Category: weekend getaways


February 5th, 2014 — 9:19pm

My wonderful weekend in Toronto continued with a girls day out with dear friend .

Jackie and me

As always, we picked up right where we left off, confiding in each other about career transitions, dating dramas and the heavy contemplation that accompanies turning 40.

Along the way, we enjoyed a fun-filled afternoon at Yorkdale Shopping Centre on the outskirts of T.O. First, a yummy lunch at Glow Press, which serves a mouth-watering variety of gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches. Then, we hit various stores before heading out to pick up Jackie’s little boy Ryan.

Back at their place, Jackie whipped up spaghetti and meatballs, and surprised me with chocolate birthday cake.

The decadence continued back at my hotel, where a carrot cake amenity from my Westin Grand Central colleagues was waiting for me. I must say I love extending the big 4-0 festivities (waistline considerations notwithstanding).

Saturday, snowy conditions didn’t get in the way of my next reunion — with high school buddy Emma.

Emma and me

Over a delightful brunch at Fran’s, one of T.O.’s venerable old-school diners, we reminisced about old times and reflected on motherhood (Emma has a young son), getting older and the ties that bind. Emma spoke fondly of my late, beloved parents, sharing with me that she told her partner—

“They had an intimacy not just as a couple, but as friends.”

It meant so much to hear Emma say this, to be reminded of the impact that had on everyone fortunate enough to know them. My friends in Toronto got to know them very well indeed during epic slumber parties, prom night and the like.

These and so many other happy memories of our years living up north crossed my mind over the course of the weekend. As I walked along familiar streets, many now replaced with new stores and attractions, I couldn’t help thinking of what time hasn’t changed—my gratitude for old friends and my late, beloved parents’ enduring legacy of love.

This week, they would have celebrated 41 years together. I have no doubt that somewhere, they’re enjoying one hell of a party. Cheers to you, Mom and Dad, still my all-time favorite couple.

 

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August 4th, 2012 — 9:10pm

Last Saturday, my weekend at continued with a delightful breakfast outside, overlooking the grounds.

The view from our table at breakfast

Food is included here and there’s plenty of it – made to order egg and crepe stations, an array of baked goods, fresh fruit, etc. Of course, having a hearty meal makes sense given the variety of opportunities to burn it off. Bobbi went off to do tennis while I opted for the valley zip line. Not quite as exciting as my previous stints doing it in Belize and Costa Rica but still great fun – especially with England-born staffer Tim manning the ropes.

Gearing up for the zip line with an assist from charming Club Getaway staffer Tim

He had us laughing with his typically dry British wit, acknowledging that not all UK celeb exports have been winners.

“Russell Brand, eek. Sorry about that,” he quipped.

Next, I strolled over to the lake to do some kayaking before joining everyone in the tent for lunch. As I mentioned, Club Getaway doesn’t scrimp on food — the massive spread included multiple salads and breads, hot and cold pasta, pizza, quesadillas, sweet potato fries and a selection of mouthwatering pies and cakes (Bailey’s cheesecake, yuuuum). Not a bad deal for the two-night package price of $450.

Bobbi and me during the downpour

Though an afternoon downpour limited activity options, it didn’t dampen the fun — which included a laidback wine tasting, group salsa class and hula hoop lesson. Thankfully, the rain subsided long enough for a pontoon boat ride (cocktail included) and evening festivities: energetic cover band Radio Riot, staffers performing stunts with fire and an end of the world themed party complete with spooky decorations and choreographed, costumed dancers.

Partying with cover band Radio Riot

The night ended with smores and a campfire, during which Bobbi and I talked to Stony Brook- based doc Mark about how texting has impacted dating. Though he shared our frustrations that it’s replaced talking on the phone — he admitted he rarely calls because he’s reluctant to leave voicemail.

Sunday, we took advantage of a break in the weather to go for a swim in the lake, getting in touch with our inner child as we bounced on a water trampoline and had a few runs down an inflatable slide.

While we were drying off, I overheard a handful of guys and girls talking about the ups and down of online dating. I ended up chatting with Dave, a 40-year-old bachelor who recently moved to Boston because he was tired of NYC’s ruthless singles scene. He admitted the pressure he receives from family to settle down – and that it’s not for lack of trying to meet someone on his part.

As he spoke with pride but humility about being a decent guy with a good job and sense of chivalry, I was struck by something that is very easy to forget – women aren’t the only ones having a hard time with dating. When I asked Dave what he attributes the New York-specific challenges to, his response was a familiar one—

“Everyone’s always looking for someone better. And I have to admit I’ve been guilty of it too at times.”

