As time goes on and we get jobs, change jobs, get married, have kids, chauffeur kids to sports practice, remodel our houses, and take care of aging relatives, something happens. We lose time to connect—time to connect with our friends and with ourselves. My friends and I are only at the beginning of this journey, with new marriages and new babies, but we can already see it happening. Our monthly breakfast dates have diminished. Movie dates…well, getting out to see a movie twice a year is a miracle. When we do see each other it usually involves toddler playdates and really, how much ‘connecting’ can you get done when noses have to be wiped and endless questions answered?
If this sounds all too familiar, or you’re thinking to yourself, “Hey Amanda, just wait, it gets even harder to see your friends,” then I have a suggestion. Find a weekend, any weekend, grab your girlfriends (or guy friends, we’re not limiting here, guys!), and have a good old-fashioned sleepover—a sleepover at a hotel, with dinner and drinks, and no kids, no spouses, and no responsibilities.
Last summer, my girlfriends and I took to downtown Minneapolis for an overnight to celebrate 10 years of friendship. The kids were home with their dads and we had a seemingly endless stretch of hours to wear nice clothes, drink fancy drinks, eat good food, and talk about everything we wanted to talk about. It was a girls’ getaway yet we didn’t even have to go that far.
We started the evening at Graves 601, one of the nicest hotels in Minneapolis, which also ended up being one of the most inexpensive that weekend. (Tip: I actually checked in early and had the hotel room and cable TV all to myself for an hour an a half. Bed. Feet up. Heaven.) My girlfriend made a mixed CD, we pumped up the volume and got ready for our night out. Because we knew we’d fill the evening with (expensive) drinks, we went casual for dinner at Rock Bottom, though dinner at Kieran’s or The Loon were other casual possibilities nearby.
After dinner, we grabbed a cosmopolitan at Seven (try the plethora of sushi here for dinner, if that’s more your speed). Then we headed down the street to Le Meridien Chambers to have a couple more beverages. Because it was a beautiful June evening, we sat outside in the courtyard next to the fireplace. However, Chambers’ courtyard, turned into the Ice Chamber, is open in the winter too. A great, classy nightlife option year-round! After that we headed back to the hotel, but stopped for a late-night app and an old-fashioned drink at the hotel’s Bradstreet Craftshouse. A dimly lit, cozy space, Bradstreet was the perfect place to end our night. Serving up drinks from the early 1900s, you have a unique menu from which to choose—think Tom Collins and Sidecars. Since they didn’t have cosmos back in that day (no cranberry juice), our attentive server found a delicious equivalent for us.
We found ourselves zonked out at 2 a.m., and unfortunately our internal mom-clocks had us up fairly early still. But the tiredness was abated by the fun we had and the catching up we got do, as well as the lattes from downstairs. And while the plan is to celebrate 20 years of friendship not in Minnesota but on a beach somewhere, that doesn’t mean that between now and then we won’t carve out another few weekends to reconnect and rejuvenate. Maybe St. Paul next time? Or the North Shore? The possibilities are endless.