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Shannon Bryan

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Posted: September 2, 2013

Adult education: 10 grownup things to learn in Maine this fall

Written by: Shannon Bryan

This is the time of year when the dreams start up again. You know the ones: You’re in gym class without pants, or at your hallway locker and you can’t remember your combination. And you’re not wearing pants.

It doesn’t matter how many years you’ve been out of school – fall still puts our brains into learning mode. We could ignore it. We could snuff out the sensation with large quantities of bologna sandwiches and wine. Or we could embrace our brain’s natural desire to LEARN STUFF.

And remember, we didn’t say you had to learn advanced calculus (not that there’s anything wrong with that). You could learn something drinkable. Or involving a trapeze. Or, dare we say, kind of naughty. You’re a grownup now. You can do that.

Train in Trapeze

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?! Why don’t adults have that?). These days you only defy gravity for the fraction of a second it takes to jump up and smash a spider on the kitchen wall. 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! Class runs on Saturdays at Breakwater School in Portland.

Beginner aerial skills class

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 fall session begins Sept. 9 and classes are drop in.

Red Hot & Ladylike

More info:

Get Wineducated

You’ve probably been to wine tasting in the past. Wine tastings are great. But this is different. This is a 10-week course that includes classes on growing grapes, wine making, historical events, and of course how to really taste and assess a glass of wine. The session costs $325 and is slated to begin in mid-Sept. (they’re still finalizing the details) and will take place at One City Center on Wednesday nights.

Wine classes

For more information or to sign up, email Mark Ohlson, owner of MJ’s Wine Bar in Portland, at

Also check out:

American Sommelier, Maine chapter

American Sommelier, a wine education organization based in New York City, is launching a state chapter right here in Maine.
More info: American Sommelier launching Maine chapter with series of wine seminars

Wine Wise, Portland

From walking tours to wine sails, Erica Archer will give you the kind of homework you’ve always wanted: Drinking more wine.
More info:

Study synchronized swimming

Seriously. Synchronized swimming. 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.

Adult synchronized swimming

More info:

Major in Cutting 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:

Also check out:

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.
More info:

Swing dancing, Port City Swing

On the first 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.

Beekeeping 101

More info:

Write. You know, for kids!

Why are Suzanne Collins and Stephenie Meyer raking in all that young-adult-fiction dough? You can write about things kids like, too! Trilogies of things! Writing Young Adult and Children’s Fiction class meets for eight weeks to talk about plot, character, setting, editing, and maybe vampires and homework and to-the-death battles between teens.

Writing young adult and children’s fiction

More info:

Also check out:

Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance workshop

Learn the art of book reviewing, how to overcome writer’s block, and how to really, really tell the truth in that memoir of yours in a Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance workshop.
More info:

Work the wood

You might know several people who own a paddleboard. Heck, you might own one yourself. But I bet none of those folks built that paddleboard with their own two hands. Back in my day, if you wanted a sandwich, you made it! And if you wanted a log home, you built it! And if you wanted a paddleboard, you signed up for a paddleboard building class and worked with smart intructors who helped you build the thing and looked out to make sure you didn’t screw it up. Luckily, there is such a class, offered through Compass Project.

Paddleboard building class

More info:

Also check out:

Women’s Woodworking: A primer

Practice pulling the trigger

Shannon Bryan photo

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.

Clay Shooting at L.L. Bean

More info:

Also check out:

Archery Discovery Course

More info:

Specialize in the skies

With ground transportation growing increasingly costly and chaotic (and I mean chaotic – sometimes several minutes stuck in traffic) we certainly need to begin thinking about alternate methods of long-distance movement. Me, I’m for the hovercraft. But you? You might be a high-in-the-sky kind of commuter. 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?

Southern Maine aviation flight school

Because it’s flying. FLYING. More info:

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