Three days, two nights, twelve women. Snowshoeing, fat biking, sharing meals. Trying new activities, meeting new friends. Taking a pause from the press of work and family and life to reset and refresh.
This, in a nutshell, is what the first Aquariana Women’s Winter Retreat Weekend, held January 25-27, 2019, at Pierce’s Inn in Etna, New Hampshire, was.
That first night, Friday, nine women gathered over plates of co-owner Bruce Lingelbach’s home-cooked build-your-own taco/burrito with all the fixins (with special attention to guests’ dietary restrictions) around an intimate table, lit by the glow of four white candles, in the boot room of Pierce’s Inn. Most of us had never met before. But within minutes the energy of community was almost tangible. That vibe of relaxed camaraderie, of friends who’ve only just met, began that night and continued the next day when three more new friends joined us for a day of fat biking and snowshoeing.
Saturday afternoon, we relaxed with massages, chatted by the fire, and received insight from a Tarot reader.,
Mornings began with yoga on Saturday and a guided mindfulness practice on Sunday.
Saturday night was a special treat. Co-owner, Cindy Pierce, guided a snowshoe hike on site up to a fire pit/snow bench built by Bruce where we sat and enjoyed Cindy’s comedic storytelling. Lots of laughs under the stars on this clear, starry night.
Weekends like this, where women are able to come together, away from the responsibilities and pressure of their regular lives, have a way of creating friendships that last far beyond the close of the event.
That vibe of community and bonding is something the Aquariana planning committee hoped to achieve. It was our objective. But would we achieve it? We couldn’t know until our guests arrived and the weekend began. It turned out, the answer is yes, beyond our wildest hopes, judging by the comments of participants.
“Everything is perfect,” exclaimed Jill. “You thought of everything!”
Why did we create Aquariana? Because women deserve to have experiences like this, and we shouldn’t have to fight an internal battle about how to justify it.
“Women often feel they don’t deserve to go away or spend money on something like this,” Jacky said. “I admit, I’ve been a little like that myself. But then I said, ‘blow it,’ and I signed up.”
Special thanks to the fourth member of the planning committee, Sherry Fiore, the most capable woman we know! She graciously accepted our invitation to join the committee and helped organize this event, but perhaps her greatest contribution was the creation of the best swag bags ever!
A Special Plug for New England Dirt
We were excited and honored to have Mountain Bike Ben join us from his Podcast, New England Dirt. Like us, Ben recognizes the need for events like this to help grow the women’s cycling community. Ben’s endorsement means the world to us and we’d like to share his podcast of Aquariana with you. Ben did a great job conveying the energy of the event. Please listen and enjoy!