Keeping up their tradition of getting together on milestone birthdays after they stopped birthing and breast feeding, “The Bowie Girls” from Bowie, Maryland celebrated their 55th year with a girlfriends getaway at Beaver Creek—the posh, gated mountain resort in central Colorado.
July is golden in Beaver Creek. Warm, sunny days fade into cool evenings, and flowers bloom as big as dinner plates. Amenities at the luxury resort are perfect for BFF bonding, and the seven high-school pals did just that for four days last summer. They called it “On Mountain, On Water Girlfriends Getaway.”
Friendship is: “Lifelong” ~ Kay
Home Away from Home
Arriving from Denver International Airport after a two-hour-and-a-half ride in a rental SUV, the Bowie Girls settled in at a fabulous mountain home leased from East West Luxury Homes. The elegant decor aptly fit this crew—stylish, smart self-made women with careers and families. Despite having a glorious living room, a game room, four sitting rooms, seven bedrooms, five fireplaces and an outdoor hot tub at their disposal, the girls hung out mostly at the spacious breakfast bar of the gourmet kitchen. That’s where the wine was, after all, and where they watched Chef Brian Farquharson of Red Canyon Catering prepare a meal with healthy, low-cal and mostly gluten-free ingredients.
He taught the girls how to assemble Vietnamese Spring Rolls, fresh Ahi Tuna Poki and Phyllo Pockets for appetizers. He then laid out a main course in the formal dining room: Hazelnut Crusted Fresh Trout, Edamame Pasta with Alfredo Sauce made from cashews and served with oyster mushrooms and grilled asparagus. Dessert was Grilled Palisade (local) Fresh Peaches marinated in Mirin and lime juice served with Lemongrass Sorbet drizzled with golden balsamic syrup and topped with toasted almonds. The girls wanted to take Chef Brian home!
Cooking together is a bonding experience; so for one evening meal, the Maryland girls prepared. . .what else? A lobster bake! Chef Christian Apetz from the Park Hyatt in Beaver Creek ordered the shipment of lobsters and the girls steamed them as they have done many times, then sautéed the meat in butter and garlic. Accompanied by roasted potatoes and mixed kale salad, it was a feast for celebration.
Friendship is: “The comfort of being yourself” ~ Colleen
On Mountain, On Water
Dinners like these fueled athletic endeavors during the weekend. The first was a downhill bike ride beginning at 10,000 feet at the top of Vail Pass to Vail Village at 8150 feet led by a guide from Venture Sports that provided the bikes and helmets. Wildflowers, waterfalls and wildlife kept the ride interesting, and the multi-million-dollar homes they passed by in the village on “the most expensive street in Colorado” made it intriguing.
On day two, again beginning on Vail Pass, they hiked Shrine Pass Trail with a nature guide who pointed out varieties of wildflowers popping color along the hillsides and the history of the three-mile route that Ute Indians trailblazed. It was named for its stunning view of the venerated Mount of the Holy Cross. At the top, 360-degree views of Ten Mile, Sawatch, Flat Top and Gore Ranges were worth the climb. The nearly 1,000-foot elevation gain proved too much for a few of the east coast women, but the rest were able to summit with the help of frequent sips of water and applications of mosquito spray.
A more relaxing activity was the “on water” part of the getaway on day three, a leisurely float down a stretch of the Colorado River in Eagle County. After a quick refreshing rain, the girls met Rod, their boatman from Timberline Tours, buckled into life jackets and took their places on a big blue raft. Since it was a class-one rated float with only one section of mild rapids, no one needed to paddle so they all could enjoy the beauty of the river and mountains above it. After a picnic on shore, Rod skillfully took the raft upstream for another shot at “Do It Again” rapids, always a thrill.
Other outdoor summer activities around Beaver Creek include golf; tennis; ice skating; ziplining; and ATV tours, horseback riding and sporting clays on one of the most beautiful shooting courses in the country with Sage Outdoor Adventures.
