I want my husband to go away.
September 20, 2010 2:34 PM   Subscribe

I want to find some kind of retreat for my husband. Something over a long weekend up to a week would be ideal.

My husband is great. He's an awesome husband and a wonderful father. He very rarely does anything for himself. I'd really like to send him on a vacation just for him where he can do something he likes without compromise or worrying about anybody else.

Something like Rock 'n' Roll Fantasy Camp would be great except that it's too expensive and he doesn't care about music. I'm hoping the hive mind has some ideas for me.

He's a hands on kind of guy and really likes learning skills that are somehow useful. His current interests include woodworking and leather working. He also likes to fish and camp. He's kind of geeky too though, so I could see him going to a science-y type camp. If he was twelve he'd have just as much fun at Space Camp as he would at Scout Camp. He really likes machines, so something involving cars, motorcycles, planes, or helicopters would be good too.

Working as part of the experience would be nice, he might have fun going to some kind of working ranch or something like that.

If he was a normal guy I'd just send him and his friends to a cabin in the woods somewhere, but he's a pretty solitary guy and really shy. He's got one or two friends who I could send him away with, but they are more dominate personalities and I'm afraid he'd end up doing what they want instead of what he wants. Also, I think it would be good for him to get out of his comfort zone a little and meet other like-minded individuals.

Money is an issue here. If it's too expensive I'll never convince him to go.

He's 34, overweight but in pretty good shape. We live in the Western US, so something around here would be best.
posted by TooFewShoes to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (27 answers total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
This is so cool that despite it meeting only ONE of your requirements (woodworking involved) I still have to share it.

Check out the Thos. Moser Customer in Residence Program.

It is ABSURDLY expensive, but you get a really, really nice piece of furniture out of it. It'd also be a week-long trip instead of a weekend thing.

But, it looks so cool. I'm not into woodworking at all, and I'd totally go.

posted by two lights above the sea at 2:43 PM on September 20, 2010

Response by poster: That program does look pretty awesome and it would totally be something my husband would love to do but I need to spend closer to $500 than $5000.
posted by TooFewShoes at 2:48 PM on September 20, 2010

maybe send him out of town to either a MakerFaire or a wOOtstock?
posted by nadawi at 2:48 PM on September 20, 2010

Sorry :(

I agree on the MakerFaire, nadawi! In fact, here's a list of all the Make events, many of which are in CA. Hopefully you can find something fun!

Have you ever asked him if he's interested in being a boy scout leader or something? Take the kids camping? I know it's not exactly a vacation to help watch 30 boys, but a lot of people who are skilled really love to teach those skills to younger people. It can be very rewarding.
posted by two lights above the sea at 2:52 PM on September 20, 2010

Response by poster: nadawi, please excuse my ignorance. What is a MakerFaire or a wOOtstock?
posted by TooFewShoes at 2:53 PM on September 20, 2010

Can you endure being his company for a camping and fishing trip? If you organize something close to home, maybe with a good local fishing guide, it wouldn't be costly and he would likely love it.

If you really want to send him without going along, and think he'd like that, I'd suggest a secret plot with the less strong minded of his good friends to arrange the same thing.
posted by bearwife at 3:04 PM on September 20, 2010

They have space camp for adults!
posted by Blue Jello Elf at 3:13 PM on September 20, 2010 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Folk School! This one, in North Carolina, is the most famous, but I've also seen one in Wisconsin and one in Minnesota, so I imagine they must be in several places around the country. Most have woodworking programs and many have leatherworking programs! They come at a variety of pricepoints, depending on whether you do weekend, long weekend, or week-long programs, and depending on choice of accommodation (typically ranging from "pitch a tent" to "single-person hotel room").

Another option would be to look for classes running at local state and national parks; many do run single-day and multi-day classes, or have specials (one place nearish me often has a "hiking and bald eagle spotting three-day special with spa treatment"; another does 3-day classes for women on learning to camp and hunt). Might be worth checking out, see if there's anything that he'd like there.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 3:18 PM on September 20, 2010 [1 favorite]

This week-long bike mechanic course in Oregon might work. It's $850, but definitely useful and mechanical. It's a very reputable program.
posted by BlooPen at 3:34 PM on September 20, 2010

Something I've had my eye on for a bit is the bootmaking class in Vernal, UT run by the R.I. Merrell Institute of Bootmaking. It's only $800 bucks plus lodging ($40 for the bunk house, or there are motels near by.) It's two weeks though, which is longer than you're looking for. It is however super cool sounding, pretty cheap for what it is, and would involve leather and using your hands.

