Elderhostel for 30-somethings?
October 10, 2008 2:26 PM   Subscribe

I am searching for the perfect vacation that combines a relaxing, beautiful setting, good food, interesting people, and some kind of learning experience. Basically, Elderhostel for thirty-somethings, or summer camp for adults.

Ideally, it would be like an intellectual spa: instead of (or in addition to) yoga classes, mediation, and massage, I could also go to a seminar on Henry James, or a pottery-making class, or a swimming lesson to perfect my crawl, or a bird-watching hike. It would be really cool if there was a big library to relax in at night with lots of books and a glass of scotch. Does anything like this exist, or am I making it up?
posted by footnote to Travel & Transportation (8 answers total) 25 users marked this as a favorite
There are a lot of resorts and conference centers like this out there. Chautauqua is one of the most famous in the US.
posted by hydropsyche at 2:37 PM on October 10, 2008

Esalen is a wonderful retreat center in Big Sur, California. I have heard many great things about it from people who stayed there. Go to their website, check out their workshops.
posted by HeyAllie at 2:49 PM on October 10, 2008

Literary festivals can be a little like this. I'm not sure which ones you've got in the States, but where I live, and in the UK, things like the Hay Festival can offer the stimulating lectures + relaxing drinks. Not so much on the spa aspect though.

Personal Testimonial: The Flatlake Festival (full disclosure: they run it in the place I'm from so I'm only one degree of separation from several of the organisers) was a really cool experience for my mind and body this year.
posted by tiny crocodile at 3:36 PM on October 10, 2008

Have you considered Kripalu? They have great (very healthy) food, interesting people, yoga, a beautiful campus in the Berkshires and some interesting programs. I've been twice, each time doing just their relaxation program, but my roommate there (you can arrange for private accommodations, as well) was doing an ayurvedic training.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 3:39 PM on October 10, 2008

Oh and the Hay Festival are running an offshoot in Cartagena this year.
posted by tiny crocodile at 3:43 PM on October 10, 2008

The North Cascades Institute is another possibility.
posted by Sublimity at 7:12 PM on October 10, 2008

Hollyhock, in British Columbia, sounds a lot like what you're looking for -- minus the scotch. They're winding down for the winter, but they offer a wide range of classes, fantastic food (most of which they grow/catch themselves), body work & yoga & meditation, and one of the most glorious natural settings you'll ever see.

I don't know how to make the neat links in my post the way everybody else does, but here it is:

A further comment: although the North Cascades Institute has some truly interesting classes, it's not by any stretch of the imagination a resort or retreat center.
posted by kestralwing at 5:29 AM on October 11, 2008

Thank you for all the suggestions. None of them exactly fits the bill (too much yoga, not enough books, scotch & cigars) so I think I'm going to have to quit my job and create my ideal resort. I shall call it Nerd Spa (or maybe Spa Nerd?).
posted by footnote at 11:31 AM on October 12, 2008

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