Posts Tagged ‘Finger Lakes’

Learning Vacations in Upstate New York

It’s vacation time and also a very good time to learn a new skill.  For Manhattanites, there is a wide range of options waiting within an easy drive or train ride from the city. As an added benefit, these learning holidays all take place in areas where the scenery will wow you with its unspoiled natural beauty.

Upstate New York’s craft traditions date back to Colonial times and its natural beauty is safeguarded by “Forever Wild” Forest Preserves and State Parks that cover an area greater than Yosemite, Yellowstone, Glacier, Grand Canyon, and Great Smokies national parks combined.

Here are some examples of learning vacations that will challenge you while allowing you to bring home a new skill:

  • Build a boat in wine country. Black Sheep Inn and Spa, in conjunction with the Finger Lakes Boating Museum, will offer a week-long boatbuilding class this summer. No experience is required, and students build a Bevin’s skiff to take home. Packages offering pottery, stained glass, glassblowing and jewelry workshops are also available.
  • The art of glass. In the Finger Lakes region, the Corning Museum of Glass offers glass-making programs for children and adults. Additionally, the Oatka School of Glass in Batavia in the Greater Niagara region offers classes in kiln-formed glass ranging from introductory two-hour Make+Fuse to advanced multi-day workshops.
  • Watercolor and more. Hudson River Valley Art Workshops at the Greenville Arms 1889 Inn in Greenville are offered in a variety of media for diverse skill levels. Whet your appetite by visiting Manhattan’s Metropolitan Museum of Art’s American Wing to see the Hudson River Valley School paintings.
  • Make a rustic headboard. Set in the Adirondack Mountain region of New York, the Adirondack Folk School in Lake Luzerne offers opportunities to build authentic Adirondack chairs and twig furniture as well as learn weaving, pottery, soap making and more. On tap year-round, classes range from half-day sessions to week-long courses. Most are tailored to adults.
  • Write a graphic novel or learn how to make a movie. At Chautauqua Institution, located in the Chautauqua-Allegheny region, workshops include film-making, creating graphic novels and more.
  • Awaken your spirit. Also in the Hudson Valley, the renowned Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, NY offers classes in dance, writing, music, crafts, and other creative arts.  Practice your downward-facing dog in one of their many yoga classes to help you unleash your inner creator.
  • Cook with a chef. The Culinary Institute of America, in Hyde Park, NY, in the Hudson Valley offers CIA Boot Camp Cooking Vacations with expert chefs. Courses include two- to five-day specialized programs such as American Regional, Italian and Asian cuisine and a classic five-day Basic Training.
  • Make a wooden bucket. Novices and aficionados can apprentice for two days with skilled cooper at Genesee Country Village & Museum, a living 19th-century country village in the Finger Lakes region and take home their own crafted bucket. The living museum also offers classes in tinsmithing, blacksmithing and cheese-making.
  • Weave an Adirondack pack basket. Students can learn to weave a pack basket or door, notepad and other Adirondack-style baskets at the Thousand Islands Arts Center (home of the Hand Weaving Museum) in Clayton in the 1000 Islands region. The center also offers classes in pottery, jewelry making, painting and other fiber arts.

Planning a trip to NYC?