1. Cooking Classes
2333 N. James Madison Hwy., Locust Dale, VA, 22948; 800-385-4936; Rates: $185-265
All B&Bs offer you the chance to eat, but only a few offer the opportunity to cook. Ranking in the upper echelon of all bed and breakfast cooking schools is the pet-friendly Inn At Meander Plantation in Virigina. Classes are taught by chef and owner Suzie Blanchard and come in two varieties: season-themed Monday/Tuesday classes held once a quarter, and “Weekends in the Kitchen” which run from Fridays to Sundays throughout the year. The Monday/Tuesday classes include afternoon visits to (and tastings at) local gourmet food shops in the nearby town of Culpeper, while the weekend classes culminate with an “Easy and Elegant Dessert” course. But if a weekend’s worth of cooking sounds like too much work, have no fear: Both classes include sumptous five-course dinners each night at the onsite restaurant where you get to switch hat from student to guest. There are lots of take-home goodies from both classes, not the least of which are some great laughs courtesy of Suzie’s lighthearted teaching style. This being Virginia’s wine country, there are also occasional visits from local wineries that help amplify those laughs!
2. Painting Classes
460 East Sheridan Avenue, Williams, Arizona 86046; 928.814.2809; Rates: $160-230
It’s easy to snap a photo or two from your B&B and its environs. It’s much more challenging to render the local landscape as a work of art. But maybe that will be a little easier after you take one of the workshops at this Arizona B&B. There are two classes on offer here: a watercolor workshop that uses the inn’s grounds and local forests as inspiration to produce an 8 x 10 painting, and a pastel class that brings students to the Grand Canyon (about an hour away) to create their own 9 x 12 masterpiece. Because creativity burns energy, you’ll get to refuel with the included cheese platter and glass of wine at the end of the day, the perfect snack for a budding artiste!
3. Yoga Classes
44 Summer Street, Bath, Maine, 04530; 207-443-3399; Rates: $180-255
When you think about taking new class, you might ponder flexing and stretching your mind. But at the Kismet Inn in Bath, Maine, the classes stretch your body. As a compliment to the inn’s vibrantly colored, cleanly designed guest rooms, organic and locally sourced meals, and Reiki and massage spa treatments, Kismet Inn also offers yoga classes to guests at 8:15 on Saturday mornings. The classes not only help teach proper yoga poses, but also focus on breathing techniques to help quiet the mind and relax the body. You can also participate in Tibetan Singing Bowl Therapy sessions here, a sound modality that helps clear the mind. If that doesn’t leave you blissed out, there’s always a sea-salt bath, body exfoliation or several other spa treatments that’ll have you “learning” to relax in no time.
4. Riding Classes
12889 S. Parker Ave., Pine, CO, 80470; 303-838-5430; Rates: $110-150
Situated in the Rocky Mountains, about 40 miles from Denver, Anchorage Farm offers its guests riding lessons on any of their six “school horses” including Marley, Sabre and Shade. The riding lessons and horses are provided by the onsite Centaur Rising charity which aims to improve the lives of youth and adults by having them spend more time around horses. The B&B also offers a video instruction library so you can brush up on your skills even when you’re out of the saddle. Speaking of saddles, there’s an onsite hot tub that should help soothe tired muscles at day’s end.
5. Gardening Classes
212 Park Street, Bellaire, MI 49615; 800-545-0780; Rates: $90-245
After the kitchen, the garden is another prime area in which innkeepers can demonstrate their artistry and creativity. At the Bellaire Bed & Brekafast in Michigan, you can learn to create an inn-worthy garden from innkeeper Jim Walker, a certified landscape designer and former staff member in the Department of Horticulture at Michigan State University. In the Spring, the inn offers a series of Garden Seminars including topics like “Paint By Numbers: All Season Color Design,” “A Is For Aster: Perennial Gardening Primer,” and, a personal favorite topic: “A View From The Hammock: Gardens For Low Maintenance.” The inn has five rooms in the main house, plus another 4 in the carriage house which have upgraded amenities and gas fireplaces.