Thursday, September 22, 2016

SIBA -- Day 1 Thursday

Last weekend, I had the privilege to attend the SIBA (the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance)  Trade Show. Kathy, aka Bermudaonion, and I missed out on attending this year's BEA in Chicago; so when we realized that attending SIBA in September in Savannah might be possible, we made plans. I basically bought my airplane ticket and she handled the rest. She drove almost 6 hours roundtrip on Thursday to pick me up at the airport in Columbia, SC, and then take me to her family's condo in Hilton Head where we stayed for the next four nights. Then she drove another six hours to take me back to the airport on Monday. She truly is an amazing friend... and she's also a whole lot of fun!

Even though the conference wasn't in full force on Thursday, we headed to Savannah to do a little sight seeing. Kathy also drove back and forth between Hilton Head and Savannah each day -- about an hour drive. What a trooper! She also managed to stay calm as she drove over the Talmadge Bridge eight times!!! I think it's safe to say that she's not exactly comfortable with driving over a bridge that high and that steep, but she persevered! I thought the bridge was beautiful, but Kathy definitely doesn't like it. I wasn't even allowed to breathe, nevertheless talk to her, while driving over it!
Despite growing up in the South, I had never been to Savannah. It was absolutely delightful. I loved everything about it and definitely want to go back some day. Kathy and I didn't have a whole lot of time in Savannah on Thursday, but we managed to walk around the city and along the riverwalk... and catch up on everything!

One of the highlights of Thursday was eating dinner at Gryphon, the restaurant run by SCAD, the Savannah College of Art & Design. Kathy has been there a number of times and just knew I'd love it. She was right! It is a wonderful cafe that serves sandwiches and salads, and they even have tea service. We opted to get a light dinner and a pot of Tropical Green Tea. My sandwich was delicious, but I think I would have loved anything there because the restaurant itself was so charming. The building was an old pharmacy with lots of dark wood and stained glass globe lights. It's also chock full of old books. They even bring your check in an old book!
After dinner, we hopped on a trolley to attend a Beach Party on Tybee Island at Mary Kay Andrews' house hosted by St. Martin's Press. Oh my goodness was her house ever lovely! It was an older home decorated to the nines with antiques. -- see the picture on the right. It was even featured in a spread in HGTV magazine if that gives you any idea how amazing it was. I honestly can't believe how gracious she and her husband were to have all of us there. Honestly, Mary Kay Andrews is one of the kindest, most humble, authors I've ever met. I just loved her!
MKA's Beach Houses on Tybee Island

The food and drinks were amazing as well. Ms. Andrews' has a cookbook coming out next year, so all of the food and mixed drinks were recipes from her cookbook. Everything I had was delicious and so pretty. It was nice to finally meet Ms. Andrews -- I have been a big fan of hers for years -- as well as to catch up with some booksellers, publicists, and authors like Mary Alice Monroe, Ariel Lawhorn, and Mary Beth Whalen. 
Enclosed porch where food and drink were served.
After the party, the trolley returned us to Savannah where Kathy and I still had to face an hour drive back to Hilton Head. And this is where our story gets interesting -- it's always something when Kathy and I travel together. We parked in a city operated parking garage in Savannah close to the hotel where SIBA was taking place. Earlier in the day, I asked Kathy if she thought the garage would be open when we got back. My husband actually got locked into a garage a few months ago in downtown Harrisburg, so it was in the back of my mind. She kind of chuckled (I think that's the best word) and said, "Of course, not!" Well by now I'm sure you see where this is going! When we got back to our car and drove to the exit, everything was closed. And by that, I mean that big metal grate was down! We had to call security and someone came to let us out. He was none too happy and just waved us out. He probably couldn't get rid of us fast enough!

The rest of the evening was uneventful (except for the drive back across the Talmadge Bridge. By now, I knew not to say anything at all. I was pooped because I had been up since 4:00 that morning and couldn't wait to hit the sack. I knew Friday was going to be another busy day and I needed my beauty sleep!


bermudaonion said...

Thank you so much for joining me! I had a blast! The drive to Savannah each day felt like nothing since I had you to visit with.

Sarah's Book Shelves said...

Sounds like a treat! I grew up in the South too yet have never been to Savannah...even though my best friend lives there now!

Beth Hoffman said...

I'm glad you and Kathy had a blast. I laughed out loud when I read about the garage fiasco!

Stacie said...

That bridge made my hyperventilate! We had to cross the Mackinac Bridge 4 times when we stayed there and I cried each time and didn't allow anyone to talk and I wasn't even driving! I love Savannah and am so glad you could go! Can't wait to hear all about it!