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Jumping the Broom is a wedding column for Black brides in need of inspiration for their nuptials. Follow ESSENCE Senior Entertainment Editor Joi-Marie McKenzie as she plans her August 2019 wedding, and see what she learns along the way from experts, wedding planners and vendors.
What happens when you get engaged and you’ve partied so hard in your 20s you’d rather not “party like a rock star” at your bachelorette party? Gather your best girlfriends and check out the only five-star resort owned by a Black woman in the U.S.
Located in Middleburg, Virginia, Salamander Resort & Spa, owned by Sheila Johnson, is tucked away on 340 acres of the greenest land I’ve ever seen. If you’d rather lie by an infinity pool than turn up at a pool party, or visit a nearby winery rather than throw back shots, or enjoy fine dining rather than stuffing pizza to ward off that hangover that might come the next morning, this is the place for you.
Right outside of Washington, D.C., 16 of my closest friends, family and line sisters descended on Salamander Resort & Spa. Here’s what we recommend you should try.
After the drive, my maid and matron of honor decided to start my bachelorette weekend the right way: with a bit of R&R at the resort’s 23,000-square-foot spa. From exfoliating body treatments to all types of massages, the spa is a one-stop shop. And for my girls who didn’t have time to get a pedi before they arrived, the spa offered that too along with makeup artists and manicurists. Since I’m expecting, it was the perfect place to grab a pre-natal massage. Even the indoor whirlpool was body temperature, so I could enjoy some girl chat in the water. Afterward we all gathered by the infinity-edge pool to chill in a cabana and take in the lush landscape.
The Finest of Dining
We felt like we were in an episode of The Real Housewives of Potomac when we tried out Harrimans Virginia Piedmont Grill for dinner. Right there on the grounds, it provides a private dining room, perfect for any large party.
I was thrilled with all the little custom touches, such as my name on the menu and even a personalized cake. While my girls enjoyed the cocktails, I pigged out on the decadent menu, which included rustic corn bread, crab cakes and a braised short rib.
Dessert by the Fire, Anyone?
When I read that the resort had two fire pits, it was a must-do during the bachelorette weekend. What I didn’t anticipate was that the resort provided what it likes to call a “Smores Kit,” complete with sticks, marshmallows, chocolate and graham crackers. Since it cost $40 (Lawd, have mercy!), we ended up purchasing two kits, which was actually plenty for the group.
An Easy Trek to the Wineries
After a night at the resort, the girls and I were itching to get off the property and explore Middleburg. And Salamander makes that super easy to do thanks to complimentary car service. We hopped in the resort’s Audis, which took us to a nearby winery. While the girls sipped on wine blends, created from last year’s harvest in Virginia, I took in the sites and dreamed about lunch.
If visiting a winery isn’t your thing, don’t worry: Salamander also offers more adventurous options, such as tennis, archery, zip-lining and even nature hikes. To get our day started, we took a short hike very early in the morning when temperatures were low.
A Slumber Party Is A Must
And to end the day, there’s nothing like a slumber party in a five-star resort. In my suite, where I hosted my girls, cute pajamas were mandatory. While blasting classic ’90s hits, they drank and we all ate pizza and played all those bachelorette party games you wouldn’t dare tell your mama about. And despite the resort hosting two weddings that weekend as well, we felt catered to whenever we needed scissors, cups or any other random request.
Joi-Marie McKenzie is ESSENCE’s senior entertainment editor. She’s also the author of her debut memoir, The Engagement Game: Why I Said ‘I Don’t’ To Marriage and ‘I Do’ To Me, out now.