“The Girls” Gather in Greenwood, MS

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"The Girls" — Right, back row:Dawn Schulz, Megan O’Neal, Terrie Elkins, Leslie Rikard, Johnnie Copeland; front row: Katie Combs, Robin Wright, Shana Hopper, Kristi Steelman, Joyce Cameron.
“The Girls” — Right, back row:Dawn Schulz, Megan O’Neal, Terrie Elkins, Leslie Rikard, Johnnie Copeland; front row: Katie Combs, Robin Wright, Shana Hopper, Kristi Steelman, Joyce Cameron.

 

By Joyce Cameron

After three months of coordinating the busy schedules of 10 women, we finally booked a two-night girlfriend getaway in Greenwood, Mississippi to celebrate Shana Hopper’s 40th birthday. Greenwood, Mississippi?? When I first heard that our destination was Greenwood, I thought Megan O’Neal had lost her mind. What could possibly be in Greenwood? I started researching, and we were in for a pleasant surprise and a wonderful adventure.

Shana Hopper enjoys her birthday cake.
Shana Hopper enjoys her birthday cake.

Our eclectic group of 10 women, ranging in age from 31 to 58, gathered in Greenwood from different areas of Arkansas. We were all friends of Shana’s, but many of us had never met. Robin Wright and Megan O’Neal are agents with Shana at Arkansas Farm Bureau. Leslie Rikard is the wife of a fellow Farm Bureau agent from Little Rock. Terrie Elkins, Kristi Steelman, Johnnie Copeland, Katie Combs, Dawn Schulz, and myself (Joyce Cameron) are friends of Shana’s from Mountain Home. Lookout Greenwood, Mississippi! Here we come!

Greenwood is home to the award-winning cosmopolitan boutique hotel, The Alluvian. We spent two nights in this beautiful hotel in rooms that showcased old world charm and ambiance. The hotel features a renowned and elegant spa. We took advantage of several blissful treatments upon our Friday arrival, plus champagne and lunch. Reservations are advised, and I suggest a spa/hotel package.

The room I shared with Kristi Steelman was gorgeously appointed with a marble bathroom and plush robes. It had a cozy area that, after a day at the spa, was perfect for our first evening soiree of appetizers and wine. Then we headed to dinner at Giardina’s, right next to the hotel. Founded in 1936, it is one of the Mississippi Delta’s oldest restaurants. Our seating area was sectioned off by a wall and curtain, creating privacy. Our server, named Queen, made the evening exceedingly special and extra fun with her exuberant personality. She brought the chef to our table for introductions, and he offered to open and prepare for us fresh fish that was not on the menu. We ate well, drank excellent wine, and I laughed until my cheeks hurt. If laughing is good for the soul, then each of us got our dose for the night!

Spa time — Megan, Shana, Megan, Leslie, Katie, Johnnie, Kristi.
Spa time — Megan, Shana, Megan, Leslie, Katie, Johnnie, Kristi.

On Saturday morning we ate a southern-style breakfast spread at the hotel with “the best biscuits I had ever had…fit for a queen,” Kristi said. After breakfast, all 10 of us went shopping together. Picture 10 women trying to stay together while shopping. “It was like herding cats,” according to Dawn Schulz! Within walking distance from our hotel, this southern town offered quaint, eclectic stores in the downtown area. Turnrow Book Co. features meet-and-greets with authors and always has signed copies of assorted books. Smith & Company Outfitters has beautiful, fun clothing and a charming staff. At Mississippi Gift Company, we found pottery, food, and gift items made in Mississippi. These stores, along with many others, offered a shopping extravaganza for all of us. Leslie Rikard was thrilled with the teacher gifts she purchased at Mississippi Gift company because wrapping was included.

Delta Bistro served us a delicious lunch on Saturday with a lovely presentation. After lunch, we had a few hours of free time for relaxing, napping, or more shopping before attending our 5 p.m. cooking class. I chose to walk around town off the main street and explore the old cotton market area.

The Alluvian and The Viking Cooking School offer unique cooking packages. We chose a class called Date Night: Special Occasion. We were grouped 3-4 per kitchen and assigned prep tasks. We diced, chopped, sauteed, and stirred our own dinner. Oh, and we drank wine while doing all of this! Our kitchen prep resulted in a dinner of lobster bisque, filet mignon stuffed with spinach and Boursin cheese, baby greens with candied pine nuts and champagne vinaigrette, frites, and white chocolate cherry cheesecake. What an enjoyable evening cooking and meeting others who attended the cooking school! Leaving the school, we returned to our hotel’s elegant lobby for gift opening by our birthday girl.

At the Viking Cooking School — Johnnie, Katie, Megan, Kristi, Shana, Robin, Leslie, Terrie, Dawn, Joyce.
At the Viking Cooking School — Johnnie, Katie, Megan, Kristi, Shana, Robin, Leslie, Terrie, Dawn, Joyce.

Greenwood is about five hours from Mountain Home, an easy drive. It was the filming location of The Help. It has a charming Main Street that left each of us with the illusion that every Greenwood moment and experience was ours alone.

Sometime during the weekend, we became known around The Alluvian as “the girls.” Friendship was created and enhanced; life was shared and discussed. Lifelong memories were made. “The girls” text occasionally about a laugh or moment we shared during our girlfriend getaway, a great wine we tried, or to say ‘thinking of each of you.’ Friends, long-time and new, thank you for sharing your time and yourself with me. Until life brings us together again, here’s a salute to my friend Shana’s birthday getaway. M! April/Mary 2016

 

 

 

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