Culinary vacations are hot these days. Here are four getaway spots that offer hands-on cooking lessons and access to top chefs.
Manor on Golden Pond
Dig in to the one of the small group cooking classes at this Holderness, N.H., inn on Squam Lake. The classes are held only in the spring and winter seasons, but you can book an Epicurean Escape package year-round. It’s essentially a private weekend cooking event for either a single attendee or a group of food-loving friends (limit of six) with executive chef Jeff Woolley, who will customize menus. The way the weekend works: You’ll kick things off on arrival night with a welcome meeting; on Saturday, you’ll prep the ingredients and learn culinary tips; and that evening, you’ll go behind the scenes to observe dinner being prepared for the dining room; on Sunday, you’ll create the dishes on your custom menu and then enjoy the fruits of your labor — during a sit-down lunch with Chef Jeff. Bonus: You take home the leftovers. The cost is $450 for the group, max of six people, including a class recipe cookbook and Manor apron. That doesn’t include the cost of accommodations. Book the Summer Cooking package — two nights’ accommodations, breakfast for two each morning, afternoon tea daily, candlelight dinner for two both evenings. Rates begin at $405 per night per room. www.manorongolden
Book the Spring on the Farm culinary experience at the all-inclusive Twin Farms in Barnard, Vt. The June 9-10 escape includes cooking classes with executive chef Nathan Rich, and guest chefs from Twin Farms’ culinary team. You’ll learn tricks of the trade in the resort’s new French-designed dine-in-kitchen cooking suite, and prepare a multicourse meal, including seasonal ingredients from the property and courses not offered on the regular menu. Wine manager Kevin Ring will teach you how to buy the perfect bubbly and tips for wine pairings for your menu — including special wines from the Reserve List. The package also includes a personally-embroidered Twin Farms apron to wear while you learn. The two-hour Chef’s Table is available only on Thursday nights and costs $250 per person — in addition to all-inclusive room rates, which begin at $1,700 per night for up to two people. (That includes everything, including a 2 a.m. hankering for an omelet or a bottle of wine delivered to the top of the hill you are hiking.)
Another foodie option: Explore the property with pastry chef Chris Wilson to gather ingredients you’ll ultimately turn into teas and treats, including lavender and white chocolate macaroons, house-smoked salmon, chamomile-scented crème fraîche and chive blossoms, and cucumber and goat cheese sandwiches with thyme flower blossoms. The tea experience is free to hotel guests. www.twinfarms.com
White Barn Inn
Book a stay at popular Grace White Barn Inn in Kennebunk, Maine, this spring and summer, and add on a private cooking class with chef Derek Bissonnette. You’ll participate in a hands-on demo in the inn’s kitchen with the chef and his team in a two-hour class that’s custom-made based on your interests. You’ll prepare dishes for the menu that week, including Kennebunkport lobster on homemade fettucine, with carrot, ginger, snow peas, and cognac butter sauce. Icing on the cake: A keepsake White Barn Inn apron. The cost is $215 per person for the class; $370 per person for the class and four-course dinner. Double room rates begin at $410 per night. www.whitebarninn.com
Make Me a Chef is the name of the interactive cooking weekend package at unpretentious Meadowmere in Ogunquit, Maine. The package runs through June 30 and includes two nights’ accommodations in a fireplace suite or king Jacuzzi suite (Thursday or Friday arrival), three-course continental American dinner with chef Norm Hebert at his Bintliff’s Restaurant, discounted cooking classes at Stonewall Kitchen Cooking school, half-hour Swedish massage, and a late checkout. The chef will explain the meal’s preparation, offer cooking tips, and discuss his food sourcing. And, with a focus on local Maine wines, beers, and spirits, you’ll also learn about wine pairings for your meal. Rates begin at $329 per person based on double occupancy. www.meadowmere.com