I always get a little nostalgic this time of year when the chill creeps into the air and I break out all my favorite sweaters. I notice the time passing faster as we gear up for the holidays, and I always look forward to connecting with old friends. My friendships are what ground me, remind me of who I am and how I got here, and every autumn I make it a priority to sneak away for a girls’ weekend. The tradition started with my college roommates back in 1990, and we’ve rarely missed a year. We relax, share pictures of our kids and recipes we love, and generally behave a lot like we did when we first met: Silly, free, and with zero responsibilities for a full 48 hours. I so love my (brief) time away that it's become a tradition with my city friends too. Next month I get to hide out at my friend Erin’s country house, take long walks, chat and make big meal together before I happily return to reality. It doesn’t matter where it happens, really, but there’s a short checklist to guarantee a successful gathering: your best buds, easy access to an airport or train station for anyone coming in from out of town, great food, plenty of wine, and of course a spa is a bonus. Here are some of our favorite girls-getaway spots around the country: Sagewater Spa Desert Hot Springs, CA With fewer than 10 rooms, a hot spring-fed spa and pool, in-room massages, private yoga and Palm Springs nightlife nearby (that is, if you ever want to leave), this minimal-but-cozy spot is perfect for re-connecting with old friends. sagewaterspa.com Salamander Resort in Spa Middleburg, VA This gorgeous new property in horse country near D.C. was the ideal spot for us to check in and completely check out. Get a massage, take a long walk in the countryside, have a great meal together. I spent my last college roommate weekend there and it's gorgeous! www.salamanderresort.com Four Seasons Encantado Santa Fe, NM Tons of shopping, unreal food, great art galleries, killer margaritas: Santa Fe is the perfect spot for a weekend away with friends. But between the fantastic restaurant, the serene spa, and the hiking trails on the property, you may never want to leave Encantado at all. www.fourseasons.com/santafe Nemacolin Woodlands Resort Farmington, PA Who would think that one of the most luxurious spas in the country is located on a 2,000 rural acre property near Pittsburgh? But trust us, it's there! This sprawling resort has it all, including a hilarious tavern-style bar called Diamond Lil's that's super fun. www.nemacolin.com
Of course a weekend away with girlfriends is rejuvenating but nothing better coming home Sunday night to my family that I love so dearly.