There are vacations where all you want to do is lie on a lounge chair at a gorgeous hotel with a book and a cocktail in hand — and your iPhone far, far away. There are also vacations where you want to get out there, explore every inch of a new place, and discover all you can. But sometimes you want to do a little of both: Hang at the resort you just splurged on but also learn something new and cool without having to go far.
If you find yourself interested in the latter next time you're ready to take off, there are some luxurious properties around the country that offer lessons in lots of fascinating things you didn't even realize you wanted to learn, right on the premises. Here are five to consider.
Stand-Up Paddle Board Yoga
You may very well have taken a yoga class or attempted stand-up paddle boarding before, but chances are you haven't tried both at the same time. At this beachfront resort, guests can paddle out in the Pacific with an instructor who teaches you how to perform perfect poses on the board. It may be challenging, but your balance will never be better by the end of the 45-minute session and, let's face it – those sweeping views of Waikiki Beach sure beat looking at the back of the guy in front of you in the stuffy studio back home. $35 per person
The lovely lake at this resort with perfect views of the Rockies is stocked with trout, large-mouth bass, and sunfish ready for guests to go for. During the two-hour lessons, groups of no more than six learn "fly tying" (considered an art form by many, it involves attaching feathers and other materials to your lure to catch fish), then head out to the water where you get a casting lesson from a fly-fishing pro and then see what you can catch… and then release. Afterwards, you can tell an actual fish story by the fire inside the Adirondack-style lodge that looks out over the lake. $150 per person
Ever ask your significant other for a little massage after a long day only to get a rough rubdown that's anything but relaxing? Hopefully you'll both end up with mad skills after learning proper technique from an expert massage therapist during an interactive couple's massage. Sadly, they don't help you negotiate whose turn it is once you get back home. $235 per couple for 50 minutes, $300 per couple for 80 minutes
We've all done plenty of wine drinking on vacation, but wine making? Probably not as much. During this 90-minute hands-on class taught by sommeliers you'll learn the art of blending different varietals to create the ultimate glass of vino, using four different wines to create three different blends during the course of the evening. You'll also get a lesson in winemaking history, do some tasting (of course), and have a few nibbles. Because wine without cheese is just not as good, no matter who made it. $100 per person
We're not sure you'll end up implementing this skill in your daily life, but man, beekeeping is a pretty wild thing to say you learned. At this luxe estate in the Great Smoky Mountains, you'll get to don that fabled beekeeper veil and go inside the farm's hives to check out some bee colonies, learn lots of neat facts about how they eat and how the environment affects their lives, and then get to taste some fresh-as-it-gets honey straight from the comb. Led by preservationist and beekeeper extraordinaire Shannon Walker, you'll leave with the info you need to start a colony of your own … just in case. While the bees are currently on hiatus, the class (known as "The Buzz") will return to Blackberry Farm this summer. $90 per person
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