Kalin’s Chronicles: Girlfriend Getaways – Part 2

Girlfriend GetawayEditor’s Note: In her last post, Kalin introduced us to Girlfriend Getaways and shared her experiences from her most recent getaway at Birmingham’s Ross Bridge Golf Resort and Spa. In the conclusion of Girlfriend Getaways, Kalin talks food, painting parties and of course, shopping.

The next day we did breakfast at Niki’s West, a historic restaurant that’s popular with the locals. We all enjoyed their delicious biscuits and omelets. If you go, get there early because they fill up fast. And if you’re late for breakfast, just hang around for the lunch buffet. As we were leaving we could already see the lunch line forming as the delicious foods and homemade cakes were being put out for the buffet. After breakfast, we walked off a few calories at The Shops of Grand River, where we shopped at stores like: Jones New York Outlet, DKNY and Wilson’s Leather Outlet (contact the Birmingham Convention and Visitors Bureau for a book of coupons). (Photo: Girlfriends enjoying conversation at Ross Bridge Resort)

There was even an art gallery where one friend bought some inspirational wall hangings. We continued our shopping at the Pepper Place Harvest and Holiday Market — located at the old Dr. Pepper bottling plant. Here’s where I sampled some of the best blueberry jam I’ve ever tasted. Then we switched from shopping to sipping at The Winery at Pepper Place. If you want to go wine tasting or just see the sights without having to worry about driving; book a limo, sedan, or SUV with woman-owned Executive Shuttle Network Executive Shuttle Network.

We enjoyed it all, but I think everyone’s favorite activity was tapping into our inner artists at My Paint N Party. Stick figures are about as artistic as I get. But My Paint N Party is just the place for “non-artists” proving that everybody has a creative artist inside. They make it easy for you. The instructor shows you a photo (ours was of pink boxing gloves to “knock out” breast cancer), and she takes you through each stroke from beginning to end. At first I was worried I’d have the worst painting in the class, but the process was so much fun, and there were even times when it felt like meditation. We joined a few other women in the class and were all laughing and encouraging each other. And by the end, we all had masterpieces. I give all the credit to the excellent instruction and jovial atmosphere created by Roz Jackson and Kelly Daniel. It was a highlight of our trip.

On our last day, we enjoyed a wonderful Sunday brunch at Brock’s at the resort, which included made-to-order omelets and waffles, sausage, fruit and desserts. Then we walked off our big meal by touring the Civil Rights District in downtown Birmingham. We were able to visit four different sites just steps from each other, including: The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, with its thought-provoking exhibits; Sixteenth Street Baptist Church which honors the student activists who were water-hosed and arrested by police during civil rights demonstrations in 1963; and a lighter side at the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame, which honors the heyday of jazz and the many musicians who hailed from Alabama. It was a wonderful way to end the weekend, with an appreciation for those who made it possible for us to have the freedoms we have today. It was just us girls – and we had a ball!

From now until March 27, Ross Bridge Golf Resort & Spa has a special where you book two nights and get the third night free. To book your own girlfriend getaway in Birmingham, visit www.birminghamal.org. Or for other destinations and packages, visit www.girlgetaways.com and www.girlfriendgetaways.org.

The next time you find yourself waiting for a man to take you places, stop waiting and get away with your girlfriends. It’s a great way to re-bond, and re-charge. And remember: “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness” — Mark Twain

Check out more fabulous Girlfriend Getaway pictures on our Facebook Fan Page.

Kalin Thomas is Women at Forty’s Travel & Leisure Editor. She is also Senior Writer/Photographer for SoulOfAmerica. Before starting her own multimedia company, Kalin spent 17 years at CNN where she won several awards for her work as producer/correspondent for CNN’s weekly travel program, CNN TravelNow. She is currently writing a book about her travels. For more information on Kalin, visit www.seetheworldproductions.com.