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Heather Steeves

Heather Steeves tries to do things that are fun -- and only things that are fun. So far that's included stilt walking, roller derby and cross-country road trips in her Saturn.

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Posted: April 9, 2014

22 grown-up things to learn this spring: clamming, burlesque, archery

Written by: Heather Steeves

Learning isn’t just for babies. If you find yourself thinking, “I’ve always wanted to ____, but I don’t know how” we’re here to help. Beekeeping? Paddle boarding? How about burlesque? Whatever your dream, there are a lot of cheap classes and workshops in Maine this spring. Here are our top picks:


Learn various (awesome) homesteading skills

Portland Press Herald file photos.

Shear a sheep

It’s free to watch, in case you don’t have access to any sheep for your future shearing needs. The class will be 9 a.m. Saturday, April 26 at Wolfe’s Neck Farm in Freeport. Free for the casual sheep watcher, $40 for people who want the hands-on cutting experience, a lunch and a manual to take home. For more information visit

Grow shiitake mushrooms in your yard

So, I had no idea you could even do that. Apparently, for $60 an instructor will show you how grow shiitake mushrooms by drilling holes into small-diameter hardwood logs outdoors. You might have to wait a year before you have a little mushroom garden, but hey – if you want mushroom pizzas, mushroom spaghetti and mushroom sandwiches for a lifetime …. 2-5 p.m. Saturday, April 26, at Whatley Farm in Topsham.

Grow hops

Because you’ll need something to wash down those mushrooms, why not learn to grow hops? The class is $10 and will be 5:30-7:30 p.m. Friday, April 11 at Nokomis Regional High School in Newport.

Preserve spring vegetables … aka PICKLES!

There’s nothing quite like shoving your fingers in a jar of cold vinegar and pulling out a crunchy pickle spear. Except if that pickle was a cucumber from your garden, then you get the gold extra-credit star. Plus, once summer comes around and the cukes take over your garden, you’ll be glad to know how to pickle them.  UMaine Cooperative will school you on the basics of canning and freeing in this hands-on class  5:30-8:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 29 at the Biddeford Learning Center, 189 Alfred Rd. Biddeford. It costs $27 (including veggies and cans). Find more information at


Knitting: One of those beautiful places where hipsters and grandmas meet in peace. Portland Adult Ed will host a session Saturday afternoons starting May 1. The six-class series will set you back $50. For more information visit


Sail (or paddle) the seas

Portland Press Herlad photo of SailMaine’s boats.

If you want your summer to be on the water, you might want to train up now. Here are some options:


Sailing is an expensive hobby-sport. But people who love it reallllly love it. $400 buys you 16 hours of instruction from SailMaine — that can be one intensive weekend, or a few Mondays in a row on a 22-foot sailboat in Portland. More info:

Learn to kayak

For anyone who missed that session at summer camp, Gorham Adult Ed is hosting first-time kayaker courses on May 7, 10 and 17. More info:

Row, row, row a boat

Portland Community Rowing Association will teach you how to row — you know, you and a bunch of other people with oars in a boat, sort of like in Ben Hur … but fun. Classes range, but a recent one was about $70. More info:

What’s SUP?

Stand up paddle boarding is taking off in Maine. Why not? An as-difficult-as-you-make-it full-body workout where you can float over little fishies or out to an island? LL Bean has $20 discovery courses. More info:

Pull the trigger

Photo courtesy of the Limington Historical Society. A line of girls aim their arrows while participating in an archery class at Camp Moy-mo-da-yo in Limington in this photo from 1935. The camp operated from 1907-1971.

Not everyone wants to be a hunter. And that’s fine. That doesn’t mean there’s not a time and place to shoot stuff. Read: A safe time and safe place with expert instructors. Oh, and “stuff” that’s round and orange and made of clay and doesn’t have any babies. L.L. Bean offers an array of inexpensive courses in their Discovery School, including clay shooting and archery. $20 affords you instruction, equipment, and tutelage. Classes are on weekends starting in May.

Clay Shooting at L.L. Bean

More info:

Also check out:

Archery Discovery Course

More info:

Rake for clams

File photo from the Portland Press Herald by Gregory Rec.

You know how when you were little you’d dig and dig and dig through the sandbox in hopes of finding a penny (or, jackpot: a dime)? It’s like that except  instead of a penny, you get a delicious clam dinner. The class, through Freeport’s adult education, is free (with $3 park admission) 6-8 p.m. Wednesday, May 28 at Wolfe’s Neck Woods State Park in Freeport.

Train in Trapeze

Portland Press Herald file photo

There was a time long ago when you were a master of the monkey bars. You could dangle upside-down for the entire hour slated for recess (remember recess?!). Maybe it’s time to take the gravity-defying back with an aerial skills class. Think trapezes, silks and hoops. And a whole world of weeeeee! Classes are about $30 (depending) and run on Saturdays at Breakwater School and the Reiche Community School in Portland.

Beginner aerial skills, acrobatics or tumbling classes:

More info:

More info:


Synchronized swimming

Shutterstock photo

Seriously. I don’t know whose idea it was to offer such a class through Portland Recreation, but bless them! Because now we all have the chance to attain a dream! A nose-plugged, breath-holding, vertical and upside-down in the water dream! Also, it’s an Olympic sport, so if you plan to be ready for the 2016 games, you best start now. Classes are Thursdays at 6:30 pm at Reiche School in Portland starting May 1.

