This time last week I was driving home from living the life of riley for five days in Georgia away from my guys. Part of my trip was for work but the other half was pure pleasure in attending the very first Go Savor Culinary Retreat in Savannah, GA. Go Savor is the ingenious collaboration between three of the sweetest most talented ladies that I know, Amy with She Wears Many Hats, Robyn of Add A Pinch and Deb of Smith Bites. Their idea is to have a site that showcases delicious recipes, ideas for adventurous travel destinations and the inside scoop on local haunts where you can indulge your appetite for scrumptious food. They also took this creative idea one step further by incorporating relaxing, indulgent culinary retreats.
Photo courtesy of Luxury Living Savannah
You may be thinking that this was a packed conference room, session filled blogger event on a smaller scale but you would be mistaken. This was an informal gathering which also happened to include a few understanding husbands. Another pleasant difference would be that most of us were able to stay on location at the elaborate, historic Wedding Cake Mansion. We laughed, we cooked, we bonded…this was in every sense of the word a retreat and I can honestly say that I have not been pampered so in ages. This trip paused time, dusted off my creative side and was a much needed deep breath of fresh air. To come away from a weekend feeling rejuvenated, embraced and pampered takes a level of care that is innate and unsurpassed. Amy, Robyn and Deb managed that and then some.
The weekend began with an in depth tour of Savannah Bee Company located on Wilmington Island, GA. There was a taste test set up for us which included each variety of their golden delicious honey. They shared with us everything that goes into making honey from the types of flowers for each flavor offered to bottling, processing and shipping. We were even allowed an up-close and personal experience with the bees. I was enticed by bee keeping before the tour, now I am enthralled by the notion. All I have to do now is convince my surfer that we can fit bee keeping into our busy schedules. I purchased some of their Specialty Honey as a bribe, I encourage y’all to try the Black Sage because it is like nothing you have ever tasted before. The folks at Savannah Bee Company are so gracious that if you ever have a question about bees, don’ t hesitate to give them a call.
After an evening of mingling and meeting one another over an amazing meal of Coq au Vin we awoke to the aromas of bacon frying, coffee brewing and breakfast already underway, now that’s what I call bliss y’all. There was every fixin’ imaginable to make our own individual breakfast casseroles in mini Lodge Cast Iron pans, including Robyn’s very own farm fresh eggs. Deb made some amazing biscuits and there were even doughnut muffins provided by Cheryl Day of Back in the Day Bakery, I am still craving those decadent little wonders. If you’re ever in Savannah you must stop by, grab a treat and say hello to Cheryl. She and her husband Griff are as sweet and unique as their confections. I loved getting the chance to meet both of them.
Once breakfast wrapped up we had the privilege of learning some more about photography from Helen Dujardin of Tartelette. The night before she and her charming husband Bill McSweeny, showed us the value of photographing with ambient light and the lost art of flash photography. During our morning session she went over with us different camera positions, tethering to our laptops and how to utilize natural light. At the same time Tami Hardeman of Running with Tweezers demonstrated for us her talent with food styling. She took the same ingredients that we had used earlier to make our breakfast dish and created the edible piece of art that you see. Remember John Wayne’s “Walk softly and carry a Big Stick“? Tami is the same but with a big pair of tweezers, hence the name. Both women shared their talents so eloquently that you walked away feeling like you had learned a semesters worth of knowledge in just under an hour.
When you put Helen, Bill and Tami in a room you get magic and an endless supply of infectious laughter. It was such a pleasure to meet the three of them and I can not wait until we get together again, hopefully sooner rather than later. Someone to be included in that sphere of joy would be my roomie Paula of bell’alimento. She is a riot and kept us all in stitches during the weekend. She is also the type of woman who will hike the city with you in heels and through questionable neighborhoods in the pursuit of baked goods. On that walk we took a kazillion photos but I thought you guys would appreciate it if I only shared about half.
Old sprawling oaks, men in pink seersucker and enchanting architectural details.
Timeless historic brick buildings and beloved Savannah accents.
Fun times swinging around in Forsythe Park. Paula kept me moving or you might have seen me up there.
Forsythe Park fountain green for their Saint Patrick’s week long celebration and rainbows for the luck of the Irish.
Follow me honey, we’re off to get married. Alright baby, I’m with you.
After tooling around Savannah for the afternoon and loosing part of my heart to it, we all gathered back together at the house for one of my favorite dishes of all time, Low Country Boil and something that has M1 drooling, envious and begging for a trip to meet Cheryl… S’more Pie. During our last dinner together I had a chance to get to know Julie of The Little Kitchen some more. Her enthusiasm for food, blogging and all things techno savvy are infectious. I was also able to chat more with a Twitter buddy Gwen of Bunkycooks and give her some ideas for when she and her husband eventually head over to Ireland. During this trip I also discovered where my curls went. They ran off to Chris of Mele Cotte. I can understand why. She’s funny, loveable and talented. I did ask her if she would consider giving them back but she declined. I plan on bribing her with cheesecake the next time we get together.
Photo courtesy of Bill McSweeny
All joking aside this was an exceptional weekend of food and friendship that I will carry with me always. Go Savor is aptly named because there is nothing better than going forth and immersing yourself in all that life has to offer. My hope for you all is that you take the moments presented to you whether they be big or small to savor each and every joyous adventure offered.
All my love to Amy, Robyn, Deb and their wonderful husbands for creating a home away from home for us all to long for wistfully. Abundant hugs and laughter for my new buddies Cheryl, Chris, Gwen, Helen, Julie, Paula and Tami. May we all gather around the dinner table soon.
Hugs and Kisses,
PS: Thanks to all of the sponsors for being so generous!! Y’all are incredible and delicious.