Friday, August 28, 2009

Hello Robert Redford!

This morning we were eating a delicious dinner at Avia Hotel in Savannah ( I couldn’t get over how good their grits were, then the waitress told me they are ground in Savannah and specially made…that explains a lot. During breakfast, I couldn’t help but overhear the table next to us as several men were discussing “character development” and “plot theme.” Obviously, they were talking about a movie, but I didn’t pay that much attention or look that way. Halfway through our meal, Leah asked me, “Is that Robert Redford?” I glanced over quickly and looked back at her and replied, “Yes.” We couldn’t believe it. Robert Redford was sitting next to us in Savannah, GA having breakfast. To make a long story short, we finally asked him for a photo and he was kind enough to pose with us twice. I have to admit that he is the best-looking, seventy-something year-old-man I have ever seen.

After our ‘real’ celebrity “run in” this morning, we were so excited that we just HAD to go shopping. We walked to Broughton Street and perused many of the great stores. Our favorites were Bleu Belle ( & James Gunn ( That afternoon, we drove to Tybee Island (, which is a quaint and low-key seaside community located 18 miles east of Savannah. We drove around this resort community and stopped in at the Atlantic Beacon Gallery to see the Ticklish Mermaid art. We also stopped at a cluster of gifts shops where I found a great napkin quote: "I'll have a cafe mocha vodka valium latte to go please." Too funny!

As we drove back to Savannah, we talked about the fun we had the past few days and how much we are looking forward to our next Girls Getaway!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Overstuffed at Paula Deen's

The next day we skipped breakfast and opted to save room for an early lunch at Paula Deen’s Restaurant named Lady and Sons ( What a process to get in here. Fortunately, it wasn’t too crowded. However, we did put our name on the list an hour before we wanted to eat. Then, at 11:45, we had to line up with several other hungry Paula Deen fans to be “officially” notified of “time to eat,” which was done by a cook ringing a dinner bell. After the dinner bell, we still had to wait to be called to cross the street and enter the restaurant. After all that, we were escorted to our seats and shown the amazing buffet that consisted of fried chicken, lasagna, macaroni and cheese, collard greens, black eyed peas, lima beans, hoecakes and more! In fact, we ate so much that we had to take our Banana Pudding home with us.

After lunch, it was time to start our Savannah sightseeing. We climbed aboard the Oglethorpe Trolley Tour ( for a 90-minute tour of Savannah’s historic squares and old-fashioned charm. We learned a lot about the town’s history and saw the location of “the bench” Tom Hanks sat on during the filming of Forrest Gump. After the trolley tour, we boarded the Savannah River Queen ( for a tour of the harbor and port. We climbed to the third and top deck of this 600-passenger patriotic themed vessel and listened to our captain and tour guide offer historic and fun facts about Savannah’s nautical heritage. At the end of the 60-minute tour, we saw the town’s infamous “Waving Girl” statue and the site where the 1996 Olympic Torch made landfall in the U.S. on its way to Atlanta.

Stay tuned for tomorrow's adventures in Savannah!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Girls Getaway to Savannah

Leah drove from Atlanta to meet me in Savannah for a Girls Getaway to this beautiful, historic town. We arrived at the brand new Avia Hotel in Savannah ( for a wonderful Girls Getaway to Savannah. Trendy and charming, we both loved this hotel the moment we walked in. This new boutique hotel chain currently has four properties in the U.S. and makes guests feel welcome both in the hotel as well as the city they are visiting.

Founded in 1733 as Georgia’s first city, Savannah offers visitors a look at southern life with its architecture, charm and soulful food. We started our adventure relaxing on River Street (, which offers a wide variety of more than 100 galleries, shops, pubs restaurants and hotels. We enjoyed the River Street happy hour with live acoustic music, a great view of the Savannah River and some interesting people watching. We had our first celeb sighting and just had to take our picture with her (thanks Marilyn).