Adult synchronized swimming

More info:

Cut a rug

Maybe you wanted to be a ballerina when you were little and never got the chance (in which case, it’s never to late. Sign up for a ballet class and go get that ballerina dream!). Maybe you were forced into ballet classes and still shudder at the sight of a full-length mirror and/or tutus. In that case, go for beginner hip hop. Or Latin jazz. Or tappity tap tap.

Adult dance classes, Casco Bay Movers

More info: (drop-in classes are $16)

Argentine Tango fundamentals

Portland Adult Education is offering an intro to Argentine Tango, which it describes as “a conversation without words with someone you may not know.” It’s okay, you’re an adult now. You can have a wordless conversation with strangers. The next session starts on Monday, April 28 and runs for six Mondays. It costs $75 ($12.50 a class, on average) and you don’t need to bring a partner.
More info:

Swing dancing, Port City Swing

On the first, second and third Fridays of the month, Port City Swing hosts ongoing lessons and dances for the swingin’ guys and gals inside all of us.
More info:

Brush up on Bees

Backyard chickens are awesome. Everyone’s into it these days. And sure, the fresh eggs are phenomenal, but you know what chickens can’t do? Pollinate. In this Beekeeping 101 class, offered through Portland Adult Education, you’ll get an overview of keeping bees, including the equipment needed, investment in time and dollars, and some insight into what a year in the life of a beekeeper looks like. No bees needed for this class. The next class is 6:30-8 p.m. Wednesday, May 14 and costs $19.

Beekeeping 101

More info:

Quickly learn to play an instrument

Shutterstock image.

You don’t want to be that guy you saw in college who just played Third Eye Blind songs over and over and over on the sunny bench on the quad. But a few songs might be nice. Maybe just some chords for a start — I mean, if you know C, D, G and A you know pretty much every pop song in existence. The people over at Freeport Adult Ed made a series of music classes “for busy people.” The idea is that they give you enough knowledge to begin to play a few songs and you can get home, Google some new music to learn and build from there.


Aside from its sweet sound — which can range from luau to rocking,  it’s an easy to learn four-string instrument that will give you major cred in some circles. Plus, if you ever need to busk, it’s light and portable. Classes are Monday nights from April 28 through May 19 and cost $55 for the whole series. More info:  

Piano for Busy People:

The class is 6:30-9 p.m. Monday, May 19 in Freeport and costs $32. More info:

Guitar for busy people

The one-time class is 6:30-9 p.m. Monday, May 12 in Freeport. More info: 

Get wineducated

Shutterstock photo

If you’d like to try a bunch of wines and learn some useful dinner-party trivia to impress your many, many friends check out:

American Sommelier, Maine chapter

American Sommelier, a wine education organization based in New York City, has a state chapter right here in Maine. They’re hosting “History in the Tasting” a relaxed, not-super-fancy class 5-7 p.m. Tuesday, June 10 at Central Provisions on Fore Street. You’ll lean about a few specific people and events that helped shaped today’s wines. Costs $50.
More info: American Sommelier Maine chapter’s wine seminars

Wine Wise, Portland

From walking tours to wine sails, Wine Wise will give you the kind of homework you’ve always wanted: Drinking more wine. Upcoming talks include a wine walk about Spanish wines in Portland’s West End on Saturday, May 24 and a tour of Tuscan reds in Ogunquit on Saturday, May 31. They cost $45 each.
More info:

Learn to let loose. And shake it.

Photo courtesy Red Hot & Ladylike

Intended for the complete novice (ie, those of us who aren’t already masters of classic burlesque and whose “sultry walk” looks more like we’re recovering from a recent spinal surgery), a Red Hot & Ladylike class will teach you how to “let loose and shake it with confidence.” And by “it” they mean your bod. The spring session just started with classes like “beginner burlesque,” “dub step” and “sexy hip hop.” Drop-in classes are $15.

Red Hot & Ladylike

More info:

Fly the skies

Portland Press Herald file photo.

Sure, flying lessons aren’t cheap. But wouldn’t you rather be that guy with the pilot’s licence than that guy without the pilot’s license? Instruction costs about $45 an hour plus the airplane rental and fuel.

Southern Maine aviation flight school

Because it’s flying. FLYING. More info:

For about a billion more classes, workshops, things to do and things to learn, check out our calendar (you can filter your search by “workshops” to find more to learn):

25 can’t-miss spring events in Maine

Spring is for falling in love, hiking, tending the garden, catching a baseball game, and finally cleaning out that darn garage (really, this time).

Whether you want to take a ride in a hot-air balloon, see your first roller derby bout or eat your weight in maple syrup, we’ve got you covered.

Here are 25 events happening in Maine this spring.
Because it’s spring – do stuff.

11 spring food and drink events in Maine

Susan rounded up all the best food and drink events in Maine.

Because sometimes you want to “do” stuff, but other times you just want to eat stuff.

Like, a lot of stuff.

We have wine, seafood, chocolate, vegetables.
Eat it up.

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