If your friendships have become virtual, it may be time to reconnect with your gal pals in-person. The girlfriend getaway: It’s synonymous with shopping, lounging in your pj’s, wine or cocktails, great food and maybe some time at the spa. What you won’t find on a girlfriend getaway? Husbands, significant others and children. A well-executed girlfriend getaway lets one recharge their batteries and return to the real world a better person. It might be a weekend-long bachelorette party, reuniting the girls from college, or just work-weary moms needing a change in scenery. But the best reason to plan a girlfriend getaway soon? No reason at all.
Jamie Virkler, owner of Turtle Landing Retreat in Fulton, NY, recognizes that she herself is a better wife and mother after taking brief retreats with her girlfriends. This realization inspired her to open the retreat, a contemporary refuge surrounded by nature on the banks of the Oswego River, in October of 2010. While the house was designed with scrapbooking groups in mind, you don’t have to be a crafter to enjoy all that Turtle Landing has to offer. The retreat house, which sleeps 19 in super-fun themed rooms, is ideal for a girlfriend getaway and has garnered rave reviews from first-time and repeat guests. Rent the entire house for the weekend, including the fabulous outdoor spaces, and let Jamie take care of everything including the gourmet meals the retreat has become known for.
45 minutes southwest of Syracuse, the picturesque town of Skaneateles offers boutiques, gourmet and casual dining, and plenty of places for you and your girlfriends to call home for a night or two within every budget. The cool, deep waters of Skaneateles Lake abound with water activities. The Monet-inspired Mirbeau Inn & Spa, named to prominent award lists from top travel publications, has everything a girl could want for a getaway: a world-class spa, state-of-the-art fitness center, luxury accommodations, cooking classes, wine seminars, and unique dining experiences spread out over 12 acres. Periodic specialty programs focus on health, wellness, spa, culinary and wine experiences.
Speaking of wine, a vino-tasting weekend in the Finger Lakes Region is the perfect setting to reconnect with friends. For a hassle-free and safe approach, hire a tour company to take care of all the details. Take a vineyard tour, taste some world-class wines at over 100 unique vineyards and be driven around the lakes in style. At days end, hang your hat at one of the cozy bed and breakfasts or country inns. La Tourelle Resort & Spa in Ithaca makes an excellent home base for your weekend in wine country, and they’ll customize a girlfriend getaway to your liking.
For a savvy planning guide, consider “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Girlfriend Getaways,” by Lisa Kasanicky. This seasoned travel and spa expert guides you to more than 70 destinations throughout the United States and Canada including where to stay, where to eat and what to do. Each chapter has a theme — shopping, adventure trips, volunteer vacations, cultural excursions and of course spas — so that you can skip right to the type of destination you want and start planning your getaway.
Here are seven steps to planning a great girlfriend’s weekend that will be relaxing, refreshing and fun:
Step 1 – Select a date. This may be the toughest step of all with multiple friends who have many commitments.
Step 2 – Set a budget.
Step 3 – Where will you go? Location. Location. Location.
Step 4 – Select your activities. Or plan to do absolutely nothing and don’t feel a bit guilty about it!
Step 5 – Make reservations: Transportation, accommodations, dining, spa treatments and activities. If you’re more spontaneous, skip this step and let the wind take you!
Step 6 – Manage expectations and iron out final details.
Step 7 – Have a great time!