First came love. Then came marriage. Then came babies, 15 loads of laundry every week, swimming lessons, carpools, soccer games and weird squiggly lines on your forehead that, in bad lighting, might easily be mistaken for wrinkles. When was the last time you took a good look in the mirror and came face to face with some unadulterated, non kid-oriented fun? Yup… time for a mom getaway.

Unlike a Mom Date (where you tow the kids are along), a Mom Getaway is exactly what it sounds like: Mom-only R & R at a destination near you, but worlds away from children, spouses and anything that could be loosely defined as an obligation.

Where to go? We asked Seattle moms for their favorite destinations. Once we trimmed off the Hawaii, Cabo and Southern California hotspots off the list (sorry, ladies, it’s just more practical to get the girls together when you don’t have to hop a plane) we now bring you these Northwest favorites.

But first, a few tips:

Try to plan your trip months in advance. Limit last-minute back outs by making those reservations early and plunking down deposits. A good time to broach the topic of your upcoming mom getaway with your spouse is when he’s just returned from a long day of golf (and after you’ve already made reservations.)

Secure back up childcare for the days when you are away, and type up notes regarding kid schedules. The more detailed notes you provide, the less likely it is that anyone will call you to ask you an inane question (“where are the soccer socks?”) when you have just entered the spa waiting room.

Between three to six moms is a great number for a mom getaway. Any less and it becomes an intimate BFF trip; any more and you start to have transportation and logistical issues. Choose friends that are easy going and all get along – Attention Hogs and Queen Bees can plan their own separate vacations.

Now, mommies at the ready. Do not pack diapers. Leave all strollers at home. This is your time. Let’s go!

Fort Worden – Port Townsend, Wa
Start your journey with the ultimate Seattle-style road trip: a scenic ferry ride (Edmonds – Kingston), a latte stop at the quaint Port Gamble, and a beautiful drive all the way to the bustling historic seaport of Port Townsend. Fort Worden, once an active Army Base from 1902-1953, offers a range of mom-worthy, old-world charm accommodations, including six-bedroom houses on officer’s row, each complete with living rooms, dining rooms and full kitchens. Reservations can be made up to one year in advance, and rates are extremely reasonable. As for things to do, there’s plenty – beach combing, hiking, browsing the artsy shops of Port Townsend – making it easy to split up into small groups and explore. Online: Online:

Kalaloch Lodge – Olympic National Park, Wa
More off the beaten path (about 3.5 hours from Seattle on the Olympic Peninsula) Kalaloch offers the ultimate rugged retreat. Bring raincoats, hiking boots and your favorite books – and prepare to cozy up with great friends in a cabin overlooking the ocean. Cell phone coverage is super spotty out here, so this is not the place to go if you feel the need to stay in close contact with the fam back home. Some cabins have kitchenettes; there is also a lovely restaurant on site.

Salish Lodge, Snoqualmie, Wa
For a luxurious mama spa-cation about as close in to the city as you can get, the Salish offers a top-notch experience. The award-winning day spa serves up the ultimate pampering experience with a range of treatments (Herb and Honey Scrub Bar, anyone?) including a eucalyptus steam room, dry sauna and soaking pools. There isn’t a ton to do outside of the lodge – and really, why leave? You and your friends are going to be far too busy indulging in wine tastings, spa treatments and fine dining. Like most luxury spa hotels, the Salish is pricey – but worth it.

Sleeping Lady – Leavenworth, Wa
A few miles – and a whole universe away – from the faux Bavarian village of Leavenworth is the aptly named Sleeping Lady, Red Tri’s Totally Awesome Award-winner in the Great Escapes & Getaways category. The retreat-style resort campus and accommodations are enchanting and lovely, including cabins and loft-style rooms where every mom can sleep like a slumbering lady in her own bed. And the Kingfisher restaurant is worth writing home about: all-you-can-eat delicious, beautifully prepared local food (much of it from their very own two-acre organic garden). Most overnight packages include meals, eliminating the chore of where-are-we-going-to-eat and how-do-we-split-the-bill. The surrounding area offers just enough to do (cross country skiing and snowshoeing in winter; hiking, horseback riding and river rafting in summer) and the resort offers on-site spa treatments, a fitness room, a game room, a reading library, a pub, and a magical outdoor hot pool where you and your friends can gab for hours.

Suncadia – Cle Elum, Wa
Super easy to get to (assuming Snoqualmie Pass is passable) Suncadia offers a posh experience similar to the Salish, yet slightly more casual. During the winter months there’s nearby skiing; fall, spring, and summer offer golf, biking trails and hiking. Or you can do nothing and just hang out in the hot tub in between spa treatments. Suncadia’s Girlfriend Getaway Package includes spa services at the onsite Glade Spring Spa, plus wine tasting vouchers to Swiftwater Cellars.

Portland, Or
Three words: No sales tax! You won’t really need a car once you’re all there, so why not take the train down and begin the adventure early. Shop ‘til you drop downtown and treat yourselves to restaurants, museums, theater and more. Hotel Monaco offers free cocktails for Pacific Northwest mamas, and the Heathman Hotel (for all you Shades of Grey fans) offers a Shopping Package, including early shopping at Nordstrom, stylist services and gift cards.

Willows Lodge – Woodinville, Wa
With the backdrop of dozens of nearby wineries, this is the Northwest version of the Napa wine vacation. A getaway at the Willows is nothing short of decadent and luxurious – dine at the highly acclaimed Barking Frog, indulge in an unparalleled splurge at the nearby Herbfarm, or just spend the day at the spa. The Spa at Willows offers a range of services – hot stone, Lomi Lomi, body wraps – and they are one of the few spas in the U.S. that offer Carita anti-aging facials. You and your mom friends will return back home all pampered, shiny and new.

Have you been on a mom vacation recently? What are your favorite hotspots?

–Allison Ellis

photo credit: Jody of Blue Dahlia Art StudioGary Randall via Travel Portland facebook page