"The actual course begins on a Sunday evening with a “get-acquainted” dinner and then some time getting settled into the workshop. 8:00 the next morning we will start hard and fast and go through Saturday. Sunday is a day off. We then start again Monday morning and work through Saturday mid-afternoon.

By the end of the first day you will have cut leather, sharpened knives, learned how to skive by hand and started stitching on the sewing machines. The second day we learn the function and characteristics of lasts, how they are made and last terminology. Then we jump into measuring feet with a brief introduction of the role that bio-mechanics of the feet play in the fitting and function of footwear. Then we learn about fitting lasts to the measurements of the feet and about trial shoes, or as some call them; fitters models. The rest of the week is spent making a pair of hiking boots for yourself."
posted by Arbac at 3:45 PM on September 20, 2010

How about white water kayaking? There are a few places near the California/Oregon border that run week-long classes for adults. This is one (I know nothing about this school, except that they show up on Google).
posted by hammurderer at 3:52 PM on September 20, 2010

Response by poster: Arbac, that class sounds just about perfect but the $800 is just a non-refundable registration fee. It's $2100 total. That and the two weeks make it out of my range.

BlooPen, the Bike Mechanic course is just the kind of thing I'm looking for.

Eyebrows, the Folk School is very interesting but the site is kind of wonky. I'll keep trying.

Blue Jello Elf, I had no idea that there was Space Camp for adults! That one is definitely on the list!
posted by TooFewShoes at 4:02 PM on September 20, 2010

Are you sure he would really want to do this? Sometimes surprises of this sort are not appreciated, especially by shy, solitary people. Is it at all possible to discuss with him beforehand what he would really like, maybe investigate a few things and have him pick one, and if he really does not want to do any of it, think of another kind of gift or trip that maybe you could both take. Getting him "out of his comfort zone" could be a risky proposition and backfire. If he rarely goes away by himself, it may be because he does not like to. Is this about him, or about what you want him to be or do? Just something else to think about before booking something.
posted by mermayd at 4:14 PM on September 20, 2010

Ahh sorry for the pricing mistake. I just just skimming the info again so I could post it quickly before someone at work spotted my unprofessional green background and went with the first $$$ number I saw, missed that it was just a registration fee. I've got some other interesting shorter classes bookmarked at home that I'll try and dig up later. Must save money, find two weeks to take off, and make myself some boots!
posted by Arbac at 4:17 PM on September 20, 2010

If it's about learning something new and accomplishing something, he might be interested in a WWOOF stay on an organic farm. It's about farming but I know of at least one host who is a woodworker/furniture maker and he meets the criteria because he uses timber that falls on its own.
posted by headnsouth at 4:25 PM on September 20, 2010 [1 favorite]

Don't know if it's his bag or not, but I would highly, highly recommend the Six-Day DV Documentary workshop with Aron Ranen.

He's an award-winning documentary filmmaker, is funny as hell, supremely talented, and will have him shoot, edit and finish a documentary by the end of the course -- and learn a TON of stuff about lighting, cameras, audio...the works.

You don't need to WANT to be a documentary film maker to do it; you just have to like learning something that would be totally useful, since every dad shoots video!

And it's in San Francisco, which is also awesome, since....well, it's SanFran.

I did this course two years ago for work, and it seriously changed my life -- even home movies get shot differently in our house now as a result. This piece was the result of my week there, and there are tons of other samples of former students' work on Youtube.

I'd go again in a heartbeat -- I've been bugging Aron to do an advanced course so I have an excuse to go again.
posted by liquado at 4:50 PM on September 20, 2010 [4 favorites]

Eeep -- just noticed that his prices have gone up somewhat, and the six-day course is now $1000 -- I've also heard great stuff about the four-day crash course, which is $500.

