Great Girls' Getaways
Virginia's bounty – from beaches to bargains, from Garden Week to wine tastings, festivals and more – is more than enough to keep your group of gals going strong for weeks at a time.
Whether red-hatters or bachelorettes, old college friends, a garden club, or moms and daughters, girls traveling together just want to have fun. The Girls' Getaways combine shopping and wineries, art and entertainment, spas and some soft adventure.
Shopping, dining, wineries, history... did we mention shopping? Guess the one place in Virginia where you can go to the beach, learn yoga, go shopping, visit a day spa, eat sushi and laugh it up at a comedy club – all in one weekend. It's Virginia Beach, where oceanfront hotels face the bustling boardwalk, and Town Center, the city's new 'downtown,' off ers more than 20 upscale stores and eateries.
A day of power shopping at Leesburg Corner Premium Outlets and a limousine tour of Loudoun County wineries ends at Lansdowne Resort. Here, Food & Wine Camp teaches the secrets of pairing Virginia wines with fresh garden ingredients. After a round of golf along the Potomac River, meet the girls in the whirlpool at the zen-like Spa Minérale.
Spend the day shopping for antiques in Culpeper's historic and re-invented downtown, then dress in a feather boa, hat and gloves for afternoon tea at Tea, Lace and Roses, a Mecca for Red Hat Ladies. Let the years slip away at Spa Zen, then dine and rest at It's About Thyme, a European market downstairs with luxury suites upstairs.
Watch women artisans at work at Colonial Williamsburg or shop 'til you drop at Williamsburg's famous outlet malls. Williamsburg Winery can be your home base for it all: dine on French country fare at the Gabriel Archer Tavern, then sleep at the brand new Wedmore Place, a 28-room European-styled inn.
Hollywood meets history in our capital city of Richmond, where more than forty films and television shows have been filmed. Take a tour of filming locations and even learn some tips from a real movie make-up artist. Neighborhoods like Carytown, Shockoe Slip and The Fan offer stylish shopping and dining. Historic lodging awaits at the Jefferson Hotel, host to movie stars like Elvis, Frank Sinatra and Sir Anthony Hopkins.
Spas & Wellness
Earn that weekend of pampering by booking a resort with hiking, sailing, fishing or golf. After hiking some of Wintergreen's 30 miles of trails, nothing soothes muscles like a hot stone massage and a Mountain Mud Wrap at the ridge-top Wintergarden Spa. The Out of Bounds Adventure Park has skateboarding, rock-tower climbing, paintball, and a bungee trampoline.
A day handling lines at the Tides Inn sailing school calls for manicures and paraffin dips all around. Treatment rooms have views of your sailing route on historic Carter's Creek.
Book the Omni Homestead Resort's fly-fishing guide for a half-day on the river. Be sure to meet in the Great Hall for afternoon tea one day, then get all dressed up for an elegant dinner in the Main Dining Room.
Pick up a one-of-kind gift, meet the artist and learn how it was made at the Virginia Highlands Festival during the month of August in Abingdon. The 20-block historic district of art galleries and antique shops, drama at the Barter Theatre, and the elegant 62-room Martha Washington Inn and spa round out an idyllic girls weekend any time of year in southwest Virginia.
Warm up the winter with a pilgrimage to the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival taking place in Hampton each February. The Hampton Roads Convention Center and adjacent hotels are the base for exploring this city rich in African American history. After honing your skills in a quilting workshop, take a walking tour of the downtown waterfront, and end in the Phoebus neighborhood for cocktails at a martini bar and a performance at the restored American Theatre.
The dilemma for girlfriends in Virginia is a good one – too much to see, taste, enjoy, buy, savor and remember, and too little time to do it all on one trip. Or six!