You can learn to stand-up paddleboard while your dog reenacts Titanic.

Photo by Michael Peterson

Travel is all about learning. You should always come home with heightened cultural awareness, or perhaps with the new ability to order a Filet o’ Fish in a foreign language. In Hood River, Oregon, a series of Travel to Learn courses will sends visitors home with skills that are actually useful.

Taught by locals, the offerings include culinary, outdoor, and craft courses. There’s Intro to Catamaran Sailing, Chakra Balancing with Crystals, and even an acupuncture class that teaches self-acupressure (that’s not something you want to try without guidance). Learn to make yoga pants in a beginning sewing course at Hood River Sewing and Vacuum, or polish your professional skills at Tips For Effective Communication. Another path to popularity? Taking the Crème Brulee Cooking Class.

A number of hikes explore the waterfalls, mineral springs, and canyons of the area, including guided wildflower hikes on March 27 with Craig Romano, a Western Washington guidebook author and trail writer.

Classes start March 23 and run through April 22, and all are in the Hood River area or just across the river in Washington. Many sessions are free, while others have fees to cover equipment, materials, or meals. Hotels in the area include the Columbia Gorge Hotel, a historic building with Old Hollywood style, and the resort-like Skamania Lodge in Stevenson, WA.

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