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Foursome lets their hair down on a girlfriends’ getaway to Nevada border town.
Photo: Oscar Martinez (Valley of Fire State Park)
“I so need this!”
This is what four friends exclaimed in unison as we met at the Reno-Tahoe International Airport one Friday for a much-needed weekend getaway to Mesquite. We were on an adventure—cell phones turned off, emails unanswered, and office deadlines looming…but we didn’t have to worry about that until Monday. This group of girlfriends was long overdue for a short escape from a clingy toddler, an upcoming wedding, a finalized divorce, and a job hunt—in other words, an escape from life.
One of the few destinations in Nevada to advertise “girlfriends’ getaways,” Mesquite attracted us with its mix of all things girly and gritty. The city’s three big hotels, CasaBlanca, Virgin River, and Oasis, offer vacation packages that appeal to the warrior and princess in every woman. We wanted to flex our muscles in the great outdoors before subjecting them to deep-tissue massages.
Since there are no flights to Mesquite, we flew into Las Vegas and took the opportunity to start the weekend with some good old-fashioned girlfriend fun: shopping. There were some serious sales at the Las Vegas Outlet Center to conquer. Fortified by Bloody Marys and a plate of nachos, we hit the sales racks like the warriors we are and walked away victorious and unscathed, although our credit cards suffered a blow or two.
About an hour-long drive northeast of Las Vegas, Mesquite is a peaceful and welcome respite, and our goal was to relax and rejuvenate. Our trip took us 79 miles from Las Vegas on Interstate 15 to the Nevada-Arizona border, where sandstone and sagebrush meet lush golf courses and sprawling resorts.
We checked into the corporate bungalow at the CasaBlanca and headed out to dinner. Take note: Staying off the beaten path can get you four-star experiences at three-star prices. The three-bedroom, three-bathroom, private-patio bungalow is a steal if you split the cost with friends, and the luxury was something we could never afford if we were in a major city. That evening we dined on oysters Rockefeller, king crab legs, perfectly prepared steaks, and bottomless glasses of wine at Katherine’s.
Gourmet food, exquisite wine, and a flaming coffee drink called the “Café Diablo” were a great way to start the weekend, but the next day it was time to get dirty. We were up early for our ATV tour through Valley of Fire State Park, where we discovered our inner wild child with a little help from open throttles and sandy trails. Local lore is that Valley of Fire got its name from the way the setting sun lights the scenery ablaze in fiery oranges and reds. The sand dunes, towering rock formations, and vast meadows draped in wildflowers were overwhelming to the senses. Conversation slowed to a standstill as we turned our heads from side to side, barely able to contain our “oohs” and “ahhs.”
Adrenaline ATV Tours is the only ATV company licensed to operate tours on the Logandale Trail System at Valley of Fire. In other words, they can take you places other companies wish they could. And owner Oscar Martinez loves to do just that. He let us test our newly discovered love of speed while pointing out the ancient petroglyphs carved into the towering red rocks. More than a tour leader, Martinez knows and loves the landscape like it’s an old friend, and he weaved great tales of history and geology into the day’s excursion.
Thoroughly dirty and dusty, we returned to the hotel just in time for our afternoon spa appointments. It’s remarkably easy to forget about bills, mortgages, crying babies, and bridal bouquets while having every worry kneaded out of your body one muscle at a time. You know you’re truly spoiled when you dine at not one, but two gourmet restaurants over the course of a weekend and order oysters Rockefeller at each—this time at Charmaine’s. We melted into bed that night, muscles soothed and appetites satisfied.
In the morning, we solemnly packed our bags and tried to justify calling in sick to extend the trip one more day. We knew it was time to head home, but we decided to end the weekend with a bang—literally. We stopped at Mesquite’s hidden treasure: the Oasis Gun Club. Armed with 20-gauge shotguns and a box of shells, we took aim at the targets that fly over the club’s pond and skeet range.
Exhausted and happy, we returned to our normal lives refreshed and feeling like women who still know how to have fun. For two and a half days in the desert oasis of Mesquite, we took the time to remember the carefree women we are underneath the spit-up, wedding dress, and corporate suits.
Bachelorettes Are Us Package at JW Marriott Las Vegas Resort & Spa
This ladies’ frolic begins with an airport pick up that whisks you away to a two-bedroom suite. Choose from a welcoming gift of high tea, champagne, and chocolate, or pick girlfriend robes for everyone. Don’t forget the $400 dinner credit at Shizen. Start the next morning right with a breakfast buffet in Ceres and then relax poolside enjoying some quiet reflection or catch up on the latest gossip in the comfort of your own private cabana. After lunch at the pool, enjoy six hours with a personal driver and car service to take you power shopping, sightseeing, and to a show such as “Mamma Mia.” Day three offers breakfast in Ceres before a private morning fitness class. Then it’s time to say ahhh! Spa Day in the Aquae Sulis Spa includes two treatments, with your choice of massage and facial. Lunch is outdoors by the spa pool, followed by afternoon Wine Down Pedicures including a special cheese plate and wine. Dinner is in-room, served up with a movie. Guests are allowed up to a $400 food and beverage credit. After breakfast on day four, it’s time, unfortunately, to be transported to the airport and back to the real world. The Bachelorettes Are Us Package starts at $4,248. jwlasvegasresort.com, 702-869-7717
Adrenaline ATV Tours
Oasis Gun Club
897 Mesquite Blvd., Mesquite
800-21-OASIS, ext. 3729
(see resort contact info)
Outdoor pools with private bungalows shadowed by towering palm trees. A full-service spa and salon menu with special couples’ options.
WHERE TO STAY
CasaBlanca Resort, Casino, & Spa
950 W. Mesquite Way, Mesquite
Oasis Resort & Casino
897 Mesquite Blvd., Mesquite
Virgin River Hotel & Casino
100 Pioneer Blvd., Mesquite
In CasaBlanca Resort, Casino, & Spa (see contact info)
Fine dining in a casual steakhouse atmosphere.
In Oasis Resort & Casino
(see contact info)
Gourmet dining in a quiet, intimate setting.
19th Hole Bar and Grill
550 S. Eldorado St., Mesquite
Casual bar food on a hill overlooking Mesquite and the surrounding mountains.