Combine an art class with travel to do more than just look

Travel does not have to be the old if it is Monday this must be Madrid scenario. Arguably the best way to see an area is to remain unpacked for more than a day. Even better, do something special while there.

There is nothing wrong with renting a cottage or condo in your destination of choice for a week. But when you need an excuse to take off time or some extra incentive to visit a region, look for classes to take.

The second of a series on combining a class with travel looks at two travel destinations where visitors can take art classes.

Pottery is nice to buy from an expert such as John Dietrich whose shop and studio with wife Diane McNeil is in Ellison Bay on Wiscon's Door County. But besides finding the perfect piece to take home it is also nice to take a class to better understand the craft

Pottery is nice to buy from an expert such as John Dietrich whose shop and studio with wife Diane McNeil is in Ellison Bay on Wiscon's Door County. But besides finding the perfect piece to take home it is also nice to take a class to better understand the craft

Maine

If you have a yearning to visit the fishing villages, forests and coast of Maine, look into Haystack Mountain School of Crafts. No prior craft knowledge needed unless you are seeking an advanced class. You can take a one week summer workshop here in fibers, clay, metals, wood, glass and even blacksmithing.

The only problem is that you might be distracted by the scenery. Haystack overlooks the Atlantic Ocean on Deer Isle. Indeed, just driving there from the Bangor Airport or Boston if doing New England this trip, is about following back country roads to Deer Isle.

But you are not there yet.  You skip across the Eggemoggin Reach and tiny islands to reach the school. Haystack’s scenic location gives new meaning to the phrase “tucked away.”

Classes are Monday through Friday and the studios are open 24/7 so students don’t have to stop work on their projects when the instruction for the day is done. Students stay and eat on campus during their workshop period.

Because Haystack is on the middle of Maine’s coast, about 70 miles from Bangor, 160 miles from Portland and 250 miles from Boston, taking a class here can be bookended with a weekend near any of those towns.

The state is all about water: 5,000 miles of coast, 6,000 lakes, 32,000 miles of rivers. So enjoy its scenery and, of course, lobster. The yummy seafood is about half the price you pay at home.

A good resource is the Maine Office of Tourism.

Haystack Mountain School of Crafts,  89 Haystack School Drive, Deer Isle, Maine 04627, 207-348-2306

The Peninsula School of Art holds workshops year round that are a good escuse to visit Door County

The Peninsula School of Art holds workshops year round that are a good escuse to visit Door County

Wisconsin

Door County, Wisconsin, a peninsula that juts like a thumb into Lake Michigan from the southern edge of Green Bay, is known as a vacation destination.

The county is also known as a haven for sculptors, painters, photographers and ceramicists. It is also a good place to go gallery hopping and take a class at the Peninsula School of Art.

Workshops run anywhere from one day to a semester.  Best plan to combine a class and a travel stay is to look at the offerings during your vacation time. Classes range from ceramics, jewelry and metal arts to painting and photography for all skill levels.

The school does not have a campus but The Door, as the peninsula is popularly known, has a wide choice from cottages and condos to inns and B and B’s.

The art school is conveniently situated in Fish Creek which is dotted with interesting shops and places to stay. When not in class, explore the Peninsula’s winding roads through woods and farmlands.

Green Bay, the waterway, not the town, borders Door County on its northwest. Lake Michigan laps up to the southeast shoreline or underside of the thumb.

The closest major airport is Green Bay but guests also fly into Milwaukee.

More information at  Door County, Wisconsin.

Peninsula School of Art, 3900 County F, Fish Creek, Wisc. 54212, 920-868-3455

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