Striving for more is a way of life here in what is arguably the world’s most iconic city. You can get so caught up in this relentless search you don’t appreciate what’s right in front of you. Sometimes it takes a change of scenery – and being reminded that as singles, we’re all in the trenches together – to see that.

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August 1st, 2012 — 8:55pm

Rustic cabins scattered around a lake. Group activities ranging from salsa lessons to volleyball. If this sounds like scenes from Dirty Dancing, that’s exactly what my first impression was when I got to Connecticut’s on Friday.

Club Getaway reminded me of Kellerman’s in Dirty Dancing

After years of seeing Club Getaway’s many ads in publications like Time Out and AM New York, I was curious to find out if it really is like summer camp for adults. In a word – absolutely.

Located about two hours from NYC, Club Getaway is an ideal weekend destination. My good friend Bobbi and I opted to drive instead of taking the complimentary bus for guests. We arrived to a warm welcome from staffers inside a tent festively decorated in celebration of the Olympics. After checking out our basic but clean accommodations – bunk beds, bathroom and little else – we headed over to one of the main lodges for dinner.

Joining us at our table were two couples, a single guy and another single gal – a good representative sample of the crowd at Club Getaway. Though the girl-guy ratio (174 to 97) was as lopsided as it is here in NYC, it didn’t seem that way. Everyone was friendly, and the full schedule of activities made it easy to break the ice, especially with so many returning guests. About half the people Bobbi and I met were on their second or third visit, and most of the staffers started out as guests too.

Two guys from New Jersey introduced themselves as we all made our way over to the boathouse for a lively party that kicked off with line dancing and a staffer announcing from the stage —

“It’s time to get drunk and make some bad decisions!”

Bobbi and I opted instead to head outside, where plenty of people were mingling while some took part in an impromptu volleyball game.

Volleyball in front of the boathouse

As we made small talk with a few guys who joined us on the sidelines, I couldn’t help thinking how the metro NYC singles scene could use a lot more of this laidback, approachable vibe.

Up next…an action-packed day despite Mother Nature’s interference, and an unexpected lesson about dating doldrums from the opposite sex.

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December 15th, 2009 — 10:30pm

Saturday, my weekend in Boston continued with Cristina and Chris’ wedding. One of the best I’ve ever attended, the 130-person event was truly an affair to remember.

Happily Ever After: Cristina and Chris on their wedding day (photo courtesy: Michelle Abril)

Following a nuptial mass at Cathedral of the Holy Cross, the festivities continued at Boston’s Omni Parker House – America’s longest continuously- run hotel, located next to Beacon Hill.

During the cocktail hour, I chatted with Cristina’s sweet twin brother and Man of Honor Robert. We shared a laugh when he quipped that he refrained from adjusting the bride’s train for fear that traditionally female gesture might end up on YouTube.

I also caught up with my former work husband and good friend Morty. Morty filled me in on phD application overload (he’s applying to 15 psychology programs), and we debated the subtle yet important distinction between desire and need when it comes to the object of one’s affections.

Eventually, everyone made their way upstairs to the ballroom, elegant with its dark, wood paneling and decorated with a Christmas tree and Baby’s Breath centerpieces. A snowflake ornament adorning each place setting completed the festive holiday theme.

All Smiles: the beautiful bride and me

After the Best Man said a few words, Chris spoke from the heart with gratitude for his parents and in-laws – and abiding love for his beautiful bride. Recalling the day he met Cristina six years ago, Chris said he knew then it was forever.

“You are the love of my life,” he said. “You’re the only person I’ve ever loved.”

Wow.

Speaking of wow, the DJ impressed with a perfect mix of dinner-appropriate tunes (including Sinatra in heavy rotation) and lively dance songs. Knowing my affection for Ricky Martin, Cristina had him kick off the booty shaking with “Livin’ La Vida Loca.”

Not only did I shake, as Morty put it, all three of my moneymakers but I managed to forget about my injured leg. One of the bride’s relatives later told me–

“You should be on Broadway!”

Along with everyone else, I also got my groove on to such crowd pleasers as “All The Single Ladies,” “Disco Inferno,” “Don’t Stop The Music” and “I Gotta Feeling.”

What a celebration. When a couple is so perfect for each other like Cristina and Chris, you can’t help but be overjoyed to watch them embark on happily ever after – and feel hopeful all over again in finding it yourself.

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December 15th, 2009 — 5:30pm

Saturday, my weekend in Boston continued with Cristina and Chris’ wedding. One of the best I’ve ever attended, the 130-person event was truly an affair to remember.

