Boatmaking in New England
The most unique woodworking shop in the U.S. lies in the tiny central-coast fishing town (population 840) of Brooklin. Using all hand tools, The WoodenBoat School's instructors – many master builders from local shipyards – will show you and a friend how to build a kayak in a single week (even if you're a total novice). By the end, you're car-topping her down the road, unvarnished but ready to float. "It's an amazing feeling, especially if you do it with your son or wife or best friend," says Rich Hilsinger, a student in 1983 and now the school's director. Started three decades ago by the founder of WoodenBoat magazine, the school is set on an idyllic 64-acre former saltwater farm built in the 1920s. Some enthusiasts arrive by schooner, which can be secured at the school's private moorings; those on four wheels shack up in the old caretaker's house or a cottage in town.
Cost: Fundamentals of Boatbuilding, two weeks, $1,200; Build Your Own Chuckanut Kayak, six days, $600.
Do: The school has a fleet of small boats for after-dinner sailing. But most people just sit outside and talk shop.