Mints & Socks

Must haves for a great weekend!

The rooms at the Seneca Niagara Resort & Casino are spacious and modern with the silkiest bed sheets, most luxurious bathrooms and magical views. My room faced north. I could see the snow covered buildings and ancient churches of Niagara Falls, New York and the Niagara Falls, Ontario skyline. The thundering Falls with a soaring cloud of billowing mist rose into the sky and drifted westward. The sight outside is sheer magic and drama, and so is it inside.

This is about a girl’s weekend away: no children, no husbands, no dishes and no cares in the world except each other and the amount of fun we can have. My friends and I try to do this every year, we’re not always successful but this year we hit it big.

The Seneca Niagara Resort & Casino is centrally located on the U.S.A., Canada border meaning it’s a short 90-minute drive from Toronto or Rochester and an ideal location for a girls weekend away. Giddy like schoolgirls, we pile into one car and head out. The Seneca Niagara Resort and Casino has just undergone a $26 million gaming floor renovation complete with a culinary face-lift and an enhanced Spa. This is going to be a great weekend!

Everyone in our small party of four are coming for different reasons. The resort fits with Debi’s wanting to be pampered sensibilities. It’s a self-contained entertainment complex that satisfies Julie’s wild side. The gaming floor has limitless options giving Jeannie her lust for a thrill and the nine on-site restaurants feed my demand for eclectic dining. In addition to all of this, if we ever wanted to leave the casino, it would be for the unlimited shopping options that are within a few minutes drive. I’m thinking a weekend may not be enough.

Friday night we start the weekend with a show in The Bear’s Den. It’s an intimate theatre and we get up-close and personal with Canadian rockers, Honeymoon Suite. After the show, the night is still young and we’re pumped. We crossed the lights and action of the gaming floor towards the giant 42-foot television screen that towers over Stir. Stir is an impressive ultra-lounge and our idea of big-city fun. The giant circular bar glows purple and blue, a live band rocks on 20-feet above us and we can let loose on the dance floor. We slink into the gold covered curved benches and bury our lips into a few foggy blue martinis.

There’s nothing more self-indulgent than four ladies living a fantasy existence in exciting surroundings, even if it is only for a few days. The resort easily transports us into a make-believe world complete with the safety of knowing that after a few drinks, we can simply walk upstairs to our room.

Late the next morning we all order breakfast in bed. Eggs, maple smoked bacon and thick slices of buttery toast with orange juice and coffee. We nibble, giggle and take turns in and out of the shower. I search my bag feverishly looking for the matching sock to the one in my hand; it’s nowhere to be found. I find myself deep in domestic thought about dirty laundry, aggravating mismatched socks and resentment over lack of time to pack when, the girls pull me back. What’s wrong with one sock on, one sock off?

What’s left of the morning is reserved for a little retail therapy in the shops that flank the north and south side of the massive gaming floor. Besides a new pair of navy socks with glittery icons of Paris, France we stock up on Watson’s sponge chocolate, some lavender sea-salt body bath crystals and a manicure set complete with nail buffer; Julie splurges in a Swarovski crystal bracelet. We all get an ice cream at Cold Stone Creamery, it’s the perfect portal to friendly bliss.

In-between the shops we’re hard at work reading menus and checking our appetites. We settle on the lighter fare of Koi Noodle Bar. I dig into my Cantonese Crispy Noodle Bowl, Julie is expertly managing her sushi with chopsticks, Jeannie is savoring her Sea Scallops with Black Bean Sauce and Debi is diving into her Cashew Thai Chicken. We giggle and make serious decisions on how much we’re going to invest into an afternoon of good fortune on the gaming floor.

We decide on slot machines, Debi wants to play Keno. We walk the floor trying to invent reasons to play the Ghost Busters game or The Walking Dead slot machine. We are certainly not what you’d call hard core players and have long given up any pretense of knowing what we’re doing. We sip on complementary drinks and the fun snowballs. Some of us play, others watch and cheer and the afternoon turns into early evening. In the end, there are winners and there are losers. Julie runs out to get an old-fashion vanilla milkshake from Blues Burger Bar. Debi gets a loaded ice cream from Cold Slab Creamery, Jeannie comes back with chocolate and I find white peppermint bark. These are the icons of celebration.

Exhausted we regroup back at the room; like great weekends that preceded this one, we’re ahead enough on our winnings to afford four glorious spa treatments. We book the last treatments of the day and head down to the swanky spa facilities. I sink into a massage table, Julie dunks into the hot tub, Debi gets in a few laps in the pool and Jeannie relishes in the yoga studio stretching her body into total relaxation.

That evening we dress up and head for the Western Door steakhouse. We don’t know Bartender Frank Ryan but he becomes our best friend, mixing, stirring, shaking and muddling lavish drinks to begin our evening. I order the lamb and it is like butter, the steaks are juicy and flavorful and the lobster sweet and bright.

It’s late at night and while we’re still at dinner working our way through a Chocolate Molton Cake and some of Frank’s strawberry infused vodka, sleep starts to creep up on us. Eventually we make our way back to our rooms and surprisingly, there are little mints on our pillows. It’s never too late for chocolate so we unwrap and indulge.

The little mints have soft, brilliant blue inside, enrobed in milk chocolate. They’re spearmint not peppermint, they’re deliriously good and it brings on our second wind. We’re up for another hour of giggling and story telling before we all fall into a deep sleep.

It’s now the morning we leave, but not before lounging, taking our last bubble baths and polish our nails. We lunch at the Three Sisters Café and say good-bye to another great weekend at the Seneca Niagara Resort & Casino. As each of us walks through the doors into the real world we switch back into our wives and mothers’ roles chatting about groceries and errands before heading home. We’re ourselves once again but for a few exciting days, we were away in an exotic place where we could be pampered and indulged.

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