October 16, 2021

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For splendid leisure

Hudson Valley workshops this fall

4 min read

Guitar lessons, bread baking, origami. About six in 10 Americans took up a new hobby during the pandemic. With so much leisure time normally devoted to social activities, dining out or vacations, many of us suddenly found no excuse to not try knitting, or learn how to build a stone wall, as we always said we would like to, “if we just had the time.”

Now, as life inches back toward something resembling normalcy, still-flexible work schedules allow for time to not just maintain, but deepen engagement in outside interests, and maybe pick up a new one if you never began a pandemic project in the first place.

“There are so many ways for adults to learn right now,” says Jim Carden, co-owner and operator of Hillsdale’s Taconic Ridge Farm and the event and hospitality property Forgather. Hillsdale will host an immersive weekend September 11 and 12 with a rich range of workshop options, run by Carden and several other gardening, floristry, writing, history and culinary enthusiasts.

“Really it’s an outgrowth of interconnected workshops that have been a big part of Hillsdale for years,” says Matthew White, one of the event’s organizers, and the owner of Hillsdale General Store and HGS Home Chef, who was inspired to teach cooking classes by a local force in the community who taught classes before him.

And as great as YouTube tutorials are, many hands-on crafts are easier to learn in person, when you can ask questions and get feedback on your progress.

With that in mind, we’ve rounded up some of the most inspiring workshops and classes in the Hudson Valley. Get psyched adults: it’s back to school time for you, too.

In this workshop as part of the Hillsdale Workshop Alliance, attendees will create their own dahlia-centric arrangement after a brief how-to demonstration with dahlia fanatic and Tiny Hearst Farm co-owner, Jenny Elliott.

In this workshop as part of the Hillsdale Workshop Alliance, attendees will create their own dahlia-centric arrangement after a brief how-to demonstration with dahlia fanatic and Tiny Hearst Farm co-owner, Jenny Elliott.

Courtesy Tiny Hearts Farm

The Hillsdale Workshop Alliance is launching its inaugural event on September 11th and 12th.

Carden, White, Roach and several other local crafts-masters — including Jenny Elliott and Luke Franco of Tiny Hearts Farm; artist Mark Holthusen; and Aubrey Lynch II, the former principal dancer with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater — to bring all of their workshops and classes under one umbrella, and create an immersive weekend-long experience that celebrates the bounty and diversity of the Hudson Valley. 

Attendees choose which classes they want to pursue. (A few unusual and notable options: Deciphering the Meaning of Cemetery Symbols with Allison C. Meier, and Life on the Homestead: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly, with Kristin White.)

Some classes are free, and others range in prices from $25 and up. Many reflect the interest and engagement of the organizers in the natural world, and specifically, the Hudson Valley itself.

Not around that weekend? Classes will continue throughout the year.

Architectural salvage shop Hudson Valley House Parts in Newburgh hosts various preservation workshops, including this one on how to restore old windows.

Architectural salvage shop Hudson Valley House Parts in Newburgh hosts various preservation workshops, including this one on how to restore old windows.

Courtesy Hudson Valley House Parts

Hudson Valley House Parts (HVHP) is entranced with the city of Newburgh: the history, the fascinating architecture, the opportunities for preservation. In addition to getting in there helping home and business owners preserve and maintain their building facades, owner Reggie Young is dedicated to teaching locals how to do the hard but rewarding work of restoration themselves.

Workshops are updated on the HVHP site frequently, and often sell out. A few upcoming workshops include one that will teach the essentials of repointing historic lime mortar masonry, repairing and resurfacing it (Lime Mortar class: August 20); and another class on Plaster Restoration (September 17and 18), at which attendees learn the benefits of plaster and alternatives, basic surface preparation, and how to repair historic plaster walls.

Classes range in prices, but usually start around $175. For the latest offerings, check HVHP’s Workshop Calendar.

The Culinary Institute of American in Hyde Park offers hands-on cooking classes, more intensive boot camps for cooking and baking, as well as wine lessons and family-friendly cooking experiences.

The Culinary Institute of American in Hyde Park offers hands-on cooking classes, more intensive boot camps for cooking and baking, as well as wine lessons and family-friendly cooking experiences.

Courtesy the Culinary Institute of America

Hyde Park’s CIA doesn’t just produce stellar professional chefs like Davide Burke, Grant Achatz and Anthony Bourdain, it offers an array of cooking classes for hobbyists. The classes fill up quickly though, so reserve well in advance.

Upcoming classes include Fall in the Hudson Valley (September 11th), a class dedicated to learning how to use farm-fresh bounty and a range of classic and innovative cooking techniques to create delicious dishes; and Everything Chocolate (September 25th), that will teach the art of sweet and savory chocolate making.

Classes range in prices, but usually start around $250. The CIA site offers a full schedule of events.

The Wooden Boat School at the Hudson River Maritime Museum in Kingston offers courses in woodworking, boatbuilding, and hand crafts. 

The Wooden Boat School at the Hudson River Maritime Museum in Kingston offers courses in woodworking, boatbuilding, and hand crafts. 

Courtesy Hudson River Maritime Museum

The Hudson River Maritime Museum in Kingston offers a Wooden Boat School, with the goal of preserving the maritime craft traditions of the Hudson Valley.

But the museum offers classes geared for those by land, too. Upcoming classes include Build Your Own Adirondack Chair (September 4th and 5th) and Remote Control Pond Yacht (Aug. 30 – Sept. 4th), at which attendees build and sail a remote control sailboat.

Prices for classes start around $240, and material kits are often additional. The museum offers a full list of classes.

Who says adulting has to be boring or hard?

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