Massey enjoys trip to Savannah, Ga., meets Paula Deen

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 17, 2006

Local resident Leesa Massey, of Honoraville, recently traveled to beautiful and historic Savannah, Georgia.

Massey described the lovely city as a mixture of the old and new, which its founder, James Oglethorpe, designed and laid out in 21 squares or parks. She had photographs, which displayed the picturesque moss-covered trees and the magnificence of the architectural structure of the Roman Catholic St. John the Baptist Cathedral.

Massey was fortunate to experience the flavor of the city first-hand, and her eyes sparkled as she discussed each part of this memorable trip.

From Chippewa Square, where Forrest Gump rested on a park bench, to Colonial Park Cemetery, where nightly &#8220ghost” tours ensue, Massey experienced the authentic flavor of the Savannah as she and her traveling companions, Jerri and Sherri McInvale of Georgiana, took in the sights as they tread along cobblestone streets and viewed the city via trolley upon departing their lodgings each morning from the historic Garden Hotel.

Massey reminisced of riverfront warehouses, trellis covered stairways leading to town homes, and restaurants such as Mrs. Wilke's Boardinghouse, where guests enter in groups of eight to ten and southern cuisine is served in the traditional boardinghouse style as guests pass the delectable food ‘round the table' and are politely requested to take their used eating utensils to the kitchen upon finishing their delicious fare, just as boardinghouse guests did years ago.

However, according to Massey, &#8220The highlight of our trip was the day spent visiting with the vibrant and vivacious Paula Deen, who shared memories and much spirited conversation with the guests as she, her brother, Bubba, and son, Jamie, greeted and conversed with us at Uncle Bubba's Oyster House. This restaurant is the setting for the day-long cooking school which Paula conducts with southern charm and hospitality.”

Massey said, &#8220I particularly enjoyed presenting Ms. Deen with a pair of custom-made fuchsia and black flip-flops monogrammed with the words ‘Hey Ya'll,' Paula's signature greeting to viewers of her food network cooking show. Since my niece made this unique gift, I was thrilled that Paula was so taken with them that she displayed them on the kitchen counter during the entire day!”

As &#8220Paula” conversed with each guest, she and brother Bubba prepared red rice, watermelon salad, crab cakes, and Ms. Massey's favorite, raspberry torte.

Massey was impressed with the congenial and genuine way that &#8220Paula” socialized with her guests as she taught them to prepare scrumptious southern fare. At one point, the famous Paula (upon request) passed a sparkling 4.5 carat diamond ring around so that visitors could try it on for size.

In sharing recipes, this talented southern entrepreneur also shared her inspirational &#8220rags to riches” life story with her enthralled audience.

Their final night in Savannah, Massey and companions dined at the famous Lady and Sons Restaurant, where they feasted upon southern cuisine &#8220Paula” style.

The setting for this eatery is a converted warehouse where the dining area encompasses the first floor, and the second floor is used for the kitchen and office. Massey opted for the buffet, and selected pineapple cake with pineapple cream cheese frosting as dessert. For those with a sweet tooth, this must be dessert heaven, for a different dessert is served every hour!

Their final stop along the journey was a visit to a peach plantation where fresh Georgia peaches hung among rows and rows of trees. After all, Georgia is the Peach State! Homemade peach ice cream was served. A tour of this plantation brought back memories of another time and era, and added a fitting ending to their tour as they continued their journey through crepe myrtles and welcoming moss-draped pathways as they bittersweetly returned home.

According to Ms. Massey, an avid cook and Paula Deen fan, this trip was enjoyed immensely. In fact, she is thinking of taking her nieces to visit Savannah and experience its charming ambience next summer. Of course a visit to Paula would be first on this traveling itinerary, and it seems that plans may be already in the making.

Since two of her nieces are my daughters, Alison and Leanne, I wonder if mothers' of said nieces may be invited to tag along? Hope springs eternal! To quote the famous Ms. Deen, &#8220Bye, Ya'll.”