Is it your turn to plan the annual ladies weekend getaway or bachelorette weekend?
You want to plan a memorable weekend, but it can be difficult to find just the right place to stay and something entertaining to do. After nine years of hosting ladies weekend groups like yours, I am going to try to answer all of your questions about planning a ladies weekend in Lake Erie Wine Country. We are located just 18 miles east of downtown Erie, PA in the quaint town of North East, PA.
WHERE TO STAY
Once you stay in a vacation rental home with your friends you may never want to stay in a hotel again. There’s something to be said for sitting around a campfire with a glass of wine, hanging out family-style in your pajamas, sharing a cup of coffee in the morning, and making meals together. These rituals in the comfort and privacy of a home allow maximum catching up time when you are not out exploring.
Bed and breakfasts and hotels can make economical sense for small groups who only need one room. There are plenty of lodging options for smaller groups in Lake Erie Wine Country. But when your group needs more than one room, the economics and the comforts of staying in a clean, stylish, and well-stocked home are numerous.
WHAT TO DO
Ladies groups love touring our local wineries. We are located in North East, Pennsylvania just 18 miles east of downtown Erie, in the heart of Lake Erie Wine Country. 10 wineries are located within 8 miles of our vacation homes. What does a typical weekend itinerary look like?
Many of our ladies groups arrive on a Friday evening and use Friday night as a fun night to catch-up — or they schedule an in-home event such as one of the events listed below. Dinner can be as simple as each person bringing an appetizer to share, ordering pizza for delivery from Michael’s, or going out to a nearby restaurant such as Noosa North East located 1.4 miles away at the North East Marina. What makes Noosa special is their incredible view overlooking the marina and Lake Erie. Sunset watching from here is spectacular. But you don’t need to go anywhere to watch our fabulous sunsets.The lake entrance is just 30 to 100 steps from our cottage rentals, and you can take a cup of wine to enjoy as you watch the sun set. Once the sun dips below the horizon, stay a little longer and enjoy the “afterglow” of colorful sky and enjoy a camp fire at the beach.
Saturday is winery touring day. The energetic ones among your group can wake up early and take a long walk or bike ride on our beautiful country roads. Or, schedule a private yoga class for your group at the cottage. Hang out together with morning coffee while preparing for the wine tour. A fun breakfast can include an assortment of custom donuts from the Little Shop of Donuts. Pick a handful of wineries to visit and think about where to stop for lunch during your tour. Several wineries offer food: Presque Isle Wine Cellars has it’s own restaurant inside. Yori Wine Cellars is adjacent to Michael’s Restaurant. South Shore Wine Company has a seasonal cafe with outdoor screened in porch seating that is usually open from mid-May to mid-October. You definitely don’t want to go wine tasting on an empty stomach! The Skunk & Goat Tavern is a fun place for dinner. A favorite restaurant of the locals is Johnny B’s Restaurant where the soups, sauces, and most of the food is made from scratch. Don’t forget to gather at the lake for the sunset and gather around a campfire at the lake or at the cottage.
Wineries are generally open in the range of 10 to 11am and close between 4 to 5pm. The opening and closing times depend on the winery and the season. It’s especially important to check opening times for your first winery and closing time for your last winery. Yori Wine Cellars in the shopping district of North East is open until 8pm daily. So keep that in mind as you make your plans. You could hit them up before or after dinner any day.
Sunday morning is a great time to do the North East Food Tour. If the scheduled dates for the tour do not work for you, reach out to the owner to inquire about other dates or times.
PRIVATE IN-HOME EVENTS
Fun ideas for your weekend can also include private events offered to you in-home. All of these instructors listed below are familiar with my rental homes.
— a private yoga class. A yoga instructor can customize a class to your needs and location: in the home, in the yard, or at the beach. You can choose from a gentle Restorative, Yin, or traditional Hatha. Or, have you always wanted to try yoga and would like a beginner class? Talk to the instructor, Michelle Bielanin, 814-602-2470, who can accommodate your needs. Approximate rate: $75 per class.