Aron's Youtube channel is here. Sorry for the double-post.
posted by liquado at 4:55 PM on September 20, 2010

Response by poster: I have discussed this with him. It's not a surprise. He knows I'm asking this question. I just need to do most of the footwork before giving him a few suggestions and seeing which he really likes.

He hasn't actually agreed to go, I am hoping to find something really great that will really interest him. Then I don't have to talk him into it.
posted by TooFewShoes at 5:10 PM on September 20, 2010

Response by poster: headnsouth, that WWOOF sounds like a lot of fun. There seems to be quite a few farms within driving distance of our house. I really think that might be something that would interest my husband. It might even be something we can do as a family next summer.
posted by TooFewShoes at 5:24 PM on September 20, 2010

If the bike mechanic thing is an option, here is the other very reputable program people do. Colorado Springs for this one. Check lodging prices for these, though, as that may put them past your budget.
posted by BlooPen at 5:44 PM on September 20, 2010

TooFewShoes, I can definitely vouch for Adult Space Camp (or Adult Space Academy as the adult program is technically called).

True story: for my 30th birthday, my wife (Mrs. Zooropa) sent me to Space Camp. I went over Labor Day weekend 2005 about a month before we got married. It was truly one of the most special experiences of my life. I'm a confirmed space geek, but even if I wasn't, it would still have been a great experience. For three days, you get to pretend you're a kid again and just have fun.

Highlights for me included:

  • Getting to dress up in one of those orange NASA flight suits. Yes, we did the slow motion "hero walk" like you saw in Armageddon.

  • Playing one of the Mission Controllers in a simulation. I actually got to be the PAO, which means I got to do the launch countdown. I get a chill thinking about it now.

  • I also was selected to be the Mission Commander for a different launch simulation. Crawling around the to-scale mockup of the Space Shuttle was an incredible, awesome experience.

  • Walking around the museum late at night surrounded by real Apollo and Mercury spaceships as well as very realistic recreations.

  • Jumping around in a lunar environment that simulated the 1/6th gravity of the Moon. Yes, I was on a bungee, but for a brief moment, I actually forgot about that and felt like I was really walking on the Moon.

  • Here are a bunch of pictures. That grin you see basically didn't leave my face from the moment I arrived in Huntsville, Alabama to the moment I left.

    Sending your husband to Space Camp would be something you would qualify in your household as Best Wife Ever (if you aren't already). I know mine is.
    posted by zooropa at 5:55 PM on September 20, 2010 [2 favorites]

    Try googling "Folk School [your state]" and "Folk School [neighboring state]" and so on, you can find some more local to you and not deal with the wonky site in NC. :)
    posted by Eyebrows McGee at 5:56 PM on September 20, 2010

    The John C. Campbell website might be wonky (i'm not having issues with it), but I just want to vouch for the place as a really fun and beautiful environment to learn new skills and be surrounded by some kooky and interesting people. Also, great food! Memail with questions if you've got any!
    posted by Polyhymnia at 7:56 PM on September 20, 2010

    He might enjoy taking a HPDE class. (high performance driving education)
    It would be more of a 1 to 2 day thing but it's a great experience.
    posted by zephyr_words at 8:03 PM on September 20, 2010

    Oooh, oooh: Skip Barber Racing School! And Zephyr_w., those driving classes always struck me as awesome.
    posted by wenestvedt at 8:34 AM on September 21, 2010

    My employer has a strong culinary program and offers a lot of half-day cooking classes* for under 4100 each. They take place in the big kitchen classrooms, with a Chef instructor (who you address only as "Chef") and with the help of culinary students. Could you find somewhere similar, close to you, and sign him up for a series of those?

    I have taken a few and they were both useful and fun.

    Note: none of our campuses are near her, so I am not shilling.
    posted by wenestvedt at 8:38 AM on September 21, 2010

    Response by poster: Folk School has it. The prices are reasonable, it looks like a low key and relaxing environment, and there are so many different classes that my husband is having a hard time deciding which would be the most fun.

    Thanks everybody!
    posted by TooFewShoes at 6:51 PM on September 22, 2010 [1 favorite]

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