Getting Away with the Girls
Living it up at Lake of the Ozarks, MO
By Jackie Tucker
Everyone knows that Lake of the Ozarks is the Midwest’s premier lake-resort destination. Readers of USA Today’s 10Best have voted it the Best Recreational Lake in the nation. But it also ranks high as the perfect girlfriends’ getaway. With distinctive shopping, the region’s best wines and no shortage of fun in the sun, it hits every necessary indulgence required for me and my squad to relax and do some serious sisterhood bonding.
After a couple of rough weeks of drowning in emails, back-to-back meetings and after-hours work calls, I was ready for a much-needed break. So, I called my two best friends, Holly and Natalie, and we headed to the lake, ready for a weekend of pampering and making memories.
We checked into our hotel, Camden on the Lake Resort, and quickly settled into our suite. Holly and Natalie teased me for bringing an extra, empty suitcase, but I had plans to fill it with an afternoon of shopping.
Our first stop was Osage Beach Premium Outlets. We’re best friends, but the three of us have somewhat different styles, and the outlet’s more than 110 stores offered selections that checked off all our preferences. Natalie, who we like to call the coupon queen, hunted down the sales, and we discovered great discounts at high-end stores such as Banana Republic, Loft Outlet, Calvin Klein and Coach, where I found my new favorite purse.
It didn’t take long for us to fill our shopping bags with cute shoes, accessories and a darling new swimsuit that I couldn’t wait to wear on the lake the next day. Holly, always the planner, even got a jump-start on Christmas shopping for her seven nieces and nephews at Carter’s, Gymboree and Justice.
Not quite ready to call it quits, we headed down to The Corner Boutique. Tucked away behind the square in Camdenton, owner Debbie Lotz has created a unique and charming shopping experience that includes quality stylish clothing that you won’t find anywhere else. Plus, there is an outdoor beer garden! We grabbed a frosty glass while browsing the trendy selection of clothing and accessories. I had no problem finding those last few items to finish filling up my extra suitcase.
Sunsets and wine
All that shopping really worked up an appetite, and we were ready for dinner. While trying to decide where to eat, Natalie’s only stipulation was that we have a view of the lake to watch the sunset. I’d read great reviews about Shawnee Bluff Winery’s outdoor seating, so we decided to try it out.
We were not disappointed. High up on a hill, the winery’s deck overlooked the lake, and the food was truly amazing. I ordered the tequila-lime fish tacos, which were to die for. Holly enjoyed a brick-oven flatbread pizza with kalamata olives, sundried tomatoes and feta cheese, and Natalie savored a juicy steak.
Our waiter suggested two of their signature wines to go with our meal—a Pinot Grigio that had refreshing hints of pear, white nectarine and apple, and a Merlot with black cherry and plum flavors, and just the right amount of tannins to make your cheeks tingle. The Merlot was my favorite, and I raised a glass to toast my friends. As we watched the sun set over the lake, filling the sky with gorgeous pinks and oranges, the last traces of stress from my workweek melted away.
On the water
I purchased a bottle of that delicious Merlot from Shawnee Bluff Winery to take with us on the boat the following day, because you can’t go to the lake and not get on the water. BomBay Boat Rental Company had a convenient rental location near our hotel, and we opted for the Cobalt 220 ski boat. Holly grew up on the water, so she took the helm, which meant all Natalie and I had to do was sit back and enjoy the ride.
The boat was perfect for the three of us. It had the luxury and comfort of a larger boat and was an ideal ride for a day out on the lake—a fun-loving skip across the water but smooth enough that we didn’t spill our drinks. While working on our tans, we reminisced about our summer vacations to the lake as kids and laughed until our sides hurt remembering those summer crushes and how we couldn’t wait to grow up.
Wrapping it up at the spa
What better way to end a girls’ getaway than a visit to the spa? Camden on the Lake’s incredible in-house spa, Spa 54, offered several relaxing services, and we couldn’t wait to try them out. An elegant water and rock wall feature greeted us as we entered the spa. Soft, tranquil music drifted from the speakers, and I felt an immediate sense of calm and serenity.
Holly and Natalie both opted for facials, but I chose the Rosemary Mint Awakening Body Wrap. The description on the menu said it was a revitalizing dry body wrap that would renew my body and mind with essences of rosemary and mint. Renewing the body and mind—that’s exactly what I needed. After our treatments, the three of us finished things off with a pedicure. As we were waiting for our nails to dry, I looked over at Holly and Natalie, grateful for the time I’d had to reconnect with these dear friends who keep me grounded and happy.
Check out 10 free things to add to your next getaway in Lake of the Ozarks.