— a private wine glass painting or canvas class. You pick the theme. See my Pinterest page for theme ideas or dream up your own idea. Approximate rate: $25 per person for two wine glasses, supplies, and guided class. Tamara Maas is my favorite instructor for this. Call her directly to arrange your class at 814-434-5094.
— a custom cooking class. You pick the theme or menu or ask for ideas. To make dinner easy, hire Meghan Mehler, a local professor and owner of The Cooking School, to bring the food to you and show you how to prepare. Learn more about The Cooking School experience. Call Meghan directly to arrange for your class.
— a traveling masseuse who comes to you!
ANNUAL WINE COUNTRY EVENTS
Some groups like to visit on non-event weekend to avoid the crowds and get more personalized attention at the wineries. Lake Erie Wine Country wineries are open year round except for major holidays. Other groups like to visit during the popular wine country event weekends which include:
North East Chamber of Commerce’s Annual WineFest in late September. My tips for this event, the largest wine celebration in our area, are to book your lodging as early as possible. And, buy your tickets online in advance of the event for a discount.
Lake Erie Wine Country Events calendar offers events throughout the year. Some ticketed events include wine and food pairings at all 24 of the Lake Erie Wine Country member wineries. These annual events include:
- Harvest Wine Fest on the first two weekends of November
- Wine & Chocolate Weekend around Valentine’s Day
- Wine & Cheese Weekend in May.
Many of the local wineries offer their own events like walks through the vineyard and live music events. See the Lake Erie Wine Country calendar for events on the weekend of your stay.
The North East Chamber of Commerce also offers Uncorked, typically an April weekend, it’s a themed wine walk event. Dressing for the theme makes this a really fun event for ladies groups.
HOW TO GET AROUND
If you do not have a designated driver, consider hiring a driver. You can hire an Uber driver to take you around for the day. One local driver who has expressed interest in this is Brian Holler 814.923.7515.
Limousine service is also available through La Grand Elite.
While many bachelorettes are breaking the bank for their pre-wedding weekend, a visit to Lake Erie Wine Country can be memorable and affordable.
Transportation — We are a two hour or less drive from Pittsburgh, Buffalo, and Cleveland. Avoiding airfare can go a long way to reducing the cost of your weekend.
Lodging — 2 night stay (fall, winter, spring) at Clement’s Lake Erie Cottages for up to eight people = $525 + 6% tax. This cost includes exit cleaning, bed linens, towels, WiFi, and a fully-stocked kitchen. Our goal is to minimize the amount of items you need to pack. This cost, split over your group, is very reasonable. Staying in a home can also help you cut down on your food costs, coffee, and entertainment.
Food — Food costs will depend on whether you eat in or out. But generally speaking, the restaurants in a small town like North East are reasonably priced compared to larger cities. Planning for a few meals at home can help keep costs down. Dining out in a small town also helps keep costs down compared to big cities.
Wine Tasting — Touring the wineries is a super fun and affordable experience. For example, the rate for wine tasting at Lakeview Wine Cellars is $1 for 3 samples and $2 for 6. At Yori Wine Cellars, the rate is $2 for 6 samples. At the three Mazza Wineries, the cost of wine tasting is $2 for 3 samples and $4 for 6. Of course, you may find a great bottle of wine or a few that you must buy. That’s the whole idea of wine tasting. Take some home with you.
Driver — If you hire a driver or limo service for your tour, you’ll need to factor that cost in as well.
DISTANCE FROM PITTSBURGH, BUFFALO, CLEVELAND, COLUMBUS
Check out the distance from your location to ours using this address: 136 3rd Ave, North East, PA 16428.
If you have any additional questions about how to plan your ladies weekend, feel free to contact me. Lynne Clement at firstname.lastname@example.org or text me at 814-566-4722 for quickest reply.
My availability calendars are on my website at www.ClementsLakeErieCottages.com. Scroll through each listing to see the calendars.