If you’ve read our bios, you may remember that we worked together many (many!) years ago. At that time, a group of ten women from work began socializing, playing golf and going to happy hours. As we became closer, we decided to plan a weekend cabin getaway and before we knew it, we had established a tradition. We made this weekend a priority in our lives, and always returned home recharged and happy.
It was at these cabin weekends that our friendships were cemented, and we became an official “group” of friends. Having uninterrupted time together was priceless, and we are grateful that these friendships are still going strong over 25 years later.
We’ve gone at different times over the years, and at this phase of life summers seem to be busier than ever. More recently we have found that fall is a sweet spot, a “shoulder season” where indoor and outdoor activities are equally enjoyable. We suggest hikes or biking to enjoy the changing leaves, followed by a cozy campfire on cool autumn evenings. We’ve tackled jigsaw puzzles and played all kinds of games, but most importantly a getaway like this allows ample time to talk, laugh, share stories, and rehash memories. Whatever the season, we’re just happy to carve out a break from everyday responsibilities, enjoying a chance to chill out with good friends.
Having done this every year (Amy has hosted many times), we thought we’d share some of our tips for a successful girl’s weekend at the cabin. In addition to the ideas below, if you’re planning a weekend with friends at your place, take a look at our “Company’s Coming” blog post from June 2021. The main theme is that everyone contributes, lessening the burden for the host. Most of the work is organizing and communicating ahead of time, so everyone knows what to expect. When everyone contributes a few things to the weekend, you get a lot of variety, and invariably come away with some great new recipes.
Let’s talk about food… sharing good food is always a big part of a cabin weekend. We have some traditions that have worked so well for us, we just have to share them.
Night 1 – The Buffet. Truly, we could write an entire blog about “The Buffet”. It is a mainstay of our girlfriend’s weekend, and we always kick it off with a big spread. Each person brings a couple of things to share – think seasonal salads, favorite appetizers, charcuterie, delicious desserts (see below for a great fall dessert recipe). Pre-planning ensures we don’t overlap. This works equally well for those who love to cook and those who know they’ll be too busy and need to pick something up at the grocery store. Most importantly, grazing at leisure with a buffet lends itself well to mixing and catching up.
Lunch = Buffet Redux. There are always leftovers, so we pack ‘em up and bring ‘em back out for a lunch buffet. Easy peasy.
Breakfast Basics. Our motto: keep it simple. We usually designate one or two people to cover coffee, fruit and breakfast goodies for the trip.
Getting Out. It’s always fun to sample local supper clubs for a fish fry or steak night. There are plenty of great choices in the Hayward area, and we’ve tried most of them! We have especially fond memories of the piano bar at Tally Ho.
Theme Night. Another easy dinner idea is choosing a theme, such as Mexican Fiesta, and having each person bring items to complete a “Chipotle” bar.
Drinks and Desserts. Sometimes one of us brings ingredients for a specialty cocktail, like Palomas, Margaritas or Bootlegs. Once we did our own wine tasting evening with a variety of Zinfandel wines. Likewise, we have some favorite desserts that the group has come to expect, and these are out at all times, dawn to dusk!
Speaking of favorite desserts, Bo’s Oatmeal Carmelitas and Becky’s Special Apple Treat readily come to mind. Here, Amy shares a wonderful fall favorite featuring the season’s most popular flavor – – pumpkin spice. If you have never experienced the delicate, nuanced flavor of browned butter, you are in for a treat! Browning butter requires a bit of extra effort but it is well worth it.
Our girlfriend getaway weekends hold a special place in our hearts. Whatever your life stage, we hope this blog gives you some new ideas for your girlfriend gatherings, or perhaps inspires you to start a new tradition with friends who are important in your life. Cheers!