Get schooled outside the city limits.
Who says camp’s just for kids? We miss those heady summer days in the woods—making new friends by the hour, sleeping in blissfully stuffy cabins, whiling away the days with games and stuffing our faces with s’mores. The grown-up version of summer camp is all about honing your talents or learning new skills. So get out of your cubicle, get on the road, and cultivate your creativity outside the city limits.
Pick up a paintbrush
Celebrating its 100th anniversary this summer, the School of the Art Institute’s Ox-Bow school of art and artists’ residencies in Saugatuck, Michigan, is a picturesque cluster of architecturally significant cabins and studios nestled into a woodsy setting on the shores of Lake Michigan. You don’t have to be a Claes Oldenburg or Ed Paschke to study here, though those famed artists and many more have come to work in Ox-Bow’s dappled lakeside light. Courses for both accomplished artists (the competition for Ox-Bow residencies is fierce) and amateurs range from printmaking and glassblowing to sculpture and painting. Tuition, room and board start at $1,070 for one week courses. 3435 Rupprecht Way, Saugatuck, MI, 269-857-5811, ox-bow.org.
Put pen to paper
Ragdale artists’ community in Lake Forest overlooks 50 acres of gorgeous, windswept prairie. Its residencies for writers, visual artists, composers and interdisciplinary artists are tough to come by, but for $950 a week, those who submit a proposal for creative sabbaticals and are accepted can have the full residency experience. Other programs, such as The First Paragraph: A Weekend Workshop at Ragdale with Jane Hamilton (October 13) allow writers of any skill level to learn from a master. $650 for overnight attendees.1260 N Green Bay Rd, Lake Forest. 847-234-1063, ragdale.org.
Get back to nature
Founded by landscape architect Jens Jensen, the Clearing Folk School near Wisconsin’s Door Peninsula offers an idyllic respite from city life. The school’s historic stone and log buildings are scattered around its 130-acre property, where hiking trails wind among meadows, a forest and the lakeside. The folk-school experience is a combination of social interaction and quiet reflection, and courses include quilting, birding, wood carving, stained glass, nature study and more. Classes start at $79. 12171 Garrett Bay Rd, Ellison Bay, WI. 877-854-3225, theclearing.org.
Find your inner artist
The summer clay studio at Lillstreet Art Center’s Lillstreet at Lakeside outpost offers wheel throwers and hand builders open studio time (monitored by an instructor) three days a week. It’s just one of many arty options at the brand-new retreat, where adults can also sign up for three-day workshops in sketchbook drawing, raku firing, watercolor painting and more. Lodging and classes are all at the historic Lakeside Inn in Harbor County, Michigan, just a 90-minute drive from downtown. $200–$350. 15251 Lakeshore Rd, Lakeside, MI. 773-769-4226, lillstreet.com.
Unwind, eat up; repeat
Mother/daughter team Kelly and Erica Emme have paired their respective skills—mom Kelly is a certified yoga instructor who teaches at a trio of suburban studios, while Erica is a foodie and a manager at The Chopping Block—to create a series of retreats for yoga and gourmet-cooking aficionados. The next one, October 15–17, is at the Abbey Resort in Lake Geneva, where participants will wake up to yoga with Kelly, take afternoon culinary workshops with Erica, and end each day with a cocktail party and family-style meal. Downtime can be spent strolling the lakeside paths and taking in brilliant fall foliage. $479 per person. 269 Fontana Blvd, Lake Geneva, WI. Yogagourmetgetaways.com.