“The greatest healing therapy is friendship and love.”
Hubert H. Humphrey, Jr.

I’m lucky enough to be surrounded by amazing women in my life who inspire me every day. Some I get to see every 6 months, some every weekend and some once or twice a year. I met these two particular ladies in the neighborhood my then boyfriend now husband and I were living in and we became fast friends, fondly referring to ourselves as the golden girls. We got together weekly to do crafts, go on walks and make things with our hands. When I became really sick and unable to leave the house for long periods of time, these girls would drop off care packages on my doorstep and were always checking on me. They were a huge part of my healing journey with Ulcerative Colitis and always are inspiring me in so many ways. I was honored to have them both stand up at our wedding and to continue to have their wisdom as we venture through these crazy lives. Now, enough sap. Here’s how to do girls weekend in Holland without spending the big bucks.

Rent through Air BnB

This weekend two of my girlfriends and I went on our annual road-trip. Lake Macatawa in Holland was the destination and it’s the perfect spot to spend girls weekend. We spent our time browsing the shops, eating some delicious food, watching a movie, and doing all the things girls do best. The cottage we rented for the night through Airbnb was right on the shore of Lake Macatawa for $140 for the night. We each had our own bedroom, there were two bathrooms, a full kitchen and an absolutely gorgeous view. I was able to go right outside for sunrise and get some awesome shots on the beach. This place is often booked, for good reason.

Here are some reasons to find an Air BnB for your next girls weekend:

-A full kitchen makes meals easy. We didn’t bring food to cook this time, but our always prepared girl brought lots of delicious snacks that we were able to put in the fridge and enjoy at our leisure.

-The view is often better than one any hotel can provide. Seriously, check out that sunrise. 

-Privacy. You don’t have to deal with other hotel guests or worry about your music or your laughter being too loud.

-Local insight. The host may provide suggestions on where to go for meals and give a local perspective on gems in the area that you might not find on Trip Advisor or Yelp.

-$20 off your first rental! Use this link: www.airbnb.com/c/jacklynm93 (you must agree with Airbnb’s Terms of Service to use)

Go on Girlfriends Weekend

Literally. Girlfriends Weekend in Holland is officially celebrated.  Unfortunately we were not aware of  this and it fell the weekend after our visit. If you register ahead of time there are parties and activities to participate in, stores and restaurants have specials, there’s evening entertainment, a fashion show, a swag bag and apparently much more. The ladies we talked to in the shop had nothing but good things to say about it and recommended booking as soon as 2018’s date is set as most hotels and places to stay become booked. Maybe we’ll have to head back next year!

Window Shop

Downtown Holland has the most lovely shops. We spent hours perusing the boutiques and looking at the window displays that lined the streets. My favorite stop was The Seasoned Home (www.theseasonedhome.com). I don’t think any of us walked out of that store empty handed, and everyone was so friendly. This was actually where we heard about Girlfriends Weekend  and had the chance to speak with a couple of the local women residents. They even offered to hold our packages while we browsed more of the downtown area. We also stopped at JB and Me per recommendation from another friend and fell in love. They have boutique style clothing that you can’t find in normal department stores and a whole selection of unique gift ideas for yourself or someone else. I bought a small cactus for the husband as one of ours recently went to greener (sandier?) pastures.

Enjoy the ones you are with

After shopping and relaxing a bit at the house, we walked to a local restaurant for dinner. It was freezing and very icy outside so we were glad the walk only took three minutes.  This also meant we could have cocktails and not have to worry about finding a ride home. We had some good laughs, ate dinner and then braved the icy wind back to the house for movies and chats.

Have a good breakfast before heading home

Before we hit the highway to head back to our houses, we had to get breakfast. The hostess had recommended deBoer Bakkerijand I was so glad she did. We got there just in time and were seated immediately. The place is famous for the baked goods, and pictures of bakers holding loaves of artisan breads like you would hold a newborn baby lined the dining room.

We all ordered coffee and browsed the mouth-watering menu. If I wasn’t gluten sensitive I would have dived into the descriptions of their Blue Raspberry Bliss Cakes, but luckily I was able to convince my sweet friend to taste them for me instead. I ordered the Hippy Hash, and my other girlfriend has the Crab Cakes Benedict. Did I mention how much I love my friends? Breakfast was wonderful, and after we paid the bill we swung through the cafe and ordered a couple of coffees to go for the ride home. By the time we had our coffees, there was a line out the door for people waiting for a table. After eating there, I can see why they would wait. It’s worth it. Make sure to check it out if you’re in the area.

 

Make time

It is so easy to get caught up in the day-to-day work and family life and put friendships on the back-burner. I’m guilty of this, too. Most friends will wait for you to come around, but my advice would be to not neglect those relationships for too long. Like the sign in the little yellow cottage says, life without friends is a garden without flowers, and who wants to be without flowers? Go on a Girls (or boys) weekend. Take a trip. Make a memory. Eat some breakfast.

Golden Girls Weekend 2017 was a smashing success and we’re already making plans to come back to Holland for the Tulip Festival in May.  Thanks for tuning in to this weeks post. Next weekend we head to the shores of Lake Huron for some icy beach hikes and delicious cinnamon roll treats.

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