After asking a few locals for a restaurant recommendation, we decided to try Garibaldi Cafe (, where I started with the Bloody Mary Oysters and a Raspberry Mojito Martini. After indulging in delicious (and fattening) Lowcountry fare in Charleston, Garibaldi provided a nice change to “comforting Italian” and seafood.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Bicycles, cow milking, Poe's Tavern, Magnolia's and more fried green tomatoes

Sunday morning was a warm one, but we climbed aboard some of the Venue Inn’s bicycles and started exploring the historic city on our own. We rode along Murray Blvd with the Charleston Harbor on one side of us and beautiful historic mansions on the other. It was a wonderful ride and a great way to enjoy this lovely city. We packed up and said goodbye to Vendue Inn, then headed to Sullivan’s Island to meet our friend Aimee for lunch and a quick tour. After a quick stop at the beach and a few photos with the lighthouse, we stopped the infamous Poe’s Tavern ( for lunch. This place was founded to preserve the spirit of Edgar Allan Poe, a man who at once celebrated and bemoaned life, and always enjoyed a good drink…or several.

That afternoon, we were off to Middleton Place (, which is a National Historic Landmark and a carefully preserved 18th-century plantation that has survived revolutions, Civil War, and an earthquake. It was the home of four generations of Middletons, who each played a significant role in U.S. and South Carolina’s history. Located on the Ashley River, Middleton Place visitors are invited to tour the Gardens, the House Museum, and the Plantation Stableyards. Heather and I enjoyed touring the gorgeous grounds and milking a cow, but we prefer to get our milk from the grocery versus the old-fashioned way.

We enjoyed another incredible Charleston meal at a Magnolia’s Restaurant (, which provided more southern and low country meal options. The worst part about the dinner was making choices. We wanted to try it all! So we narrowed it down to just a few items: Fried Green Tomatoes, Fried Okra, Collard Greens, Macaroni & Cheese, Parmesan Crusted Flounder and Pan Seared Grouper. I felt like I was gaining weight by the forkful. As we “rolled” out of another restaurant, we wondered how people who live in Charleston stay so thin with all this delicious lowcountry cooking. Heather said, “They must be bulimic.”

Monday, August 24, 2009

What Do Wine, Vodka, Angel, Firefly, Peninsula and Banana Pudding Have in Common?

After a “tough” morning of shopping, we were excited to drive to the Irvin House Vineyards ( and Firefly Vodka Distillery ( for a tour and tasting. Located on Wadmalaw Island, about 30 minutes from town, Jim and Ann Irvin feature the only domestic winery in Charleston. In 2008, they launched the Firefly Sweet Tea Vodka brand, which I loved before I even arrived in Charleston. Many thanks to Jim for the fantastic private tour, as well as Ann and Erin for the hospitality and warm welcome. (We heard Ann is a big fan of Girls Getaways, so we cannot wait for her to join us on an upcoming trip). On the way back to Vendue Inn, we stopped to see the magnificent Angel Oak Tree (, which is 65 feet high, provides 17,000 square feet of shade and is believed to be 1,500 years old.

That night we decided to try the Peninsula Grill ( for dinner. After hearing so much about the Grill’s Ultimate Coconut Cake, we just couldn’t at least try it. We split the New York Strip and opted for extra sides (Citrus Glazed Spinach and the Bacon & Cheddar Fingerling Potatoes). Realizing just how full we were after our main course, we debated whether we could even begin to enjoy the enormous Coconut Cake. Not ones to follow the usual trend, we opted for the staff’s favorite dessert – the Banana Pudding. We were thrilled with our choice and will have to make another trip to Charleston just for the Ultimate Coconut Cake.

Sunday, August 23, 2009


On Saturday morning we enjoyed a horse-drawn carriage tour of the historic city thanks to Carolina Polo & Carriage Company ( Our four-legged host Winston who pulled us around town during this 60-minute tour. Also, thank you Greg, who is one of Charleston’s best historians and taught me how to drive the carriage. Charleston was founded in 1670 and is known as the ‘holy city’ because of all the churches. Despite much damage due to battles and hurricanes, Charleston has done a wonderful job preserving its heritage and history. During the tour, we also learned the difference between the S.O.Bs and the S.N.O.Bs. If you don’t already know this, you’ll have to join us for our Girls Getaway to Charleston in November to learn more!

