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Keep Learning in California

April 21, 2020

With most of the world staying home this spring, many people are using their time to learn new skills, start new hobbies, or brush up on topics that they may not have had time for previously. Learning can be an escape in and of itself, but when travel to California resumes it will be possible for visitors to expand their horizons even further, and continue to fuel their love of learning. Opportunities abound throughout the state for travelers to whip up a recipe with local ingredients, create art with local artists or even forage for mushrooms.


Get Industrious: At Oakland’s The Crucible travelers can learn the lost art of blacksmithing, weld their own waffle iron, or create unique jewelry in a host of classes designed to introduce people to the industrial arts.

Channel Your Inner Ansel: Yosemite National Park inspired legendary photographer Ansel Adams and now it can inspire you with half and full day photography classes that teach budding shooters how to capture the park’s natural beauty. You’ll leave with shots that will garner more Insta likes than you’ve ever had before.

Get Your Hands Dirty: If you’ve ever wanted to learn how to throw clay, Anam Cré Pottery Studio in San Luis Obispo is your spot. For over 20 years the shop in the artsy MoJo District has offered a wide range of pottery classes. Book a night class and pair pottery with a bottle of wine for a unique evening out in SLO.

Blow It: Things are heating up on the Central Coast in the tiny town of Harmony, which has a population of 18!  At Harmony Glass Works glassblower Eric Dandurand leads visitors in a fun glassblowing workshop to create a glass vase or bowl.

Cobble it Together: If you’ve always wanted custom shoes, now is your chance to get them and have a hand in making the pair. Debra Hovel Footwear, in Palm Springs, offers custom sandal and shoe making classes for visitors wanting to create a totally unique souvenir of their trip to the desert. 

Beer Enlightenment: San Diego is California’s Capital of Craft Beers and the best way to experience it is on a Brew Hop Tour. Every educational tour visits at least one brewery where guests will have VIP behind-the-scenes access.

Culinary Adventures

Forage for ‘Shrooms: Come to the McCloud Mushroom and Music Festival and forage for shrooms with Todd Spanier, called the King of Mushrooms. Learn all about these fabulous fungi while hunting for morels, chanterelles and boletus with the master.

Stay & Cook: For a truly immersive experience book the stay-and-cook package at the Philo Apple Farm in Mendocino County. The working farm has a handful of charming cottages on property and guests will have the chance to learn about homesteading, farming and cook with the family.

Say Cheese: They say California cows make the best cheese and at Sonoma County’s  Achadinha Cheese Company you can find out for yourself. The cheese making class will teach you your curds from your whey and includes a ranch tour, cheese tasting and lunch.

Wine Not: Learn about the food and wine culture of Tuolumne County in the High Sierra country with local celebrity chef Eric Davis of Industrial Food Works. Chef Davis leads visitors in fun, casual, hands-on cooking and wine classes where guests will learn new culinary skills, gain some wine knowledge and enjoy some amazing epicurean delights along the way.

Olive It: Wine connoisseurs have always enjoyed tastings, and now with the wide range of artisanal olive oils at the Temecula Olive Oil Company visitors can have a similar experience uncovering what olive oil pleases their palate. Maybe it’s the Olivum Reserve Late Harvest Olive Oil, or perhaps the Fresh Blood Orange Olive Oil is more your style.

Mama Mia!: San Diego’s Little Italy is home to a host of Italian immigrants who brought the fine art of pizza making to the city. Learn their secrets at Officine Buona Forchetta’s pizza making class. Led by the restaurant’s master pizzaiolos, visitors will master the art of pizza Neapolitana, while also learning about Italian wine and cheese. Everyone leaves with their own pie and a Certified Pizzailo t-shirt.

History Buff

All That Jazz: Celebrate Concord’s hometown celebrity, the legendary jazz musician, Dave Bruebeck, at the city park that bears his name. The lush park, which was the original setting of Concord’s jazz festival, is a perfect place for a picnic.

From Ohlone to Ostriches: There’s more than garlic in Gilroy! At the Chitactac-Adams Heritage County Park petroglyphs, bedrock mortars and tule structures tell the story of the Ohlone natives who once inhabited the area. The family will love the guided tour at the Ostrich Farm where you’ll meet these feathered friends up close and personal and learn all about ostrich farming.

Artist’s Colony: Explore the utterly charming Carmel-By-The-Sea with a guided walk through some of Carmel’s 41 secret passageways and courtyards, art galleries and wineries. Carmel was one of the most famous art colonies founded by creatives including Jack London and George Sterling.

Animal History: Head to the San Simeon coast to learn about the history of some of California’s marine animals. At Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery docents are on hand to share information on these unique mammals. The Coastal Discovery Center offers interactive exhibits on marine life and you can learn about California’s historic whaling towns during a tour of the Piedras Blancas Light Station.

Hang Ten: Huntington Beach is the official Surf City USA and with McKinnon Surf & SUP Lessons you can be a part of the city’s surf history learning to hang ten at one of five surf beaches in the area.