Plan the ultimate girlfriends’ getaway weekend
Between caring for their families, managing their households, furthering their careers and contributing to their communities, sometimes women just need a break. And what better way to celebrate a weekend of freedom than with friends who lead the same busy lives?
Whether you’re indulging in a glass of vino, winding down with a relaxing massage or taking a walk through an unfamiliar land, a weekend with the girls may be just what you need to escape from the grind and enjoy a few days catching up with friends. Luckily, whatever your interest may be, you’ll find the perfect destination in or around Ohio.
Wine and Dine
If you’re looking to relax and reconnect, a weekend at one of Ohio’s wineries is perfect for kicking back and enjoying quality time with the gals.
Gervasi Vineyard, located in Canton, offers an idyllic escape reminiscent of the hills of Tuscany. Stay with the girls in one of the vineyard’s luxurious villas, or book individual suites for smaller parties. The vineyard offers free winery tours on the first and third Saturdays of most months, and its tasting bar provides an opportunity to sample Gervasi’s wines on-site.
For additional activities, try one of Gervasi’s culinary classes at the Cucina Culinary and Wine Education Center. Classes of various themes are offered for all skill levels, and in late March, the Cucina will feature a “chocolate weekend” in which small plates of chocolate treats will be paired with Gervasi wines to enhance each dish.
Another option is the Lakehouse Inn and Winery, located a little more than 100 miles north of Canton. Bordering Lake Erie, this winery is situated at Geneva-on-the-Lake, a small resort nestled in Ohio’s northeast corner.
“We’re in Ohio wine country, so lots of people come up to this area to go to the wineries,” says Andrea Bushweiler, innkeeper and event coordinator at Lakehouse. “Our property is a great property because we’re also in driving distance of (many) other wineries.”
Beyond its own wine tastings and tours, Lakehouse offers two weekend packages designed specifically for girlfriend getaways. Both provide overnight accommodations in a two-bedroom cottage, full breakfasts, a champagne lunch and a $50 voucher for the site’s Crosswinds Grille. The more luxurious package also includes three hours of spa services.
Bushweiler recommends choosing one of Lakehouse’s packaged getaways because they eliminate a good deal of planning – but she also recommends booking in advance, because spaces at this bed and breakfast fill up fast.
Situated around Case Western Reserve University, the University Circle is a hub of cultural activity for Cleveland visitors and residents alike.
Perhaps the biggest attractions are the museums, including those of art and natural history, along with the Cleveland Botanical Garden. If you’re wondering when to plan a visit to these museums, consider the weekend of Martin Luther King Jr. Day – that Monday, all museums will be open to the public for free.
Beyond museums, check out the area’s recently unveiled Uptown development. Included in this development are new opportunities for shopping – something women out for a girls’ weekend are sure to appreciate. The development’s clothing store, Anne van H. Boutique, offers a truly unique experience for shoppers.
“It’s a great store for women who are into fashion,” says Sheila Obrycki, director of marketing for University Circle. “(The owner) buys her clothes right from Paris. She has the latest fashions available.”
For an authentic meal, consider venturing to nearby Little Italy, where a variety of restaurants and coffee shops can be found. After your meal, hit up the Rink at Wade Oval, which will be open for free ice skating through Feb. 18. But wherever you go, know that you’re never too far from where you want to be next.
“The main thing that (visitors) should realize is how dense the area is and how walkable it is – it’s one square mile,” says Obrycki.
“Everything can be done very easily.”
For a lavish ladies’ escape, retreat to the hilltop sanctuary that is Oglebay Resort and Conference Center. Located in Wheeling, W.Va., the resort boasts 1,700 acres for guests to explore.
The West Spa in Oglebay’s Wilson Lodge offers an extensive list of spa services for guests to enjoy, regardless of how chilly the weather may be. Gather the girls for massages, facials or even the healing therapy of Thai yoga. The spa also has an area for manicures and pedicures, which Marketing Director Caren Knoyer says can be opened into one spacious room, making it perfect for larger parties.
“The manicure/pedicure room can be all one room where everybody can talk,” says Knoyer. “The spa definitely works with groups of women.”
Also in the Wilson Lodge, visitors can find a hot tub, sauna and heated indoor pool. The lodge offers an array of suite options, but women on a girls’ getaway may be more comfortable in one of the resort’s cottages. These accommodations range from two to eight bedrooms, and all offer living rooms and fully-equipped kitchens.
Southeast Ohio’s Hocking Hills is a destination that is sure to satisfy a thirst for adventure. With picturesque hiking trails, unique art galleries and scenic air tours, there’s no shortage of activities for women to explore.
Amy Weirick, spokeswoman for the Hocking Hills Tourism Association, recommends a guided group hike with a professional naturalist from Hocking Hills Adventure Trek. The interactive hikes range in distance and subject matter, and can even be tailored to the wishes of any group.
“They do some really cool hikes, and it’s perfect for a girls’ group because they customize the trip,” says Weirick. “Having a guide is really a great idea – they’ll take you to places you wouldn’t see otherwise.”
Ladies can also take advantage of the many craft lessons offered in the area. Artisans will teach groups how to create glass pieces with flame work, cook meals with natural ingredients and snap photos of nature at its finest.
While there are so many things to do at Hocking Hills, Weirick reminds ladies to sit back and enjoy the scenery. She also warns that cell phone reception is spotty in the area – but that it may really be a blessing in disguise.
“We’re moms, we’re wives, we’re workers, we’re volunteers – we’ve got 17 balls in the air,” says Weirick. “Rarely do we get to chill and be quiet and get down to earth.”
Rose Davidson is a contributing writer. Feedback welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org.