Back-to-school season is officially in session in the Hudson Valley. Between running around for school supplies and figuring out a way to sneak healthy snacks into lunchboxes, it’s easy to forget that this time of year used to be exciting, not stress-inducing. The solution? Send yourself back to school. Once the kids settle into classes and the family establishes some semblance of a morning routine, consider signing up for a community course yourself.
These local ones are low commitment, often low cost, and always highly enjoyable. Whether you go to de-stress, learn something new, or meet new people, you’ll walk away with a new skillset and a maybe even a new hobby too.
1234 Rte 9, Wappingers Falls, 845.728.2542
Sewing is one of those underappreciated skills that can be a lifesaver when a button pops off on your favorite shirt or your heel keeps catching on that ripped hem. Learn your way around a needle and thread at Beacon Art Studios, where you can visit for family sewing, youth projects, or drop-in hours. In no time at all, you’ll be a whipstitch expert.
451 Delaware Ave, Delmar, 518.439.9314
When it comes to free or low cost community learning, local libraries are a valuable resource. Take Bethlehem Public Library, for instance. The Delmar space offers crafty sewing classes, introductions to 3D printing, and even workshops on how to build a better bag lunch. Browse through the online course calendar for a full listing of events.
40 Beech St, Port Chester, 914.937.2047
If you want to jump into something new, learn to craft with clay. The Clay Art Center in Port Chester offers weekly sessions in wheel throwing, hand building, and sculpture. Trained artists lead all lessons, so you can learn technique and procedure at the same time. Not only is the art form therapeutic, but it’s also rewarding. After all, how often can you say you made the bowl or vase that sits at the center of your dining table?
Big Blanket Class tomorrow July 25 at our Beacon, NY store 12-2 pm. Sign up online or call the store. Absolute beginner level – no experience necessary. #loopymango #madeformaking #bigloopyarn #learntoknit #loopymangobeacon #beaconny #hudsonvalley #hudsonvalleyny #hudsonvalleylife #upstatenylife #beaconknits
500 Main St, Beacon, 845.765.2476
Regardless of whether you’re a knitting expert or have never touched a skein of yarn in your life, you’ll feel right at home during a session at Loopy Mango. The Pinterest-perfect storefront makes knitting feel hip during intro and expert workshops. Beginners can drop by a “Learn to Knit” meet-up, while more experienced crafters should check out the project-specific classes to learn how to craft a beautiful scarf or cozy blanket.
668 Rte 6, Mahopac, 845.628.2009
There’s so much going on at the Mahopac library that it’s a challenge to place it in any one category of classes. Stop by for the knitting and crocheting group on Monday, get your “om” on at evening yoga on Wednesdays, or hone your writing skills in a Thursday night writers’ group. See the full calendar for the complete line-up of things to do.
For more specialized art instruction, look to Mid-Hudson Heritage Center for wheel throwing, pottery, printmaking and more. Some courses are free, and the rest offer tuition assistance programs to allow everyone to get a taste for new types of art. Check on the website or follow the center on Facebook for updates on the latest programming.
50 Market St, Saugerties, 845.246.2876
When the weather cools down, knitters and crafters should make a beeline for The Perfect Blend Yarn & Tea Shop in Saugerties. The charming edifice offers a number of specialty courses that touch upon everything from sock making and lacework to needle felting and sweater design. A basic understanding of knitting is recommended for anyone interested in attending a class, so keep your skill level in mind before you sign up for anything.
521 Kennicut Hill Rd, Mahopac, 845.803.8622
Mahopac’s art hub is a must for budding artists or professionals in the Hudson Valley. Local creatives can learn to hand build with clay, improve their photography skills, perfect their vocal cords, or become an oil painting pro. Classes take place in the climate controlled art studio spaces at the Belle Levine Art Center and are led by skilled artists and educators in the region.
Culinary Institute of America, 1946 Campus Dr, Hyde Park, 845.452.2230
Dreaming of becoming the next Food Network star? Take a step in the right direction with a course at the Culinary Institute in Hyde Park. The top-ranking institution offers classes that center around specific techniques, dishes, and cuisines, so feel free to pick and choose according to preference. Learn how to bake bread in “Artisan Breads at Home,” amp up your dinners with “Gourmet Meals in Minutes,” or work your way to sommelier status with “Food and Wine Pairing 101.”
107 Teller Ave, Beacon, 845.831.1870
At Ballet Arts Studio in Beacon, it’s never too late to live out your Nutcracker dreams. Register for a fall session to learn how to tap it out, jazz it up, or stand on pointe. Not only will you learn the basics behind each dance form, but you’ll also pack in a serious workout too.
38 Ronald Reagan Blvd, Warwick, 845.728.5488
Although the Warwick dance center is a go-to spot for kiddie and youth dance classes during the year, it happens to be a great choice for adult instruction too. Register for Ballet Sculpt classes, offered on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays, or strut your stuff in Jazz and Tap for Beginners on Tuesday nights.
793 Rte 52, Fishkill, 845.831.3371
The town of Fishkill rec center caters to the community with its medley of courses. Take a beginner Spanish lesson on Thursdays, embrace your inner artist in the 8-week “The Artist’s Corner” course, or boogie out in a Zumba lesson. As a bonus, the center has a number of fitness and fun classes for kids and seniors as well.
247 Hooker Ave, Poughkeepsie, 845.867.4887
Since fall of 2016, the Pirandello Institute has offered Italian instruction at levels ranging from beginner to expert. More recently, the center added English, German, and Spanish language courses to the mix, as well as dancing, Reiki, and knitting. If you have an interest, the institute will try to find an instructor for you.