When I first received the call that my girlfriends on the East Coast were gathering in the Shenandoah wine country at a restored manor house built in the 1700's, I paused.
Why there? Why in the winter? Why so far away from me?
With the last of my college friends about to add one more sweet baby to our growing count of 17 kids between 9 of us, I instantly said YES! Two of my friends would need to bring their sweet newborns along and the rest of us were able to leave our kiddos behind. Lucky for direct flights and car services it almost seemed too easy to reach this actually very remote place in Bluemont, VA. A house known as The Retreat at Cool Spring that touches the Appalachian Trail and sitting along the Shenandoah River. It was 48 hours of absolute female bliss.
Staying up late drinking wine by candle light then waking up early to make pot after pot of coffee. With expert planning each of my friends showed off their culinary talents in the kitchen and bringing hand-me-downs, handmade quilts and impractical bikinis for the new baby soon to be born that we were all celebrating. We sat around talking about jobs we had, jobs we wished we had, jobs we wished we never had. We talked about what made us tick and what continues to tick us off. We talked endlessly about our loved ones; our kids, husbands, siblings, and parents. We walked, slipped and pushed strollers through ice and snow with the freezing air against our faces making this magical weekend feel real, instead of like a dream which is the state I was feeling.
We admired the house which the owner kept so many original things including the floor which was tilted, creaky and definitely had splinters. The woodwork was spectacular with carvings surrounding the doors and near original windows. She added sofa after sofa of grey and cream linen, an extra down comforter on every bed, empty rustic frames above the fireplaces leaving it to our imagination who might have lived there in the past. We admired the hard work and dedication and VISION she had. The fact that she had followed through with this vision throughout the house completely inspired me.
We packed up Sunday morning which seemed to appear in a flash. We split up boxes of local apple cider donuts to bring home to our eager toddlers. Dividing up wine and homemade granola while handing out belated birthday gifts and returning belongings from the last time we were all together. We drank the last cups of our coffee, showered and did makeup together one last time. Helped each other back out of the steep driveway and hugged each other long and tight.
I had a long trip back to my own family in California but I couldn't help but smile the entire way. A tribe of women so full of love and laughter, inspiration and support that I have been blessed with and I don't intend to miss a girls trip anytime soon.