Participating in the recent Lake George Chamber of Commerce award presentation honoring Girlfriends’ Getaway, were (left to right): Chamber Board of Directors President Jephson Hilary, Girlfriends’ Getaway founder Wauneata Waller, Chamber board Vice President Janice Fox, and Chamber Executive Director Michael Consuelo.
The organizer of a weekend women’s retreat that has introduced hundreds of visitors to the Lake George region has been awarded for masterminding the effort.
Both Girlfriends’ Getaway and its founder Wauneata Waller of Bolton Landing were honored recently by the Lake George Regional Chamber of Commerce for the successful event that is now four years old.
Waller was presented with the Lake George Chamber’s STAR Trophy — the acronym standing for Supporting Tourism in the Adirondack Region. Waller is an event organizer with the Bolton Landing Chamber of Commerce.
Girlfriends’ Getaway is held annually in May over Mother’s Day weekend at The Sagamore Resort.
The event focuses on wellness, beauty and fashion, friendship, fitness, inspiration and adventure. The Getaway was an immediate success in its debut year, 2010.
Lake George Chamber of Commerce Vice President Janice Fox presented the award to Waller at the Lake George Chamber’s year-end banquet held Oct. 22 at the Dunham’s Bay Resort.
Fox, proprietor of the Adirondack Cotton Co. boutique in Bolton Landing, has helped nurture the event, co-sponsored by Warren County Tourism Department.
Waller said this week that idea for the Girlfriends’ Getaway stemmed from her attending and enjoying a women’s wellness weekend held years ago at The Sagamore Resort. She and others affiliated with the Chamber decided to revive the concept and expand it. Waller and friends then worked to develop a lineup of activities that have included everything from kayaking, hiking and scavenger hunts to tai chi, zumba yoga, nutrition and consciousness-raising sessions.
Annually, between 100 and 200 women travel from the Capital Region, Manhattan and all over the northeast U.S. to participate in Girlfriends’ Getaway.
Among those giving inspirational talks during the Getaway weekends have been WNYT television news personality Benita Zahn and YNN-TV health and fitness reporter Marcie Fraser, both noted motivational speakers.
Waller praised The Sagamore for their collaboration and hospitality in hosting Girlfriends’ Getaway, and she and Fox credited the local businesses for their similar outreach in providing discounts, receptions, door prizes and special offerings.
“So many people have gotten involved, embraced the event in an effort to stimulate off-season business in town,” Fox said. “The goal is to highlight the area and the wonderful, unique Main Street we have in Bolton.”
Fox added that at least 30 businesses involved in the Lake George Chamber participate in the event as vendors or exhibitors, and that many restaurants extend special deals and various motels and inns extend discounted room rates for Getaway attendees.
This next year, featured presenters at Girlfriends’ Getaway are Josh Kilmer-Purcell and Brent Ridge, known internationally as The Fabulous Beekman Boys. The couple stars in a reality television show that chronicles their challenges as novice farmers in upstate New York. Waller said she is also negotiating with a star of a popular television series to give a presentation for the 2014 edition of Girlfriends Getaway.
In accepting the award, Waller deferred credit to the workshop presenters that have participated.
“We have such a great number of talented people in our area,” she said. “We don’t have to go very far to get great talent to keep the weekend’s presentations exciting and fresh.”
Waller, an Adirondack Journal columnist, added that her greatest satisfaction has come from Getaway attendees being introduced to the beauty of Lake George and the many amenities of the region.
“I hear first-hand that so many women who have attended fall in love with the area, and bring their families back here — that’s what we want to hear,” she said.
Lake George Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Michael Consuelo praised Waller, Fox and others who’ve worked to make Girlfriends Getaway such a success.
“I applaud them for their efforts,” he said.
Waller said she was pleased with the STAR award — on behalf of all those who work on coordinating the event.
“It’s really an honor for our event to be recognized as having an impact on local tourism,” she said.