After the fun and educational carriage tour, we strolled through the City Market where we found all sorts of crafts and good for sale in four huge buildings. The market is best known for the sweet grass basket weavers who are actually making the baskets as they sell them. The market is open 365 days a year, so be sure to check it out during your next visit. After the market, we strolled along King Street where we found tons of stores, including most stores you’d find in malls (Bebe, Saks Fifth Avenue, Ann Taylor and Nicole Miller) as well as some great specialty stores like Lily and Eden Boheme.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Girls Getaway to Charleston

On Friday morning, Heather and I started our road trip to Charleston, SC. We felt as though we were in college again driving to a fabulous Spring Break destination. With our lives so busy and very different, the drive gave us time to talk and catch up on each other’s lives, both personal and professional.

We arrived at Vendue Inn ( just in time to get settled in our beautiful room and catch the very end of the afternoon manager’s reception. After several glasses of wine and meeting some of Vendue’s amazing staff, we headed to the nearby Rooftop Bar & Restaurant where we met up with several of our girlfriends who now reside in Charleston. After cocktails and conversation with the girls, we walked to Carolina’s Restaurant (http://www.carolinasrestaurant/) for a fabulous dinner. With a champagne toast and Fried Green Tomatoes to start, we had a wonderful time catching up with everyone. I loved the Pan Seared Grouper, and Heather had been looking forward to her Carolina Shrimp & Grits all week.

Stay tuned as this adventure has just begun!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Getaway Girl® Tells All

Requests have been coming in almost daily for The Getaway Girl® Casey Wohl to speak about her amazing Career Reinvention story. Casey will share with your group how she learned to “Leave Her Baggage at Home” and help your audience think about their own reinvention.

Liz Bollinger, founder of biz-e-chicks, from Tampa writes: “It was great to meet you last night at Conversations and Cocktails! The girls at my table and I loved hearing about your travel experiences with your friends and your thoughts on friendship. Thanks for being so open with us, too, about the circumstances under which you got started with writing the Girls Getaway Guides. It's always fantastic to hear a story about how something so awesome can come after a time of great sadness and confusion. You're inspirational, girl!”

If you have an event you would like Casey to speak at, please contact us at

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Simplify Your Girls Getaway Planning

Need a Girls Getaway but never enough time to plan your trip? The Girls Getaway Guide takes the time-consuming hassle out of researching great Girls Getaway hotels, resorts, tours and packages. Our website features a brand new travel section, Getaway Girl Travel (, which helps busy women getaway and makes planning your trip as easy as 1, 2, 3. First, select a location. Second, pick your accommodations or tour getaway. Third, book your vacation.

Partnering businesses include resorts, bed & breakfasts, hotels, tours, guest ranch, cruise and a castle from California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Europe.
Many thanks to the following partners for joining us as we launch this exciting new concept: Blessings on State B&B, California Castle, Doubletree Grandkey Resort,, Fairville Inn, Hotel Monaco Chicago, Kingston Plantation, Orlando Vista Hotel, Reunion Resort, Saddlebrook Resort, Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch, Tenon Tours and The Islander Resort.

Start clicking at to see the fabulous Girls Getaway hotels, resorts, tours and packages we have to offer!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Submit Your Girls Getaway Photos

This month’s girls’ getaway photo was submitted by Vania Walters from Avon Park, FL. She writes: “The picture was taking in Savannah, Georgia on the Riverfront (Savannah River), while enjoying the historical sites & cute shops. The trip was basically a get out of dodge themed trip, considering we could all use a break from work, reality and a town where everyone knows your name. I think we all left our hearts and figures in Savannah, thanks to the friendly people, wonderful food, and military men by the masses! Savannah is perfect for a girls’ getaway for girls of all ages. Places to go while in Savannah include Savannah Smiles Dueling Piano Bar, Wet Willies on the Riverfront and Ghost Tours via hearse.

Pictured from left to right: Brooke McClelland, Andrea Bass, Vania Walters, Jamie Allen & Cori Murphy.

To submit your girl getaway photos, email us at

Thursday, August 13, 2009

What do Vera Bradley & Barefoot Wine have in common?

