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Pack Your Bags & Call Your Girlfriends
Five Great Girlfriends Getaway Retreats

Ask anyone whose ever been on a girlfriends getaway about the most memorable part of the experience, and chances are they’ll say it was the company. Indeed, the key ingredients of a successful girlfriends getaway are a relaxing place to hang your hat, and ample time to bond and catch up with old friends. Cooking for one-another, pampering yourself, lounging by the pool and chatting into the wee hours of the morning also rank high on the to-do list.

In the end, the specific destination isn’t nearly as important as the atmosphere and ambiance of the accommodations. With that in mind, here are a few of my top girlfriends getaway lodging picks. Not only do they simply ooze ambiance, but they’re all nicely accessible.

Refuge by the Sea

What better place to hold a girlfriends getaway, then at a former YWCA camp? Built in 1913, the Asilomar Conference Center was originally designed to host YWCA leadership conferences; but today it’s open to other groups, as well as individual travelers.

And although the property is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, access upgrades have been added over the years. The most accessible guest rooms (401 and 413) are located in the Stuck-Up Inn cabin; and they include bathrooms with a with a roll-in shower, a hand-held showerhead and a fold-down shower bench.

Although the grounds are hilly, an accessible shuttle service is available as needed; plus the Stuck-Up Inn is located within easy rolling distance of the dining commons and main lobby area. Best of all, there are lots of comfortable nooks and public areas in the Stuck-Up Inn; which makes this cabin a very conducive space for those late-night chats.

Canadian Lodge

Located in Eastern British Columbia, just 15 minutes west of Golden, the Eh Canadian Lodge features just five guestrooms, so it’s the perfect size for an intimate girlfriends gathering. And although the lodge is somewhat remote, it was built to be accessible. And for complete privacy, you can rent out the whole lodge for your group.

There is ramped access to the front door, accessible parking in front, and barrier-free access to all the main floor common areas. The accessible guest room, Willow, features a bathroom with a roll-in shower, a fold-down shower bench, a hand-held showerhead, grab bars in the shower and around the toilet and a roll-under sink.

And don’t miss the large deck — it’s a great place for sipping wine and enjoying the sunset with friends.

Tennessee Cabin

If you like the idea of gathering with you pals in a remote, yet luxurious place, then consider the Creekside Chalet near Watuga Lake in Northeastern Tennessee.

Owner Vicki Woods refers to the chalet as her “West Wing”, as it’s located away from her mountaintop inn; nestled between the mountains and a crackling creek. This three-bedroom fully self contained cabin features ramp access, a first-floor accessible bedroom and a bathroom with a roll-in shower.

The luxury chalet is a great place to gather with the girls for a cooking weekend, as the fully equipped kitchen allows everyone the chance to share their favorite recipes. And after dinner enjoy the “spa under the stars,” on the front deck. It’s a very relaxing way to end the day.

Beach Houses

If you’d prefer a beach getaway, then head to North Carolina’s Outer Banks, located just 90 miles south of Norfolk, Virginia. The perfect place to enjoy a little natural beauty and relax is in the Carolinian; an accessible beach front home in South Nags Head.

The seven-bedroom Carolinian features wide doorways, good pathway access and elevator access to all three floors. The accessible bedroom is located on the second floor and it features a private bathroom with a roll-in shower, grab bars in the shower and around the toilet, and a roll-under sink. There is sliding door access to the second-floor deck from the accessible bedroom, and a great view of the ocean from just about anywhere in the home.

There’s also an accessible over-dune boardwalk out to the beach, with stairway access down to the beach. Additionally, a lift-equipped swimming pool is located on the private first-floor patio. And if you’d like to pull out all the stops and really treat yourself, then call one of the local catering companies to have a gourmet dinner prepared in your beach house.

A Little Luxury

Of course it’s hard to talk about vacation rentals without mentioning Florida; more specifically Orlando. This family-travel haven is also a perfect place for a girlfriends getaway, if you pick the right property. A property like Villa 8032, located in a gated community and managed by All Star Vacation Homes.

Access features in this six-bedroom home include wide doorways, tile floors and barrier-free access to all first-floor areas, including the back patio which has a lift-equipped pool and a small sauna. Two bedrooms are located on the first floor, including a master suite with a private bathroom. Access features in the master bathroom include a roll-in shower with a built-in bench and a hand-held showerhead, grab bars in the shower and on the side of the toilet, a roll-under sink and a full five-foot turning radius. There is stair-lift access to the second floor, but none of the upstairs bathrooms have access adaptations.

It’s a very accessible home, and a great place for a girlfriends getaway. After all, what could be more relaxing then lounging around the pool and catching up with old friends?

If You Go

Asilomar Conference Center
(866) 654-2878
www.visitasilomar.com

Eh Canadian Lodge
(250) 344-2798
www.ehcanadianlodge.com

Creekside Chalet
(423) 768-2446
www.creeksidechalet.net

Seaside Vacations
(866) 884-0267
www.outerbanksvacations.com

All Star Vacation Homes
(407) 997-0733
www.allstarvacationhomes.com

Candy Harrington is the editor of Emerging Horizons and the author of Barrier Free Travel: A Nuts and Bolts Guide For Wheelers and Slow Walkers. She blogs regularly about accessible travel issues at www.BarrierFreeTravels.com.