Men are great people, but as one I understand why a woman might occasionally prefer to travel solely in the company of other women. Sometimes while driving I pause as I’m explaining important things to my girlfriend such as how Elmer Keith invented the 44 Magnum or why Final Fantasy VI is better than Final Fantasy VII, and I look over to the right and see the poor woman trying to asphyxiate herself with a seatbelt. (It’s a two way street, of course: She starts droning about trivialities like her job or family and I veer right off the road.)

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When you want time away with just the girls, you want GirlTime Getaways. The local tour service is owned and operated by twin sisters Marci Turenne Hansen and Michelle Levin, who have loved traveling ever since their parents started packing them side by side in the family camper. Fifteen years ago the two realized how dearly they adore lining up fun trips and thought they could make their own business of it. They arranged the inaugural GirlTime Getaway shortly thereafter.

“You don’t have to be a mom to know what it’s like having ten irons in the fire,” said Marci. “A lot of women will shepherd everyone through a vacation only to realize they need another one when they get back home! But GirlTime takes care of everything, so our ladies can just meet us at the bus, sit back, and relax.

“The mystery of a vacation should be magical. The element of not knowing where you’re going, it’s like that feeling of climbing down the stairs on Christmas morning to see what you got. But because women are typically the ones who plan vacations, they don’t get to enjoy any surprises during them! Our itineraries are mysteries, so our guests only learn what they’re going to do right before they do it (unless they really want to know beforehand). 

“Even ladies who usually prefer being in control enjoy not knowing what the weekend has in store for them. We recently had one guest who was very anxious about the suspense of it all. 

By our first stop, she told us we could just drive her around a Sam’s Club parking lot and it would be the best day of her life.

“Our weekend itineraries can include any place we think will bring our guests joy: go-kart tracks, roller rinks, curling rinks, bowling alleys, wineries, breweries, cooking schools, dairy farms, cheese shops, soap factories, archery ranges, and even trap and pistol ranges! We never repeat a weekend itinerary, and we always try to feature at least one activity that will bring ladies out of their comfort zones. There’s no pressure to do anything you don’t want to, and there’s no pressure to do anything well, either, but most women are surprised by how well they can do something entirely new to them!”

Piling onto a coach full of family and friends to embark on an intriguing campaign of weekend fun throughout the tristate area is the cat’s pajamas. The GirlTime Getaways twins now plan 20 to 25 such trips every year. In 2011 they also began conducting flyway excursions, guiding passels of Midwestern ladies through far-off destinations like New York City, San Diego, Savannah, and Boston.

I picture the female members of one of Minnesota’s ubiquitous Olson clans — Mary and Susan and Lori and Karen — all gathered together on a beach outside of Portland, careless under the guidance of Marci and Michelle, hearts lightened by comradery and white wine, casually snapping cold water lobsters in half while recounting their recent adventures, the waves crashing in as the stars brighten, and I suppose it must be one of the nicest scenes in the world.

If you would like to enjoy a unique weekend escapade in the company of other ladies, or a four night adventure without a moment’s forethought, you need only engage the twins. Please visit for more information.


By David Scheller