Happily Ever After: Cristina and Chris on their wedding day (photo courtesy: Michelle Abril)

Following a nuptial mass at Cathedral of the Holy Cross, the festivities continued at Boston’s Omni Parker House – America’s longest continuously- run hotel, located next to Beacon Hill.

During the cocktail hour, I chatted with Cristina’s sweet twin brother and Man of Honor Robert. We shared a laugh when he quipped that he refrained from adjusting the bride’s train for fear that traditionally female gesture might end up on YouTube.

I also caught up with my former work husband and good friend Morty. Morty filled me in on phD application overload (he’s applying to 15 psychology programs), and we debated the subtle yet important distinction between desire and need when it comes to the object of one’s affections.

Eventually, everyone made their way upstairs to the ballroom, elegant with its dark, wood paneling and decorated with a Christmas tree and Baby’s Breath centerpieces. A snowflake ornament adorning each place setting completed the festive holiday theme.

All Smiles: the beautiful bride and me

After the Best Man said a few words, Chris spoke from the heart with gratitude for his parents and in-laws – and abiding love for his beautiful bride. Recalling the day he met Cristina six years ago, Chris said he knew then it was forever.

“You are the love of my life,” he said. “You’re the only person I’ve ever loved.”

Wow.

Speaking of wow, the DJ impressed with a perfect mix of dinner-appropriate tunes (including Sinatra in heavy rotation) and lively dance songs. Knowing my affection for Ricky Martin, Cristina had him kick off the booty shaking with “Livin’ La Vida Loca.”

Not only did I shake, as Morty put it, all three of my moneymakers but I managed to forget about my injured leg. One of the bride’s relatives later told me–

“You should be on Broadway!”

Along with everyone else, I also got my groove on to such crowd pleasers as “All The Single Ladies,” “Disco Inferno,” “Don’t Stop The Music” and “I Gotta Feeling.”

What a celebration. When a couple is so perfect for each other like Cristina and Chris, you can’t help but be overjoyed to watch them embark on happily ever after – and feel hopeful all over again in finding it yourself.

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December 15th, 2009 — 2:11am

This weekend, I headed to Boston for my friend and former Quinn & Co. colleague Cristina’s wedding.

At The Rehearsal Dinner: Bride-to-be Cristina and me

Long Island-born Cristina, who has a personality and sense of humor as big as her heart, and Staten Island-bred Chris met six years ago in Beantown when he was in law school. Which is why the couple happily chose New England’s most charming city as the destination for their I Do’s.

The festivities kicked off with a lively rehearsal dinner at Union Oyster House, one of C&C’s favorite local haunts and a place long on both history – it’s a designated landmark and located on the Freedom Trail — and gracious hospitality.

In addition to meeting the bride and groom’s fun and friendly kin, I caught up with a handful of my current Q&C co-workers as well as our former business manager Annie.

During her lengthy tenure at Quinn & Co., Annie was very much the mother hen – someone you could always turn to for advice, and who you could trust to be the sole of discretion.

A few months after joining the company, I accidentally left my house keys at the office. Following a night with my then-boyfriend, I snuck in early and did the walk of shame to retrieve them, encountering Annie along the way. She smiled sweetly and didn’t say a word.

Annie filled me in about her newlywedded bliss at age 51. As I shared my recent dating ups and downs, she said something I’ve heard many times before — that love comes when you least expect it and aren’t looking for it.

The next day, before the wedding, I found myself standing beside a cute male guest.

“Are you on the bride’s side or the groom’s?” I said with a smile.

“The bride’s,” he answered. “My wife is in the wedding party.”

Maybe Annie’s right.

Coming up…a wedding to remember and a look at unexpected 180-degree turns in romance.

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December 14th, 2009 — 9:11pm

This weekend, I headed to Boston for my friend and former Quinn & Co. colleague Cristina’s wedding.

At The Rehearsal Dinner: Bride-to-be Cristina and me

Long Island-born Cristina, who has a personality and sense of humor as big as her heart, and Staten Island-bred Chris met six years ago in Beantown when he was in law school. Which is why the couple happily chose New England’s most charming city as the destination for their I Do’s.

The festivities kicked off with a lively rehearsal dinner at Union Oyster House, one of C&C’s favorite local haunts and a place long on both history – it’s a designated landmark and located on the Freedom Trail — and gracious hospitality.

In addition to meeting the bride and groom’s fun and friendly kin, I caught up with a handful of my current Q&C co-workers as well as our former business manager Annie.

During her lengthy tenure at Quinn & Co., Annie was very much the mother hen – someone you could always turn to for advice, and who you could trust to be the sole of discretion.

