Autumn brings a crispness to the air, brilliant blue to the sky and a myriad of warm colors to the foliage making it an ideal time to plan a girlfriend getaway. I have some girlfriends who have been part of my life’s journey for decades. We’ve seen each other through good times and bad. Those friendships deserve to be celebrated and what better way than with an autumn getaway? While some girlfriend getaways focus on shopping and wine tasting (nothing wrong with that!) others include a bit more adventure. Whatever your style, here are five girlfriend getaways to help you celebrate those special friendships.
Let's face it, if your girlfriend getaway leads you to the Deep South, there will be fried chicken, biscuits and gravy and probably some fried okra in your future. But never fear, you can walk all those delicious calories off with a stroll (or two) across the Walnut Street Bridge - the longest pedestrian bridge in the world. Erected in 1890 and standing 2,376 feet high, the Walnut Street Bridge connects the north shore of the Tennessee River to downtown Chattanooga. Time your stroll for sunset when the lights of the city begin to decorate the sky.
Head up to the top of Lookout Mountain to Point Park for spectacular views of the Chattanooga Valley below. While you're on the mountain, visit Ruby Falls. A guided tour will lead you through the cavern's amazing rock formations and to the stunning 145-foot-tall underground waterfall.
Stretching for one and a half city blocks on East Second Street, the Bluff View Art District is a historic downtown Chattanooga neighborhood. Set high above stone cliffs that afford spectacular views of the Tennessee River, the Walnut Street Bridge, and downtown Chattanooga, the area is full of art galleries, coffee shops, bed and breakfasts, courtyards and gardens.
The summer crowds have disappeared along with the hot summer days. And that window between the heat of summer and the snowy winters is filled with the warm golden, red and orange hues of fall foliage, breezy days and fewer crowds. It’s the ideal time to experience Niagara Falls, New York.
Plan on a bad hair day with a boat ride on the Maid of the Mist that takes you close enough to feel the water from the falls. For a seriously up close view, take a walk along the wooden platforms at Cave of the Winds where the thunderous water is just a few feet away. If you’re looking for some exercise, embrace nature with a challenging hike along the network of trails in the Niagara Gorge.
It may not be the most girly thing to suggest for a girlfriend getaway, but getting down and dirty on all-terrain vehicles along West Virginia's Hatfield & McCoy Trails is a blast. One of the largest of its kind in the world, the Hatfield & McCoy Trails network consists of approximately 650 miles of adrenaline inducing off road trails through the mountains of Southern West Virginia. The trails wind through nine counties with some trailheads beginning in "ATV-friendly" towns. These towns have passed ordinances allowing ATV’s to be driven on the streets. Riders are welcome, muddy boots and all, to grab a bite to eat, shop or stay in the local inns and experience true ATV hospitality.
Traditional all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) are available to rent along with the UTV - an ATV with four seats that are much like a jeep. The UTVs are easier to handle allowing a complete novice to experience the thrill of the trail without having to learn how to balance an ATV.
You’ve heard it before; Hershey, Pennsylvania is the sweetest place on earth. As home to Milton Hershey’s world renowned chocolate factory, Hershey is the place to go for chocolate lovers. But did you know you can celebrate chocolate without the additional calories at the Hotel Hershey’s Chocolate Spa? Indulge in a cocoa body wrap, cocoa massage, or even a cocoa facial. You’ll emerge from the peaceful serene spa facility refreshed and smelling sweet.
While you’re checking out the Hotel Hershey, sign up for an off-road Segway tour. You’ll get a quick lesson in balancing the Segway which has wider tires for off-roading, then you’ll tour the property before heading out into the colorful wooded trails on the resort property. The Segway tour concludes with time to ride up and down the hills on the resort property. I’ll never forget the look on my friends' faces as they barreled down the hills on their Segways at top speed: pure joy!
Let’s be honest, sometimes a girl just needs to scream which (if you're down South) means holler. If you and your girlfriends are feeling the need to scream, head to Fayetteville, North Carolina for the Worldwide Hollerin' Festival.
You know how we're always stressing the importance of communication? Well, hollerin' is considered by some to be the oldest form of communication between humans. From yodeling to hunting cries, hollerin' was used in rural communities to convey long-distance messages long before the telephone was invented.
Held annually in October, the Worldwide Hollerin' Festival showcases the best hollerin' around. The contest is divided into four categories: distress, functional, communicative and pleasure. And 80% of the proceeds from the festival are donated to Wags4Tags, an organization that matches trained shelter dogs with veterans suffering from psychological and emotional injuries. So go ahead and holler - it's for a good cause.
What’s your favorite girlfriend getaway?
Note: Available plans and coverages may have changed since this blog was published.
Terri Marshall is a New York City based freelance writer whose work includes travel, spirits, and all things chocolate. Terri's work appears in several publications. She has been a featured guest on Peter Greenberg's Worldwide Travel radio program and Denver's KZKO Radio Morning Express show. Terri will not hesitate to go to the source for great chocolate - even if that means hiking through the jungle and picking cacao pods herself.
Happiest when she's globetrotting, Terri has covered destinations all over the United States, Europe, and into Central and South America. Favorite adventures include reindeer driving in Norway and fishing for piranhas in the Amazon jungle of Peru. You can keep up with Terri's adventures on her website www.TrippingwithTerri.com. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
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