This is my brain on no vacation
August 17, 2009 1:38 PM   Subscribe

Help with productive vacation ideas? Of all the things to avoid, I have been putting off taking vacation and now suddenly the summer is slipping away...

I've now committed to taking off the first week or two in September, and I need a plan! I've got no traveling companions in sight, and while in the past I've gotten a lot of enjoyment out of solo travels and adventures, this time I'm not feeling it.

Ideally I would like to be in a relaxing, outdoorsy setting while doing something productive: developing a new skill, creating something tangible, or pursuing one of my existing hobbies (which include playing fiddle, singing, yoga, crafts, baking.) I mention those to give an idea of my interests, but I am very open to exploring something new. I do public interest community work by day, and much as I love the idea of a "volunteer vacation," I'm looking for something a little more...oh, self-centered :)

Hanging out in a cabin by a lake and playing fiddle for the geese has its appeal, but really I'd love to be in at least a semi-structured environment where I can learn with and be around other friendly people. I don't require much in the way of accomodations; the simpler the better, really. Given these (admittedly somewhat vague) criteria, does anyone have recommendations for a nature-y yoga retreat/music camp/craft collective/fill-in-the-blank in early September? Or, since I probably missed the boat on some great camps and retreats this summer, ideas for next year? I am in Brooklyn and would prefer to remain within a 5-hour driving radius.
posted by messica to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (5 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Too bad you just missed this year's Galax Fiddler's Convention, but there's always next year.

Here is a list of activities in September along the Virginia Heritage Music Trail.

The Blue Ridge Music Trails guides travelers to the many public settings in western Virginia and North Carolina where Blue Ridge folk music and dance are held. Use the search feature to find scores of events that may fit your bill.
posted by netbros at 2:06 PM on August 17, 2009 [1 favorite]

Why don't you go to Ithaca? You can stay at a B&B, catch some yoga classes at the many, many yoga studios in town, hike in the gorges, learn about printmaking at the Ink Shop, learn things from the Freeskool, take classes from folks at the Handwork coop, and check out the Homespun knitting shop.
posted by ocherdraco at 2:17 PM on August 17, 2009 [2 favorites]

Check out the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts on Deer Isle, Maine. There is still one summer session left from Aug. 31 through Sept. 5th; their site says they are still accepting applications. If they're full, something to consider for next year or maybe ask them for recommendations.

If you're interested in rocks and gems, there's always Poland Mining Camps, which rents cabins and takes you on rock-picking tours of tourmaline mines that are closed to the public. Haven't stayed there, but I've been in the facility and it's absolutely charming. The owner is a miner herself and an absolute treasure-trove of information (think she said their season runs through at least mid-September). I'd say Poland is about oh, an hour from Portland so maybe a little outside of your 5 hour limit, but well worth it.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 2:55 PM on August 17, 2009 [1 favorite]

This might be an option; I think it's as secular as you want to make it, or not. A co-worker loves it.
posted by jgirl at 3:22 PM on August 17, 2009

Response by poster: All great suggestions, thank you!

netbros: Those are terrific resources. Music trails are a new concept to me. The fiddler's convention looks amazing!
ocherdraco: I was actually in Ithaca fairly recently and wish I had known about some of the places you mention. Will keep them in mind for my next visit.
marie mon dieu: Those are exactly the sorts of things I am looking for!
jgirl: That could actually be perfect. Offers the relaxing, natural setting without the isolation..and 24 hour art studio!

Thanks again, this has given me lots of food for thought.
posted by messica at 7:48 AM on August 18, 2009

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