Friendship is: “Being your authentic self and still be loved” ~ Erin
A Little Bit of Culture
On a mellow summer’s evening, the girls drove 12 miles east to Vail for a Bravo! performance under the stars at the Gerald Ford Amphitheater. The annual music festival presented by Vail Valley Foundation (VVF) runs for six weeks in mid-summer and features four world-renowned orchestras as well as jazz and pops. The VVF also hosts Hot Summer Nights, a free concert series, and the hugely popular Vail International Dance Festival. This night, “Shakespeare at the Symphony” was performed in collaboration with the Colorado Shakespeare Festival. The girls opted for a picnic on the lawn instead of pavilion seating; and for this, Adam, their personal vacation consultant that came with the home rental, prepared a basket of smoked salmon, crudités, fresh fruit, cheeses and a light salad. Wine from concessions complemented the meal.
In Beaver Creek Village, nestled in a valley high above the town of Avon, the Vilar Performing Arts Center is a beautiful indoor venue for year round performing arts, music and film. Art galleries and boutiques scattered around the village make it easy to find that special item—whether a one-of-a-kind sculpture or a pair of handmade cowgirl boots—to take home.
Friendship is: “Everybody singing off key, but together it’s perfect harmony” ~ Gaye
Ahh, the spa!
A girlfriends getaway is not complete without a trip or two or three to the spa. Since one of the Bowie Girls lives in the valley and runs two of the top 25 spas in the world (rated by Conde Nest readers) in Beaver Creek and Avon, she booked treatments for all. Spa Anjali at the Westin Riverfront Resort in Avon was also selected by Organic Spa Magazine as one of the top 10 organic spas for its practices and products. The girls had their choice of treatments there that are based on ancient healing traditions from the Himalayas, Europe, and Rocky Mountain Native Americans. At Allegria Spa in the Park Hyatt at Beaver Creek, the girls indulged in the 5-step hydrotherapy ritual Aqua Sanitas before their body and face treatments.
Veteran aesthetician Victoria Mastrogiovanni at Allegria explained the importance of meticulous skin care in high, dry climates like Colorado. “I suggest layering lightweight products to achieve hydration, rather than a heavy product that can be congesting to the skin. Vitamin C serum applied before moisturizer/sunscreen helps the sunscreen work better to prevent sun damage, and hyaluronic acid serums applied in conjunction with the Vitamin C help the skin hold many times more moisture than otherwise possible. Sunscreen is vital as our UV is 40 percent stronger than at sea level.”
Mastrogiovanni applied Intense Recovery Mask and Moisture Replenishing Mask on one of the girls. Both contain Kaolin clay, named after mines in Kaolin, China where it was discovered. The fine white clay is used mostly to absorb sebum and impurities, and can be soothing and healing for other skin conditions by improving blood circulation to the skin. The Park Hyatt packages the clay mask with sporting clays for a invigorating weekend in the fall.
Friendship is: “A sweet fragrance and you can’t inhale deep enough” ~ Katie
Beaver Creek and Vail are renewed for their cuisine, so the girls splurged on a few of the best restaurants in the area for lunches: the venerable Sweet Basil in Vail Village; Maya, the Modern Mexican cuisine of world-renowned restaurateur Richard Sandoval, in the Westin Riverfront; and the newest eatery on Vail Mountain, The 10th, requiring a ride on Gondola One. The latter was named in honor of the 10 Mountain Division of World War II, skiing soldiers who trained in the mountains of Colorado. Many came back to help start the fledgling ski industry like Earl Eaton and Pete Seibert who founded Vail in 1962.
Friendship is: “Nourishment for your soul” ~ Joanne
The luxurious surroundings of Beaver Creek and recreation opportunities in the mountains was the perfect blend of serenity and activity needed for a girlfriends getaway. But it was the friends themselves who energized the weekend with laughter, tears, reminiscing old stories and sharing new ones—some joyful, some painful—and knowing their bond was forever, no matter where they are.
“We have a spiritual connection,” said Joanne. “It is so authentic, with unconditional support and love. There’s an unspoken understanding of what each other needs.”
Friendship is: “Unconditional love” ~ Barbara