony
After Bethesda it was time to go back to the hotel and get ready for the BIG night! Obviously they didnt want (or have the room for) 200+ cars to park at Paula's home, so they had 2 pickup locations and shuttled people via trolleys out to the island.
Michelle and mom on the trolley.
Britt and me on the trolley. I was just trying not to hyperventilate at this point! I was beyond excited!
Paula and Michael recently moved into a new home, but this is the home that she still does all her filming in and is the one that is on tv. I was excited that the dinner was at the house because it is the one that I see on her cooking shows.
This is the front of the house.
Fun fact, the couple that is walking in front of us got engaged at the party. Paula called them up on the porch in front of everyone and he proposed to her. It was so wonderfully romantic!
This was the point that I really started to feel like I was in a dream. The party was out back, but we got to walk through the house and see the kitchen! I was shaking with excitement. It really did feel surreal to be standing behind that stove. And to be honest, I still don't know that it has set in that it really DID happen.
I look like a deer in headlights in this picture. I think my body was in shock.
My mom was having "house envy" and saying it was the most beautiful home she has ever seen. I would have to agree with her! This is a picture of the back.
Britt and me enjoying our mimosas complete with a strawberry garnish.
I was so excited to meet Brandon Branch! Brandon is Paula's assistant amongst other things. He is also decorator and party planner extraordinaire! I follow him on twitter and he was tweeting all week about setting up and decorating for the party. He really did an amazing job. The centerpieces were made out of cauliflower and asparagus! So neat!
This picture was taken when Paula first made her entrance. She came out onto the back porch to greet everyone and present Bethesda with a check for $100,000. Wow! I kept telling my mom that the dinner was really a win win situation for everyone. We got to have an amazing night, I got to meet someone I admire so immensely and a great charity got a huge check!
This is Uncle Bubba, Paula's brother! He was so nice and personable. He owns Uncle Bubba's Oyster House, who catered the event. The food was great!
This is a picture from Paula's dock, looking back at the house. This picture doesn't even begin to capture the atmosphere. There was a band playing great music, perfect weather, perfect lighting and perfect company. I was in heaven! I know I keep saying this, but it really didn't even feel real.
The 4 of us sitting by the water. Look at that view!
Meet Michael Groover! Michael is Paula's husband and is an absolute riot! He is so funny. I read his book a few months ago when Maria gave it to me for Christmas. It was wonderful and his sense of humor is all throughout the book.
I don't know why, but I think this picture of Michael and Michelle is so funny. They look like best buddies!
We found an open table on the back porch, this was another one of those "is this really happening??" moments.
When we first arrived to the house, they gave us a ticket with a group letter on it. Paula was inside and when they called your group letter, you could go in and get your picture taken with her in the kitchen. They had a professional photographer there taking all the pictures and will mail us our pictures in the next few weeks. I will be sure to post it when it arrives. I just hope it's a good one, because when I first walked up there I did get a little teary. I got to hug her and was overwhelmed. If you have ever read her story then you would probably agree that Paula is one of the most inspirational people you will ever hear about. Her story of overcoming tragedy and taking control of her own life is incredible. She is such a role model for me! I kept saying that I would move to Savannah in a heartbeat if I could just work for her ;-) And on top of her persevering spirit that got her to where she is today, I love that she hasn't forgotten her roots. She is so kind and loving. A lot of people in her situation could let the success go to their heads. So the fact that she has remained grounded makes her that much more inspirational. I strongly recommend reading her memoir, I promise you will not be disappointed!
I took this picture of Jamie and Bobby while I was in line waiting to get my picture with Paula. I did get a picture with them, but it is on Britt's camera because mine died right after I took this picture. I will upload it and the picture with Paula when I get ahold of them.
Words cannot begin to sum up what an amazing time I had. I am BEYOND blessed to have had the opportunity to attend an event like this. It was absolutely a dream come true.
And not only the Paula Deen event, but just spending the weekend in Savannah with 3 of the most important people in my life. I am so blessed to have a mom who loves me like she does, a best friend that I could call day or night and a Mama Fink that considers me a daughter.
Goodnight from Lexington