THE PALMS CLIFF HOUSE INN, BIG ISLAND, HAWAII
A Guide to Cooking Schools
CHOP, EAT, PLAY, REPEAT: Erna's Elderberry House, near Yosemite
What's Cooking: Ask to tour family farms, including a vanilla plantation, then learn how to make Pacific Rim dishes, like ginger-infused scallop lau lau. Can't Stand the Heat? Take a sunset paddle on Hilo Bay in a double-hulled canoe. Bedding Down: Most of the eight guest rooms have private lanais. Be sure to indulge in the lomi lomi pohaku massage, a vigorous Hawaiian technique using hot stones.
Four-hour sessions, including dinner, cost $110 per person (plantation tours by request). Doubles, $175–$375, including breakfast; 808-963-6076, www.palmscliffhouse.com
COMIDA DE CAMPOS, NEW MEXICO
What's Cooking: At this 17-acre sustainable family farm an hour north of Santa Fe, students help harvest ingredients for green chile stew and salsa fresca. Can't Stand the Heat? Explore 700-year-old pueblos in Bandelier National Monument. Bedding Down: Rancho de San Juan is a luxe, Mexican-tiled 15-room adobe hacienda on 225 acres about 18 miles south of the farm.
Classes cost $65; 505-852-0017, www.comidadecampos.com. Rancho de San Juan: doubles, $225–$425; 505-753-6818, www.ranchodesanjuan.com
THE GREENBRIER, WEST VIRGINIA
What's Cooking: Grill guru Steven Raichlen runs BBQ U, a series of three-day intensives in the art of smoking and grilling that include Memphis baby backs, cedar-planked salmon, and grilled corn chowder. Can't Stand the Heat? Bike the Greenbrier's 6,500 acres in the Allegheny Mountains or raft the Gauley's Class V rapids. Bedding Down: Stay in one of 803 opulent guest rooms.
The last session for 2004 is September 19–22. The cost is $2,978 per couple, including three nights' lodging, three half-day classes, and use of all facilities at the Greenbrier. Greenbrier Cooking School, 800-228-5049, www.greenbrier.com
ERNA'S ELDERBERRY HOUSE, CALIFORNIA
What's Cooking: Whip up lemongrass risotto in a one- or three-day session at this estate in the Sierra foothills. Can't Stand the Heat? Hike, rock-climb, or fly-fish in Yosemite National Park (20 minutes away) with Southern Yosemite Mountain Guides (800-231-4575, www.symg.com). Bedding Down: Get in touch with your inner aristocrat in one of ten European-style rooms or a villa at Château du Sureau.
Tuition for the three-day session is $1,250 per person, including three luncheons and three six-course dinners. Discounted rooms for students start at $315 per night. Saturday one-day classes, $230 per person. 559-683-0860, www.chateaudusureau.com