BOLTONLANDING-It was three days of inspiration, adventure and friendship for the almost 200 women who attended the Girlfriends Getaway this weekend.
The event, sponsored by the Bolton Landing Chamber of Commerce, was held Friday, May 13 through Sunday, May 15 at The Sagamore Resort. The attendance was about double the number at last year's debut edition.
Keynote speakers Marcie Frasier, of YNN News, and Benita Zahn, of WNYT News Channel 13, both delivered powerful talks on the importance of listening to one's inner strength and the need to take care of yourself not just physically, but also mentally and emotionally.
"How long do we hang onto things that don't nurture us, or feed us?" Zahn asked. "Every morning take a little look - What's in your heart that's not allowing you to bring something else or someone else in?"
For the second year since it was founded, the event drew women of all ages and backgrounds from across the Northeast to Bolton, where they could participate in a variety of fitness classes, like Zumba, and learn how to tap into their inner voice with workshops like meditation.
But it wasn't all a matter of attending serious seminars. The women had plenty of time just to relax and take a little time to have fun with their friends, as well as meet new ones.
Many were treated to makeovers during cocktail hour - and then Saturday, they enjoyed a fashion show featuring some of the most popular women's, men's and children's outfits to be seen this summer.
Each night local restaurants were filled with attendees taking advantage of the special meals offered. Many of the women stayed well into the night talking, sharing laughs and listening to live music.
Girlfriends Getaway organizer Wauneata Waller said she was pleased with this year's event and the positive energy the women brought to the town even when Mother Nature threw them a "curve ball" of intermittent rain. She said she heard plenty of rave reviews and feedback about the presenters, the workshops, the luncheon, the fashion show and no one complained about the weather.
"My real reward came when I visited the downtown businesses Saturday evening and I kept running into our 'girlfriends' while they were shopping, dining and taking photos," she said. "They had smiles on their faces the entire weekend."
Waller credited the event's success to the participation of local businesses and individuals - in the fashion show, by donating coupons and items for the welcome bags, extending business hours, offering refreshments, and providing services like kayaking, paddleboarding and hiking.
"This is a real community effort," she said.
Michelle Maskaly is a multimedia journalist and social media freelancer.