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Santa Fe, Amsterdam for women's weekend

I recently asked readers to recommend cities that would make a good weekend getaway for a group of women. Am I glad I asked. A huge number of readers responded, representing a range that could keep women friends map-hopping for years. Among the emails I recieved are the following: 

"My first suggestion is a trip to Savannah. Georgia.  It is gracious, historical and lovely.  As is Charleston South Carolina also. Another suggestion is a trip to Amsterdam.  It is visitor friendly with great museums and sights."

"Hands down I recommend Charleston, S.C.  It is a beautiful, very compact, walkable city.  The streets are filled with picturesque homes, gardens and American history.  In the early days Charleston was one of the four largest cities in the country and THE center of wealth and culture.  Signs of this still remain.  Walking tours abound as do horse-drawn carriage rides and culinary tours.  The food is to die for and most restaurants have hidden garden patios.  Sightseeing cruises in the harbor and to Fort Sumter are available.  Shopping can be high end, or hand crafted at the extensive market.    There is an aquarium and museum within walking distance.  A short car ride away is an extensive maritime complex at Patriot’s point.  A bit further are plantations with gardens that are indescribably beautiful in early April when the azaleas are in bloom.  The climate is mild all year, though quite humid in summer.  The ONLY down side is that  I’m not aware of any nonstop flights to Charleston."

"Four of us went to Charleston, S.C. a few years ago just at the beginning of magnolia blossom time.  The gardens....beautiful! We stayed on the beach too.  Best of both worlds.Just got back from Tulip Time in Holland, MI.  Would be great for families or girls weekend."

"I would suggest Charleston, SC. If the group stayed in the Historic District, they could walk most everywhere. The city itself is beautiful and the preserved homes in the HD are gorgeous. There are great walking tours to see the city and the houses and learn about Charleston’s storied past. If they prefer not to walk so much or want to see more, there are horse drawn carriage rides throughout the city for the same purpose. Many of the homes are privately owned, but several historic homes are open for tours too. The group could take a old plantation tour (highly recommended), do some shopping on King Street and the food & bar scene is great! It’s a charming city that would be perfect for a 'girls trip.'"

"Just returned from a girl’s weekend at Savannah, GA. A true walking city.Southwest to start direct flights this August."

"Three of us retired teachers went to Albuquerque, NM, for a week in March and rented a house through VRBO. It was located in northeastern part of the city - Sandia Heights area.  The location was ideal.  We spent a day in Old Town, a day in Santa Fe, a day driving the Turquoise Trail, a day at the aquarium and botanic garden, and a day driving to Bernalillo (stopping at the Ponderosa Winery).   There are some incredible restaurants in the area - La Plazuela in the LaFonda Hotel in Santa Fe, the Range Cafe in Bernalillo, the Standard Diner on Route 66 near Old Town Albuquerque, the Holler in Madrid along the Turquoise Trail, the Church Street Cafe in Old Town Albuqeurque and many many more."

"I’d recommend Santa Fe, New Mexico.  The city is very compact and walkable.  There are many beautiful art galleries to wander, and many other art events (dance, theater).  The food is outstanding, and there are some terrific Southwest cooking classes to take, at the Santa Fe of School of Cooking, with top regional chefs.  Lots of nice wine bars and coffee shops too."

"New York City was our first big adventure.  We stayed at a small hotel on Manhatten Island.  Saw a play, United Nations building, Statue of Liberty, did the hop on-hop off bus tour, Central Park and of course eating and shopping.Two years later we went to Vancouver, Canada.  Stayed in a corner suite in downtown Vancouver that had floor to ceiling windows overlooking the city.  Took a boat to Victoria Island to see the gardens, and the Island.  Shopping and eating.  We also played a lot of bridge in our beautiful hotel suite and, since we are from different parts of the country, just enjoy being together."

"My first suggestion is a trip to Savannah, Georgia.  It is gracious, historical and lovely.  As is Charleston South Carolina also. Another suggestion is a trip to Amsterdam.  It is visitor friendly with great museums and sights."

Thank you all for replying.    

Lilacs and rhubarb bars at Boomerville Lodge

Lilacs are still in bloom at Boomerville Lodge, a 6½-acre farm-turned-event center in Cold Spring, Minn. That makes winding through the Lilac Labyrinth there a total sensory experience, complete with purple blooms and a lovely scent in the air. Benches await at the labyrinth’s center.

The Lilac Labyrinth is a springtime highlight, but there is also a game called “Rainbow Hoops,” in which participants kick a soccer ball through a hoop in a golf-like game, and there are adult tricycles and vintage bikes for use on paved trails. After the Running of the Rhubarb, a bike race around the track, the winner gets the biggest piece of rhubarb bar.

“We boomers are supposed to keep moving, right?” said Mike Nistler, who owns and operates Boomerville, which is just a few miles off Interstate 94. “I figure if you can make moving fun, that’s half the battle.”

Boomerville, about 80 miles from the Twin Cities, includes a spacious wood-paneled building with a bar, kitchen and library, all filled with vintage charm. Visits there are by appointment only. Reservations are available in three shifts, Monday through Friday: 8-10:30 a.m., 1-3:30 p.m. and 6:30-9 p.m.; the afternoon is reserved for larger groups (1-320-293-4058;

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