Moms away: Girls weekends a trend among millenials; here's where to go – The Journal News

When Cara Birnbaum’s girlfriends suggested a trip to Kripalu, a yoga retreat in the Berkshires, she was in — but not for the mindful exercise.
“I’m not even a yoga person,” admits the social worker and mom of two from Montclair, New Jersey. But heading into the Berkshire hills with three friends she had bonded with through their kids’ preschool was a no-brainer.
“Getting away with moms of young kids has a thrilling, jailbreak mentality,” Cara says. “Even the drive up, with a stop for Mexican food, was a blast.”
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At Kripalu, they were mindful-ish.
They tried to not giggle during silent meditation and exchanged knowing looks when a woman loudly complained because the center only offered ONE brand of gluten-free bread. They gleefully joined in the famous “noon dance,” in which you look deeply into a stranger’s eyes and chant: “I love my belly! I love my butt!”
Later, over big glasses of wine, they swapped notes, Cara recalls. “I asked my friends, ‘Did you notice the leaves on that hike? So. Many. Colors.’ I sounded like I was on something, but they got it:  We all had kids, and I’m not sure when we’d had the time and energy to notice this stuff, which seemed almost psychedelically beautiful.”
They liked their “transcendence with snark” weekend so much, they’ve repeated it two times.
Whether you long for quiet conversation or a reminder that you used to be fun, a girlfriend getaway gets the job done.
“Women in general, moms included, are traveling more together,” says Anne Dimon, founder/president of and president of the Wellness Tourism Association.  “One reason is that over the last decade or so there has been a huge movement that finds individuals becoming the drivers of our own personal health and happiness.”
Kara Corridan, an editor and mom of two girls in Springfield, New Jersey, swears by the mental health benefits of an annual trip with college friends she has known for almost 25 years. “I had a triple dorm room with these ‘girls’ at Penn State so it’s always so surreal and comforting to wake up in the same room as them again,” she says.
She has her trip down to a science.
They go in January or February so they “have something to look forward to in the dead of winter.”
They pick a destination that is no more than three hours from any one of them by car. Once there, they head straight to the spa for one treatment.
 “Then we go back to the hotel and start drinking and eating cheese and crackers and nuts,” Corridan says. “Around 7 of us tears ourselves away to be the first to shower before dinner, and because we’re buzzed and we’ve been grazing, we’re never even really that hungry, but we always pick a good place.”
Next day the friends do brunch and go their separate ways. “Our getaway is usually only about 24 hours long including travel time, but I swear it’s so restorative and fun,” Corridan says. “This also makes it harder for spouses and kids to complain. It’s 24 friggin hours.”
Do you think your family simply can’t function without you?
Darlene Fiske, an Austin-based mom of one and publicist specializing in luxury travel, learned her husband can roll with a lot when all hell broke loose while she was away with the ladies. ”You’ve got to be married to a guy who doesn’t lose his cool when mom is out of town and their child gets lice or breaks his tibia and fibula in a skateboarding accident — both true stories!”
Fiske knows some moms who find it less stressful to drop the kids off at a favorite aunt or grandma’s house. That way, the kiddos get their own retreat, your hubby gets a staycation, and, she says, “everyone has had a restful few days.” (Well, except for grandma.)
While spas — with their cucumber water around every bend — are always popular, some women crave more rocking adventures.
After her divorce, Cynthia Calamari, who is a mom of a teen son and co-owner of mf3 Megaformer studio in Larchmont, started connecting on Facebook with fans of her favorite bands like Pearl Jam.
“When Pearl Jam announces a tour, we connect via Facebook groups and plot our plans. We pick our cities, buy tickets, book hotels. On the off days when there isn’t a show we have brunch and explore the cities. We are eternally grateful for the band that brought like-minded people together.”
No matter the destination, many women say that the chance to get away from the daily grind and have long, deep conversations is a real draw.
Mom of two Melissa O’Neil Gunning of Alameda, California, goes on a yearly trip with old friends for that reason.
“You can be 100 percent real about what’s happening in your life in a way you can’t on long distance or on a call with kids needing a ride,” she says. “Friends for that long are the ONLY ones who can listen to you and then ask, ‘Are you sure that’s really what you want?’”
You’d get an amen from Laura Himmelein, a mom of two who is an event designer in Maplewood, New Jersey. She and a close friend give each other the same gift every year: a weekend together. “One gives the room and the other gives a spa massage (for both of us),” she says. “It’s truly the best gift ever. We shop/browse, stroll, gallery gaze, eat, and drink. As we say, ‘it fills us up’ so we can go home and love our kids and husbands again.”
Need inspiration? Here is a short list of fun destinations.
Mohonk Mountain House
This historic hotel in Ulter County is an outdoors-lovers’ paradise, with skating and cross country skiing in winter and hiking and fishing in summer. Yoga is huge, but lately “tomahawk throwing and archery are popular with groups of women,” says Lauren Peress, the director of marketing at Mohonk. Packages include Wine Tasting Weekend, Yoga Weekend, and a Girlfriends Getaway.
Book it: Variety of packages are available and include meals;
REI Adventures: Baja California Women’s Adventure
The outdoor gear company REI runs adventure trips, including ones geared to women. This one includes surfing, hiking, and farm-to-table eats. Other trips take you and your pals hiking National Parks, kayaking in the Northwest, and mountain biking in Whistler.
Book it:
Lambertville Station
Laura Himmelein recommends this boutique hotel over the many B&Bs in the Bucks County area because you can book a room with two doubles. “B&B’s give me social anxiety,” says Himmelein. Lambertville offers great restaurants, cute shops, art galleries, and did we mention cute shops?
Book it: 11 Bridge St, Lambertville, New Jersey, 609-397-4400,
Red Mountain Spa
Red Mountain Resort is set in the spectacular red rocks of Southern Utah. You can take your pick of hiking, wellness sessions that range from traditional (nutrition assessment) to wacky (past life regression anyone?).  Bonus: It’s an easy jaunt to Zion National Park.Book it:  1275 E. Red Mountain Circle, St. George, Utah,  877-246-4453,
Any Kimpton, NYC
How about this for paradise? Hit a concert/show/ballet with your besties and crash. Then brunch forever and ever. There are Kimptons in Chelsea, Hell’s Kitchen, and in the Theater District to give you that NYC hip factor without the obscene price tag.
Book it:



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