Back To School


No matter what your current frame of mind is concerning facebook, it’s great for two things: birthdays and back-to-school. My daughter is all grown up and for the first time NOT heading back, but I love to see my friend’s kids dolled up in first-day outfits, with that excited, yet slightly reluctant look on their fresh faces. I like to head back, too, and generally have a few online classes bookmarked, from How to FINALLY Write That Book (ha!) to Understanding SEO (more likely). If you prefer to participate in person, our area offers an astonishing variety of adult education opportunities, and I’ve gathered a list of appealing ones here.

Wesleyan Institute of Lifelong Learning offers up an interesting catalog including When the Story is Yours: Reading and Writing the Memoir Essay, and Shooting From the Heart, where personal growth intersects with photography in a guided encounter with your own creative genius. Find these and more at:

The Graduate Institute in Bethany, CT offers graduate degrees and non-credit courses in Positive Psychology, integrative health and healing, coaching, and organizational leadership (I could use that!).  Their goal is to provide transformative education based on an integrative and holistic perspective. Most courses are over weekends throughout the year to fit easily in a busy schedule. Info sessions are coming up on 9/11 and 9/25. Find out more about course offerings here:

Painters at all levels head to Lyme Art Association for serious instruction from Beginner Watercolors to Portrait Painting and Plein Air. Private lessons by artist Jack Montmeat are available, too, in this historic and beloved institution. Check the schedule here:

ERACE (East Shore Region Adult & Continuing Education) course offerings are vast and varied, from Into to Social Media and Photoshop for Everyone to Ayurvedic Cooking and Zumba. Here’s a good one: Learn to Sell Your Wares on Ebay! Classes are mainly in Branford and Guilford. Here’s the catalog:

New London Adult Ed covers the Shoreline with classes in everything from Financial Fitness (free!) to Fairy Houses. Day trips and overnight excursions, too! Queen Mary, anyone? Classes are in multiple locations between Old Lyme and New London. See it all here:

Guilford Art Center offers plenty of opportunities to get your hands dirty, with classes in ceramics, sculpture, glass, metal, fiber, and more. No matter your medium, you’ll find something here, plus workshops in encaustic collage and silk scarf dying. Click here for schedule:

Learn Basic Blacksmithing or Celestial Navigation at Mystic Seaport, plus coming up for the holidays: Rope Wreath Making and Holiday Pies and Pudding. Sign up here:

The Florence Griswold Museum’s offerings this fall are so interesting: The Expressive Wellness Series on  is for artists and non-artists, who wish to deepen their self-awareness, find stress reduction strategies, or navigate life transitions through the creative art making process. Fans of Edgar Allen Poe will enjoy September’s Reading Club, and a drop-in history program: A Farmer’s Wife in Connecticut; learn about celebrating and preserving the harvest from Leslie Evans, food historian and Director of the Avery-Copp House Museum. There’s more here:

Explore the basic functions of a DSLR camera at this newly renovated barn-turned-photography-studio and work directly with professional photographer, Carla McElroy at Connecticut Photography Studio’s Intro to Digital Photography. 6 Wednesdays starting September 12. Learn more here:

P.S. Save the date for Wee Faerie Village! 9/29 thru 10/28

The Lyman Allyn offers Art History For All: From Constantine the Great to Mehmet the Conqueror: Art in the Byzantine Empire, in five Thursday evening sessions:

Spectrum Art Gallery in Centerbrook offers workshops in pressed botanicals, collage, photography, origami and more:


Learn to cook at Weekend Kitchen in Essex:

Learn to sew at Cate’s Sew Modern in Guilford:

Learn to throw at Earth and Fire Studio in Essex:

Learn to forage at White Gate Farm in East Lyme:

Learn woodworking at Nautical Arts Workshop in Deep River:

Learn French (or Spanish, Mandarin, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Arabic, Greek and Russian) at Aux Trois Pommes in Guilford and New Haven:

Creative writers convene in Clinton at the Henry Carter Hull Library on monthly Mondays:


Here’s one of my favorite online learning destinations, with short classes and workshops on everything from crafting and cooking to creative writing and computers: