By Gretta Monahan
About this time every year, I start to crave that ultra-wonderful of all summertime traditions: the girls-only weekend getaway. There’s simply nothing more freeing and fun than packing up, grabbing a couple of girlfriends and hitting the road to escape reality for a few precious days.
Like most of us, my friends and I have such busy schedules that we often forget to indulge in spending time with just one another, and whenever we do, we remember how much we laugh and how wonderful our friendship is. So I always urge them to plan way ahead — as in months ahead — so we can carve out a weekend and stick to it. But that said, there’s also something kind of magical about making an impromptu decision to get out of town together. Here are some of my favorite ways to do it:
The spa stay: You never, ever have to twist my arm to spend some quality time getting pampered, but the overall awesomeness multiplies when you bring friends along. These days, resorts with world-class spas are aplenty in New England, and they’re better than ever. A favorite of mine is Winvian Farm (155 Alain White Road, Morris, Conn., 860-567-9600) in Connecticut’s gorgeous countryside. All the accommodations here are incredible, individually designed full cabins, so my girls and I have plenty of room to sprawl out and chill with some snacks and a great bottle of wine by the fireplace after a day of private yoga and hydrotherapy treatments at the 5,000-square-foot spa. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention G Spa, my own luxury spa in Connecticut, too — an oasis built into Foxwoods Resort and Casino (350 Trolley Line Boulevard, Mashantucket, Conn. 860-312-4772). We head there for a mix of the adrenaline rush of the rest of the place (I’ve got a few pals who are fans of the roulette table, and we all love the addictive Italian at Alta Strada restaurant) and the rest and relaxation at the spa. Our favorite thing to do is, after a restorative massage, have a blow out and hair styling before dinner.
The camping trip: The rise of glamping has hooked a number of girlfriends who wouldn’t normally be caught dead in the outdoors. A stay at Huttopia (57 Pine Knoll Road, Albany, N.H., 603-447-3131) in the White Mountains is perfect for us — the French company that owns it tends to your every need — with fine wines and croissants at breakfast, tents that are set up for you, cabins with private bathrooms and gas heating, and hooks you up with bed and bath linens. The camp is on a beautiful lake with a private beach, but there’s also a heated pool and tons to do (like open-air movies, craft workshops and guided nature walks).
The beach break: I can’t say enough about how much a few days on the shore with the girls always manages to raise my happiness levels for months to come. It doesn’t matter whether it’s in the Hamptons, on Cape Cod or on the southern coast of Maine — we have a blast, usually in a rented house (which keeps costs lower than a resort) and take turns cooking dinner for one another. We pack up a slew of face masks and a list of our favorite movies to stream, and plenty of sunblock and champagne. This is how life’s supposed to be.