Love to win free stuff? Looking for prizes to help you getaway and have fun with your gal pals? Be sure to visit the recently-updated “Win Free Stuff” section of the Girls Getaway Guide website at where you will find nearly $1,000 in fun and travel-related prizes. Every few months we will post new and exciting prizes for Girls Getaway Guide fans, so be sure to check back regularly.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

How to Shop "Off Retail"

Hello Getaway Girls! Here is some great shopping advice from my friend Kelly Machbitz:
Learning how to shop "off retail" stores can double or triple your buying power. Follow these tips to get the most out of your shopping experience:

1. Take a tour of the store. New merchandise is usually placed at the front of the store and starting there will give you first hand advantage to grab up the fresh merchandise while there is still a selection. Then walk to the back of the isles and along the outer perimeter where the end caps are located and where a majority of discounted items can be found. Don't forget to make your way to the back of the store where the clearance merchandise is located.

2. Know when to go. Does the store offer senior or military discount days? If so (and it applies to you), plan to do your shopping on those days to maximize your savings.

3. Shop on a weekday. By shopping mid-week you will fight fewer crowds and get more assistance from sales staff if necessary. Also shopping between the hours of 9 am and 5 pm, while most office workers are still on the job, leaves the isles freer for you to browse.

4. Dress comfortably. Wear shoes and clothing that are easy to slip in and out of so you can easily try things on and spend less time in the dressing room.

5. Plan ahead. If you see something you know you'll eventually need, like holiday or formal wear, buying it now will save you lots of money down the road.

6. Be patient. If you find an item you want but it isn't discounted deeply enough for your budget, return in a week or two. The price should have dropped by then--if the item isn't sold out completely.

Remember, the keys to discount shopping are persistence & patience. Shop frequently and buy when the price is right.

If you have questions or suggestions for a future Better Beauty Blog, email Kelly at

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Fall After 5 & Monogram Launch Party at Banana Republic

Join me on Thursday, Aug 13 from 6:00 – 9:00 p.m. at the International Mall’s Banana Republic in Tampa as we celebrate the launch of their new monogram line. Attendees will receive 25% off all purchases of regular price merchandise (plus an additional 5% if you use your BR card) of $100 or more, and preview the exciting new Monogram collection. Tea will be served by Hooker Tea Co. from St. Pete. For more details, call (813) 348-0952.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Great Places for Generational Getaways

When many people think of generational getaways, they may envision the nightmare vacation experienced by the Griswold family in the Chevy Chase movie Vacation. (grandma on the car roof and the dog accidentally left tied to the car). But getaways with various generations don’t have to be so traumatic. Many people think a great generational vacation is piling the entire family into an RV and driving across the country. Not a wonderful idea for most of us. Because of all the different ages, generational getaways are typically better when the participants go to and stay in one place versus the added stress of being confined in a small space and packing/unpacking several time.

The one exception is a cruise. My family did a Caribbean cruise a few years ago for my grandparents’ anniversary. Ages ranged from 75 to 10 years of age. It worked really well because everyone could go at their own pace, yet we still came together as a group during key times like dinner.

As far as destinations, I love traveling to historic places with any senior travelers who accompany me. I learn a lot from their past history, knowledge and experience and I get a whole new appreciation for the historical attributes of the area.

Great places for this are Europe, Boston, Charleston, St Augustine and Washington, DC.

The entire continent of Europe is full of culture and history, so you cannot go wrong (Greece, Italy, France, Spain, Germany). It is also a great place to trace your family’s roots, which makes for a fantastic generational getaway experience.

In Boston, check out a Red Sox game at Fenway Park, take in the natural world at the New England Aquarium, and walk the Boston Freedom Trail where you’ll see Paul Revere’s house and the Benjamin Franklin statue.

In the Southeastern U.S., Charleston has strong historical roots with unique places to visit such as Middleton Place and Fort Sumter National Monument. It also offers carriage rides, which are fun ways to see the sights for kids of any age.

Aside from the lovely Florida beaches, St Augustine, America’s oldest city offers many cultural and historical attractions for every generation, such as Fountain of Youth Discovery Park and the Oldest House, as well as many annual events throughout the year.

There is no better place for U.S. history that our nation’s capital. All 19 of Washington's Smithsonian museums are free. At the Air and Space Museum, kids of all ages enjoy climbing into the nose of a Boeing 747 jumbo jet or touching a piece "lunar moon."
No matter where your generational getaway takes you, be sure there is a variety of activities for all ages and all attendees are well aware of what the trip entails. Have fun!