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Why should a bride-to-be and her besties limit themselves to one night of celebrating? Plan ahead and all the ladies could escape for a weekend—or even a week—to remember. We spoke to Rachel Harrison of Chillisauce, a London-based events company that specializes in bachelorette and bachelor parties, for her favorite ideas—and the options for making them happen—for packing some bags and bonding big time before the big day.
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Earn your country credentials without giving up the amenities all the girls have grown accustomed to in Colorado’s great outdoors. Mesa Campground (tipi accommodations from $36 and cabin rentals from $86.50) offers a menu of outdoor activities to entertain everyone on the trip. Take a ride in a riverboat, soak in the natural hot springs in nearby Waunita, head out on horseback to the area where True Grit was filmed, or set out on a hike in Colorado’s expansive backcountry.
Spend the weekend glamping at a ranch like California’s The Wellspring Bed and Breakfast (rooms from $250). It has a collection of luxury yurts, decorated in a bohemian style, as well as a one-of-a-kind Airstream trailer. It’s the perfect base from which to explore the colorful and unspoiled Cayucos country.
For a real once-in-a-lifetime experience, why not spend the weekend taking in the beauty of the Grand Canyon? The Grand Canyon Ranch Resort (rooms from $200), set within 165 miles of desert wilderness, will let you and your friends escape it all with activities including helicopter trips, horseback excursions, and wagon rides through bison country. Looking for a little quiet and a little action? Las Vegas is a mere two-hour drive away, making it an option for a pre- or post-weekend night on the town.
Pictured here: Mesa Campground
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Napa Valley is synonymous with wine country in the U.S., but that’s not the only destination for sipping among friends. Venture to some more unusual vineyards and have an equally toast-worthy time. New Mexico has been quietly producing its own wine and bubbly for centuries. The region is the oldest wine producer Stateside, and now home to 42 wineries. The unusual desert climate (think hot days and freezing nights) makes for a unique and delicious taste. Check out Heritage Hotels for luxury weekend packages (from $194), which include accommodations, winery tours, and tastings.
Pair wine tasting with a beach weekend at Wölffer Estate Vineyard, located just a few miles from the shore in the Hamptons (and a two and-a-half drive from New York City). Spend the day pairing delicious cheeses and charcuterie, while sampling crisp Chardonnay or rich Cabernet Franc. Check into Montauk’s Surf Lodge (rooms from $295, open May-September) to keep the party going.
Pictured here: A New Mexico vineyard
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Put your heads together to solve the case at a murder mystery getaway. Murder at Graylyn offers a weekend package ($399 per person), in the ghostly and grand surroundings of Graylyn manor in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Check in on Friday and watch the details begin to unfold. You’ll have plenty of time to explore the grounds before dining on Saturday evening, at which point you should have all the clues you need to become a top detective!
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Invite the bride-to-be to bid adieu to single life at the Four Seasons in St. Louis (rooms from $269). The hotel’s rooftop pool has amazing views over the Gateway Arch, and is the location for a range of summer pool parties and live music.
Where is one of the best spots to don a bikini and drink mai tais until the sun goes down? Check into the Ace Hotel in Palm Springs (rooms from $129) and look forward to a fun-filled weekend reveling in girl talk poolside and partying on the patio.
Pictured here: The rooftop pool at the Four Seasons in St. Louis
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Make them your best mates, literally, and set sail in a private yacht through Sunseeker (from $500 per person per night, chillisauce.co.uk), which charters the waters of exotic Mediterranean locations. A fully trained and friendly crew is there to look after every need, whether the ladies want to spend the day being pampered by an on-site masseuse and beautician or simply sun themselves on the deck. For a memorable day out, drop anchor in Costa Smeralda in Sardinia to sample irresistible Italian cuisine and wander the stretches of gorgeous coastline before returning for a sunset bubbly in the yacht’s Jacuzzi and a midnight dip in the ocean, with the boat’s underwater lights illuminating the calm seas.
For something closer to home, head to the Virgin Islands for a weeklong private yacht cruise. Spend your time exploring the pristine Caribbean waters while snorkeling or water-skiing, or just taking it all in from the deck of a fully staffed boat (from $1,400 per person, caribbeancharter.com).
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Invite the band on tour by renting a convertible, piling in, and taking off for a quintessential American road trip on Route 66, ending in sunny California. Although sections of the route have now been lost to byways and inner state roads, many stretches remain untouched. On the way, check in to La Posada Hotel (rooms from $119), where Route 66 meets the Santa Fe railroad.
For an East Coast option, hit the open road on the Overseas Highway, a picturesque 120-mile stretch spanning from Miami to Key West. Swap stories while taking in the views of the Gulf of Mexico on one side and the Atlantic Ocean on the other. When you get to the end of the road in Key West, check in to the Marquesa Hotel (rooms from $210) before heading back.
Or splurge on a far-flung locale. For some old-school glamour, take a drive down the Amalfi Coast in Italy. Beginning in Salerno, the future newlywed and her jet-setting friends can pick up the road that snakes past photo-op after photo-op (be sure to park and take a group shot), before continuing past the historic towns of Maiori and Minori, which are home to sandy beaches and romantic Roman ruins. Stop off in Ravello to see the beautiful town that slopes toward a sapphire blue sea, and wander through the lush gardens overlooking the ocean. While you’re there, spend the night at the Palazza Alvino (rooms from $290).
Pictured here: Route 66
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Take things back to basics at the luxury farm retreat (from $195 per person) Blackberry Farm in the Smoky Mountains, where celebrants can churn their own butter, cure salami, and bake delicious bread. Best of all, everyone can recuperate from a day in the kitchen by checking into the luxe accommodations (rates from $745, including all meals) on the farm.
Stir up some good times—or at least some good food—by enrolling the party attendees in a cooking class. There’s no better place than the Culinary Institute of America in New York’s Hudson River Valley, where themed and tailor-made sessions ($250 per person) will take everyone’s skills to the next level. Afterward, kick back at the Buttermilk Falls Inn (rooms from $250) and enjoy dinner at its excellent farm-to-table restaurant, Henry’s.
Pictured here: Blackberry Farm
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What better way to invite everyone to unwind before the big celebration than with a relaxing escape to a luxury spa? The Calistoga Ranch in Napa Valley (rooms from $685) will instantly get the crew in tune with nature. Let them pamper themselves with a range of spa experiences that focus on physical as well as mental well-being, or enjoy the outdoor pool overlooking the leafy surrounding hillside.
For city girls needing a quick getaway, the Mohonk Mountain House (spa-cation packages from $415 per person) is just 90 miles outside New York and provides a calm, eco-friendly retreat. Gaze upon the beautiful surroundings from the outdoor heated mineral pool or indulge in the “Mohonk Red” massage featuring witch hazel grown on the property.
With an idyllic climate, the Boca Raton Resort & Spa (rooms from $199) in Florida is a bachelorette haven anytime of year. The group can unwind with facials, mani-pedis, and massages all weekend long at the elaborate spa inspired by Spain’s Alhambra Palace, or try their best at surfing and kayaking.
Pictured here: Calistoga Ranch