Girlfriends Go full of life, passion
July 19, 2006
Women crave it, men want women to have it and Italy is it’s spawning ground.
Give up? It’s passion.
Passion for traveling, wine, cycling, art, languages and good company has led Lynn Ware Peek and Betsy Quintana Bothe, co-owners of Girlfriends Go Tours, to start "a company for women, about women and by women."
Three times a year Peek and Bothe, both wives and mothers, lead a group of women to Italy or Costa Rica to share with them their passions. The tours go to Tuscany, Italy, in both May and September, and to Costa Rica each January. Peek and Bothe serve as the guides for the tours, as the women talk, taste, bike and bond over a one-week vacation.
"The women will certainly come home with passion, which is one reason why we say husbands and boyfriends should send their partners on these trips," Peek said. "There is just something magical about women getting together, trying new things, pushing their personal limits and doing it with a group of women."
Peek, who has a master’s degree in linguistics, said they chose Tuscany because it exemplifies everything good in the world.
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"Tuscany just embodies everything that is wonderful and that we love as aesthetic creatures. Wine, language, art and rolling hills it’s just a great place to take women. It’s everything that is so Italian that we love."
For $1,975 and a plane ticket, the Tuscany tours take the women to visit medieval towns, farms, Etruscan caves, vineyards, have private tastings at small wineries and olive oil groves, take lessons in Italian, pasta and pizza making, and bike some of the oldest roads in the world.
"Every five to 10 kilometers there are hill towns," Peek said. "They’re on a hill because in medieval times you had to see your enemies coming. They are just beautiful and perfectly preserved."
The small winery boutiques are often located near the hill towns, but offer an experience in the passion of the tongue.
"At the wineries, they’ll take us down to their wine cellars and the wine makers’ Italian Mama will make us this huge lunch that is just the best thing you’ve ever tasted," Peek said. "They just take so much pride in what they do."
"The thing about Italy is that the Italians are all about perfecting pleasure, and when you get a bunch of women together on a tour, we are all about perfecting pleasure. It just creates this great fun, cohesive atmosphere."
Both Peek and Bothe speak Italian, and Bothe also brings a masters degree in fine arts to the table.
"Betsy is the logistics person," Peek said. "She loves the details of getting us to a certain winery and planning that. She’s also an art historian."
Bothe’s attention to detail comes in handy on the Costa Rica trips, which cost around $1,600, where the groups fly into a peninsula and then spend much of their time in a rain forest.
Peek describes the tour as an "attainable adventure," which includes biking through the rain forest, waterfalls, spending part of the week on a Costa Rican beach, surf lessons, bird watching tours, jungle hikes and even a termite lunch.
The overwhelming biodiversity of the rain forest has monkeys constantly swinging overhead, scarlet macaws squawking in the background, and every color of butterfly imaginable.
This is what Peek and Bothe get to do three times a year while their families sit at home watching television.
"Us starting up this business actually has everything to do with our kids," Peek said. "It was very important for both of us to instill that love for travel in our kids and we travel with them a lot. We researched our tours by taking family trips."
Peek, who has two boys, Jonas, 8, and Riley, 11, said once they and Bothe’s 9-year-old daughter Paisley were all back in school, it was time to rediscover the passions they had found in college.
"Now that they’re all in school, it was time for us to re-ignite the passions that we have and explore the areas we went to school in," she said. "But then we just kind of came together and thought, ‘why not provide this for other women?’"
So, after chatting over some wine at a party, Girlfriends Go was born.
"There is this huge industry that relates to women specific things and a lot of it has to do with the outdoor world and being active," Peek said. "I’m not sure what it is, but women are at this point where they want to have experiences and they want to do things with other women. It’s an easy getaway. No one is as supportive of women as other women."
Bothe said after they had decided to start the company, the key was to find great destinations that the pair could offer at a reasonable price.
"We try to keep them affordable," Bothe said. "We started this because I wanted to be able to take my friends to different places and show them the neat things I’ve seen. But we try to cater to a pretty wide variety of people, and we try to be active."
Despite the trips including cycling, Bothe said it doesn’t require the women to be expert riders, although being in shape definitely helps.
"We try to make it so there’s a balance between riding and cultural activities," she said. "We try to make it for the moderate rider someone who’s in pretty good shape but if someone doesn’t want to ride they don’t have to ride. Instead, they can just hang out. We can’t even begin to tap all the great things there are to do in these areas so we have to pick out a few to do."
Peek, Bothe and Girlfriends Go can be reached at either (435) 640-3931 or (435) 513-0659. They can also be reached online at http://www.girlfriendsgo.com or at their office at 22 Trailside Court in Park City.