One week (or so) retreat in the US to learn or do something. Ideas?
October 20, 2013 6:26 PM   Subscribe

Tell me about awesome 1 week (or so) classes, courses, workshops, retreats, festivals, tours, activities, etc. I'm looking for a solo vacation in the continental US for 2014 (active but not super fit 40s single female here) where I can learn something or do something. Like I went to surf camp once, went to a dude ranch, rafted the grand canyon, took canyoneering classes, took photoghraphy workshops, etc. Mefi collective brainstorming session? All ideas welcome!

The only things I really don't do are luxury resorts, spiritual/yoga/religious retreats, or any place that will force me to eat healthy or exercise too hard. I'm not much into intellectual things like history classes, but things like dinosaur bone digs, however, sound fun! Budget is flexible. Thanks in advance everybody!
posted by bluesky78987 to Travel & Transportation (23 answers total) 103 users marked this as a favorite
I'll state the obvious. Burning Man?
posted by deadwax at 6:28 PM on October 20, 2013 [1 favorite]

Esalen Institute
posted by hortense at 6:33 PM on October 20, 2013

Common Ground on the Hill is a summer program in central Maryland covering traditional music, folk arts, crafts, etc. You can choose which classes you want to take and which performances/talks/etc to attend. (I know people associated with running it.)
posted by LobsterMitten at 6:41 PM on October 20, 2013

North House Folk School has all kinds of awesomeness.
posted by unreadyhero at 6:46 PM on October 20, 2013 [2 favorites]

Camp Fasola is a week-long opportunity to learn traditional shape-note singing.
posted by not that girl at 6:49 PM on October 20, 2013

Response by poster: Great ideas so far! This is exactly what I want, keep them coming! North House Folk School has wood carving classes that look really fun! (I love making stuff). Also, Burning Man has been on the list for awhile if I could figure out the logistics . . .

(My computer at home is kaput so I'm off until tomorrow morning, but keep adding ideas!!!)
Thanks all!
posted by bluesky78987 at 7:02 PM on October 20, 2013

Haystack Mountain School of Crafts on Deer Isle, Maine. My folks used to live on Deer Isle. Nothing like summer on the coast of Maine.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 7:17 PM on October 20, 2013

If you like modern music, Bonnaroo can't be beat.
posted by raisingsand at 7:17 PM on October 20, 2013

Penland School of Crafts in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina.
posted by nightwood at 7:49 PM on October 20, 2013 [2 favorites]

There's also the John C. Campbell Folk School in North Carolina, with lots of one-week craft/art classes and optional social events to go along with them.
posted by dreamyshade at 8:01 PM on October 20, 2013 [1 favorite]

Tom Brown Jr's Tracker School! It touches on wilderness survival, self-sufficiency, spirituality ... it was pretty much a life-changing experience for me. Plus, I learned how to make fire with a bow drill! It is very rustic ... you'll have to camp and one meal involves cleaning your very own trout. But why not push your limits? The people that you meet are so interesting, too -- from all over the world.

If you like Les Stroud, you'd probably like Tracker School. It's certainly unique.
posted by Ostara at 8:27 PM on October 20, 2013 [1 favorite]

Tonglen Lake Folk School, in Denali National Park.

The guy that's running it is a super-nice guy, and good at teaching stuff even to folks who've never done anything before.

And hey, Denali!
posted by leahwrenn at 8:51 PM on October 20, 2013 [1 favorite]

What about one of those new summer camp things where you "disconnect" for a week or so?

For example, here
posted by Blitz at 9:03 PM on October 20, 2013

If you love making stuff, you might really enjoy a general grounding in joinery and cabinet making. Call The Woodwright's School and ask about their 5 or 6 day foundation courses. A weeks worth of instruction and you could start making your own furniture. I haven't been to it myself but it's highly recommended.

If you're looking for a single start to finish project, then maybe The Windsor Chair Institute would be more your thing. The sack back windsor is the introductory class that's offered several times in 2014.
posted by bonobothegreat at 10:19 PM on October 20, 2013 [2 favorites]

Pilchuck Glass School, $4K
posted by at at 10:21 PM on October 20, 2013

Woodworking, cabinetmaking, carpentry, homebuilding, and timber framing weeklong classes at the Heartwood School in western Massachussetts.

Build your own acoustic guitar, mandolin, or ukulele at the Whetstone School of Lutherie in Brattleboro, Vermont.
posted by Ardea alba at 5:48 AM on October 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

I might take myself up to Napa to do this wine course.

Then I'd do a weeklong tour.

Could be fun!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:32 AM on October 21, 2013

Ever want to build your own boat?
posted by advicepig at 7:26 AM on October 21, 2013

My wife did a multi-day workshop on rustic furniture making at the Woodlanders Gathering in Wisconsin. She said to also google "Daniel Mack" for his workshops.
posted by bondcliff at 7:28 AM on October 21, 2013

Alaska Geographic does all kinds of interesting classes, some 2-3 days and some up to a week long. I have done great wildflower classes, and week-long kayak/camping based ones about whales, writing, bears and glacial geology. The ones up in Denali base out of the Murie Science and Learning Center's cozy tent cabins. Some of the shorter ones based out of Anchorage do not provide evening meals or lodging, so if you sign up check itineraries first.

Courses for next year will be announced in December.
posted by charmedimsure at 8:50 AM on October 21, 2013

NRA Women in Wilderness. You will learn to shoot smallbore rifle silhouette, scoped/tactical carbine, long range high power rifle, conventional and tactical pistol, historic firearms and shotgun (five-stand). You will also learn archery, tree stand safety and participate in a mock hunt.

Politically, am I a huge fan of the NRA? No. But I have taken women-only instructional shooting clinics with them and found the level of instruction to be EXCELLENT.

Prepare yourself for the zombie apocalypse. Learn what you're doing with firearms and bows, and how to find your own food in the wild.
posted by corn_bread at 10:03 AM on October 21, 2013 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: These are awesome y'all! Keep 'em coming!
posted by bluesky78987 at 12:47 PM on October 21, 2013

Sonata. 40 pianos. One Vermont mansion. A half a dozen talented and fun music teachers. A week of playing, along with gourmet cuisine. All playing levels. I've gone three times and loved it each time.
posted by storybored at 3:52 PM on October 25, 2013

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