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Shannon Bryan

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Posted: June 13, 2013

Warm-weather education: 16 cool things to learn

Written by: Shannon Bryan

The impending summer will certainly teach you a few things (like how sunburns are awful and ice cream is awesome). You might even learn that a cup of wine and some cellophane are an easy trick to get rid of fruit flies (local hint: the Semi Sweet from Maine Mead Works will lure those buggers in like nothing else).

But if you’d like to take your warm-weather education to a level beyond dairy products and peeling skin, check out our list of lessons and workshops that’ll teach you something fun and unforgettable:

Learn to kayak

Who doesn’t like a good paddle in the morning? And those evening paddles can’t be beat. Learn to paddle like a pro (we’re talking kayaks here, right?) with Portland Paddle. New to the East End, they offer introductory lessons for novices and tips for the more experienced. Lessons include Intro to Sea Kayaking, Rescue Clinic, and Rolling Clinic and cost $40-$45. A Wednesday Night Skills Session is $20 or $10 if you have your own kayak.
Portland Paddle | Portland |

Learn to Sail

You already are the captain of your own ship, am I right? Like, if your ship were your life. You’re totally in charge. It’s just that your “ship,” as it stands, doesn’t spend much time sailing the high seas. But it wants to. Learn to sail with beginners lessons from SailMaine in Portland. 15-hour courses, family lessons, private lessons and women-only lessons available.
SailMaine | Portland | 772-7245 |

Learn to Surf

It sure is nice to doze off to the rhythmic sound of the waves tumbling into the sand. But it’d be cooler to ride those waves instead. There are a handful of surf shops along Maine’s southern coast
Wahine Kai Surf School | Kennebunkport | 423-9066 or
Liquid Dreams | Ogunquit & York | 351-2545 (York) 207-641-2545 (Ogunquit) or
Aquaholics Surf Shop | Kennebunk | 967-8650 or

Learn to Swing, Rumba, Bachata and Waltz

Do you try to swing your partner round and round, only to discover your partner would rather be jabbed with pins than dance with the likes of you? A dance lesson might do you wonders. Try a lesson at Maine Ballroom Dancing. They offer classes in tango, cha-cha, hustle, foxtrot, swing, rumba and others.
Maine Ballroom Dancing | Portland | or 773-0002

Learn to Trapeze

Ah, the life of a trapeze swinger! All that swinging – all those bedazzled leotards! Learn the art of the trapeze without having to deal with all the circus nonsense. (The elephants can be so cliquey.) Fabric workshops available, too!
Apparatus Dance Theater workshops | Portland | Check for upcoming classes: or 806-9971.

Learn to Belly Dance

Sometimes bellies seem to dance without any effort from us. They just…shake. Of course, giving that midsection a purposeful shimmy now and then is kinda fun. Learn to belly dance in workshops with Rosa Noreen. She teaches classes for all levels on Mondays and Wednesdays, including a daytime shimmy session.
Bright Star World Dance | Portland | $72 six-week session |

Learn to Fly Fish

It looked so cool and meditative in “A River Runs Through It,” didn’t it? Fly casting is rhythmic, calming, and not easy to master. But the good folks at LL Bean will get you well on your fly-fishing way with a walk-on adventure May through October.
LL Bean Walk On Adventures | Freeport | $20 | or 888-552-3261
For a more involved fly fishing excursion, look to

Learn to Wind Surf

Wind can be a hassle. It tosses the plates at your picnic, tornadoes your hair and knocks the patio furniture around. We can curse it if we want. But we can also catch it in a sail and make it pull us around a Maine lake. The latter is more fun.
Windsurfing Maine | North Leeds | or 784-7300

Learn to Rock Climb

Julie Andrews told us to climb every mountain. Have you climbed any mountains yet? Learn how with Acadia Mountain Guides. They offer half day and full day instruction at Acadia, Baxter State Park, Camden and North Conway.
Acadia Mountain Guides Climbing School | Bar Harbor | $60 to $255 depending on the size of the group |
or 288-8186

Learn to Cook

It’s not that microwaved hot dogs aren’t awesome. But maybe it’d be nice to make something a little less, uh, tubular. Take a cooking class to learn some basic techniques and dishes – your friends will be impressed. And grateful.
Stonewall Kitchen Cooking School | York | Most classes $55 | or 877-899-8363
Leroux Kitchen | Portland | Free cooking demos |

Learn to Skeet Shoot

You could be a sharpshooter. But it’s hard to tell, since you’ve only ever shot rubberbands at anything, and they usually end up veering dramatically in the wrong direction. Learn some safe shooting with Brad Varney at Varney’s Clay Sports. He’ll teach you the ins and outs of aiming a shotgun and hitting your target. Might help with the rubberband issue, too.
Varney’s Clay Sports | Richmond | $75/hour or $100/hour for two students | or 737-4993

Learn your Wine

You might hang out with wine a lot, but do you really know it? Do you know its hopes and dreams? What makes it cry? Learn more about wine during one of the regular Wine Walks in the Old Port with Sommelier Erica Archer. Your relationship with wine will only grow stronger.
Wine Wise Events | Portland | $40-$70 |

Learn to Get Creative

Creativity shouldn’t’ go out the window once you become a grownup. Unfortunately, it sometimes dose. Get reacquainted with your artistic side with an array of classes at Artascope in South Portland. From beaded charm bracelets and sea glass pendants to twisted wire rings and collage, the instructors will help you make something amazing.
Artascope Studios | South Portland | About $50 | or 799-5154

Learn to Act

To be or not to be – it’s not even a question when you don’t know how to act. But if you’ve fancied taking the stage, in a minor role at a local theater or on Broadway, or even if you’d simply like to improve your public-speaking confidence, there’s an acting class for that.
Acorn Productions | Westbrook | Check out the sessions:

Learn to Scuba

Exploring what’s below the water’s surface is insanely cool – and hard to do for long periods of time when you’re just holding your breath. But scuba diving – with those handy flippers and oxygen tanks – gives you a chance to take your time underwater peeking at sea life. There are several area dive shops that offer entry-level courses.
Maine Divers Scuba Center | Portland |
Aqua City Scuba | Waterville |
Skin Divers Paradise | Auburn |
Johnsons Sporting Goods | Brunswick, Rockland, Portland |
Aqua Diving Academy | Portland |

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