Take a learning vacation and return home with more than just photos and memories. The options for hands-on training are as varied as the range of personal interests. Here are six engaging programs in locations around the U.S. — from painting to songwriting to ballroom dancing — that are guaranteed to give you precious new skills you can put to use long after the vacation is over.
Painting in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley
Ready to try your hand at painting, sketching or printmaking? Whether you’re a beginner who wants to learn the basics, an intermediate eager to pick up new techniques or a professional seeking fresh inspiration, the Art Vacations at the Shenandoah Art Destination provide all-inclusive retreats for artists of any ability in any medium. Near the historic town of Lexington, Virginia, in the gorgeous Shenandoah Valley, you can take individualized art courses in drawing, painting (all media) and printmaking. They take place in two studios and many inspiring plein air locations on the 10-acre property surrounded by scenic rolling hills. Owners Jan-Willem and Nancy Boer provide one-on-one instruction focusing on a different skill each day. From the weekend program to the 10-day intensive, these art-focused getaways, stimulate each participant’s creative spirit.
Dates: Weekend, four-day, six-day and 10-day programs run from April through October. All classes are full for 2022, but the 2023 schedule and updated rates will be available on the website in mid-November.
Cost: Single-occupancy rate for 2022 for the weekend program is $740; for four days, $1,050; for six days, $1,670, including lodging and all meals. A non-participating spouse/partner is welcome for an additional cost.
Ballroom Dancing at Sea
Strap on your dancing shoes and head out to sea on this eight-day cruise with Ballroom Dance San Diego. Hone your dance skills during group workshops offering an array of styles, including Latin, Argentine tango, hustle, swing and waltz. Take part in six group lessons offered by an award-winning pro, nightly hosted dancing to live music and plenty of opportunities for private lessons. Departing from San Diego, the cruise travels down Mexico’s Pacific Coast, stopping in Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlán and Puerto Vallarta, with three days at sea devoted to sharpening your newly acquired dance moves.
Dates: Jan. 28–Feb. 4, 2023.
Cost: Starts at $1,500, per person, double occupancy, including cruise accommodations and all meals