A few months after joining the company, I accidentally left my house keys at the office. Following a night with my then-boyfriend, I snuck in early and did the walk of shame to retrieve them, encountering Annie along the way. She smiled sweetly and didn’t say a word.

Annie filled me in about her newlywedded bliss at age 51. As I shared my recent dating ups and downs, she said something I’ve heard many times before — that love comes when you least expect it and aren’t looking for it.

The next day, before the wedding, I found myself standing beside a cute male guest.

“Are you on the bride’s side or the groom’s?” I said with a smile.

“The bride’s,” he answered. “My wife is in the wedding party.”

Maybe Annie’s right.

Coming up…a wedding to remember and a look at unexpected 180-degree turns in romance.

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July 16th, 2009 — 10:26pm

Last weekend, I left the hustle and bustle behind and headed to the Poconos for some family fun. After a breezy two-hour drive into the heart of Pennsylvania’s lush territory, I arrived at the home of my Uncle Chucky, Titi (a.k.a Auntie) Rosie and younger cousin Melanie.

Family Bonding: (from left) Titi Rosie, my cousin Melanie and Mel’s eight-month-old cutie Caden

Uncle Chuck threw some burgers on the grill and we talked about their upcoming trip to Aruba. The getaway will be their first alone together since Melanie was born 20 years ago, so Rosie was wondering how they’d fare without her. With a laugh, Rosie acknowledged she’s more of a talker than Uncle Chuck, which got us on the subject of women in general needing to converse more than the opposite sex.

Speaking of girl talk, Rosie and I later did plenty of it – about how relationships evolve over time and how, the longer you’re single, the more difficult it can be to open yourself up to someone new.

Rosie empathized, recalling that because of her painful divorce, she had no interest in marriage when she first met Uncle Chuck. She said you never know how a relationship is going to unfold, that even a bumpy start doesn’t necessarily rule out happily ever after.

Her insight gave me pause. As someone who’s made a career out of identifying why Mr. Right For Now can only be just that, it’s nice to think that, someday, I might end up being surprised by his longevity.

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July 16th, 2009 — 5:26pm

Last weekend, I left the hustle and bustle behind and headed to the Poconos for some family fun. After a breezy two-hour drive into the heart of Pennsylvania’s lush territory, I arrived at the home of my Uncle Chucky, Titi (a.k.a Auntie) Rosie and younger cousin Melanie.

Family Bonding: (from left) Titi Rosie, my cousin Melanie and Mel’s eight-month-old cutie Caden

Uncle Chuck threw some burgers on the grill and we talked about their upcoming trip to Aruba. The getaway will be their first alone together since Melanie was born 20 years ago, so Rosie was wondering how they’d fare without her. With a laugh, Rosie acknowledged she’s more of a talker than Uncle Chuck, which got us on the subject of women in general needing to converse more than the opposite sex.

Speaking of girl talk, Rosie and I later did plenty of it – about how relationships evolve over time and how, the longer you’re single, the more difficult it can be to open yourself up to someone new.

Rosie empathized, recalling that because of her painful divorce, she had no interest in marriage when she first met Uncle Chuck. She said you never know how a relationship is going to unfold, that even a bumpy start doesn’t necessarily rule out happily ever after.

Her insight gave me pause. As someone who’s made a career out of identifying why Mr. Right For Now can only be just that, it’s nice to think that, someday, I might end up being surprised by his longevity.

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May 27th, 2009 — 9:30pm

My weekend in Kansas City with best galpal Lisa continued on Saturday, with a visit to Briarcliff Village.

An upscale shopping and restaurant complex set on a hill, Briarcliff is home to , where Lisa treated me to a heavenly facial.

Spa Tuscano: First class pampering in the City of Fountains

I felt relaxed right away, thanks to a warm welcome from Tuscano’s friendly staff.

We were given a quick tour of the spa, which boasts signature rooms such as the Amazon RiverWalk (pictured above and featuring a fireplace, whirlpool and massage table) and the Tuscano Float, offering flotation therapy. Complimentary with all services – the European Bath Ritual, a haven of jetted pools with faux cliffs and waterfalls.

After unwinding robe-clad for a few minutes in the Ana Capri Lounge, I was whisked into a treatment room by the lovely Diane.

Sixty minutes later, my skin was exfoliated, toned and moisturized – and, if I do say so myself, positively glowing. I briefly contemplated leaving my pores in peace and never wearing makeup again.

Diane spoke with great affection for my hometown, quipping at the end of my facial—

“We’re not New York, we’re just Kansas City!”

When it comes to first class pampering, KC more than holds its own with the Big Apple. Lisa and I are already planning a return visit to Spa Tuscano next time I’m in town.

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