Ladies Re-Treat Family / The Good Life / Travel

A “Girls’ Getaway” is the perfect way for women in groups large or small, to reconnect, re-inspire and renew all the reasons they formed that special bond in the first place.

You don’t need to travel far from Mississauga to find an escape for body, mind, and soul from the stresses of everyday life. Luckily there is a great selection of unique and fabulous experiences to choose from, all within a few hours’ drive of the hustle and bustle of the city.

Hockley Valley:
793522 Mono 3rd Line, R.R. #1, Orangeville
– approximately 1 hour from Mississauga)

“We’re definitely food focused,” said President and General Manager John Paul Adamo as he welcomed me in the newly refurbished lobby of the beautiful Hockley Valley Resort. As we walked past the surprising, glass walled, on-site curing room, and meandered between the private dining room, the fabulous Babbo Restaurant, and the intimate table for two available in the wine cellar, the commitment to providing a sensory experience was obvious.

“We have a two acre garden, and 85-90% of our Chef’s Menu is coming from that garden” he explained. I visited Hockley on a mini-break with my teenage daughter, where we enjoyed an afternoon at the spa (massages, pedicures, maybe even a spray tan), and then settled in to the Chef’s Table, located directly in the kitchen, where a “Faith based” menu awaited us. We had faith the food would be amazing, and it was. “We do faith menus for groups of women all the time”, said Adamo. “They are invited to stroll through the garden and pick their own vegetables, which are given to Chef Daniel, who prepares a specialized meal with them, for them.” Music is also a focus at Hockley, with jazz performances in the lounge, and in the summer time their Outdoor heatre Nights have been a big success. The saltwater pool and links-style golf course round out a great getaway experience for almost all the women in your life, teen or older. Visit www.hockley.com for details on events and special packages.

The Briars:
55 Hedge Road, RR 1, Jackson’s Pt.,
– approximately 90 minutes from Mississauga, on Lake Simcoe

“Girls Getaways love The Briars”, says general manager Hugh Sibbald. “It’s easy to get to, and has the warm feeling of a country inn, with the great activities of a full resort.” The full service spa provides everything from skin care, to body therapies and holistic treatments; every girl on your getaway list will find something to reinvigorate and inspire her. For the more active of friends, there’s plenty to do.

“The range of activities is great.” enthuses Sibbald. “Weekends include yoga, guided walks, golf, boating, and during holidays and summer there is a full recreation program daily.” They find that many of the women they host like to stay over on a Saturday night and they have discovered (aha!), that “girls love to dance!” With a choice of lakefront cottages, (two bedroom and, thinking of women, two bathrooms) which have a deck on the water, up to the private lodges which can host large groups (seven to 10 bedrooms/bathrooms). “And a big living room…so they can talk all night.” Sounds good. Visit www.thebriars.ca for a full schedule and rate information.

Inn on the Twenty:
3845 Main Street, Jordan,
just over an hour from Mississauga

Nestled in the tiny Niagara wine region, the town of Jordan houses one of the areas nicest Girls’ Getaway inns. “Jordan has the advantage of being a delightful small village with such girlfriend friendly businesses as Beauty Safari, a high end toiletries store with products you cannot find in the mall; three women’s clothing boutiques; an antique market; a gardening store and a couple of galleries.” says Helen Young, Innkeeper, at the Inn on the Twenty. The Spa on the Twenty is adjacent to the inn in a century home.

“It is an intimate spot where even a small group of friends can almost have the spa to themselves.” says Young. “We have two body treatment rooms; two aesthetics rooms and a dual station manicure room; two pedicure rooms with plumbed in whirlpool foot tubs. The relaxation area is ideal for a group of four to six to lounge on our chairs and sofas by the fire or sit down to a spa luncheon”.

After all the pampering, many of the women here are interested in glamming up for an evening dinner at acclaimed restaurant On the Twenty.

“We have a private makeup room in the inn where women can be taught how to apply makeup in a group environment.” explains Young. While normally used for wedding parties, the makeup room is ideal for a group of girlfriends to chat and learn. Visit www.innonthetwenty.com for more information.

Stratford:
Under two hours from Mississauga

For a different type of Girls Getaway, the town of Stratford offers more than just some of the best Shakespeare theatre in North America, although attending at least one play practically mandatory when visiting. Ann Swerdfager, Publicity Director for the Stratford Shakespeare Festival shares her recommendation: “Since it’s all about the girls, The Merry Wives of Windsor is a must-see because the women come out on top. We jokingly call it The Merry Housewives of Windsor.”

After the theatre, Swerdfager paints a picture of a perfect Girls Getaway trip.

“I’d arrange to stay at The Three Houses, which has gorgeous rooms and a lovely pool. Plus it’s a stone’s throw from downtown, so it’s not too far to cart home all your purchases.” she explains logically. “I’d also recommend Fosters, Bentley’s/The Annex or Mercer Hall, all of which are small inns downtown.” With plenty of styles of accommodation to choose from, the shopping choices are equally as varied.

“I’d shop for clothes and accessories at Dana Nicole, The Wardrobe, Resonance, The Dressing Room and The Greenroom.”, says Swerdfager, and she recommends shopping for the home at Bradshaw’s, Lauren Whitney, Anything Grows and Kitchen Connoisseur. Most Moms can’t help but think of their kids just a little bit while they’re away, and while you might not want to let them know you’ve been in Justin Bieber’s hometown (and you didn’t take them!), Swerdfager notes there are many great shops for the younger crowd as well, including Pumpkin Patch (clothes) and Family & Co. (toys and games). Plays, shopping, walking…and now, time to eat.

“I’d eat at Bijou when I wanted to splurge. I’d share a pizza at Pazzo and have one of their Farmers Martinis – the cocktail selection is great! I’d hang out at Down the Street after a show and star-gaze; and I’d probably have lunch or dinner there too. Ditto Fosters, which is also great for brunch – you have to do both in order to see all the actors, who divide their time between the two bars.”

For more information, visit www.stratfordfestival.ca or www.visitstratford.ca. GL

 

This article first appeared in The Good Life and can be found at this link: http://www.goodlifemississauga.com/109-gl-2011/ladies_retreat114.html


Kathy Buckworth is a writer, personality and host who lives in Toronto, Canada. She is a major press contributor, the author of 6 books, and is an international travel writer.

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