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Jenny Elliott of Tiny Hearts Farm in Hillsdale, N.Y., will teach classes on growing dahlias, and arranging them, as part of a full weekend of classes billed as The Workshop Experience Weekend on Sept. 11 and 12 in Hillsdale, N.Y. Photo courtesy Jenny Elliott

Back to School, But Just For Fun


A group of merchants in the Columbia County village of Hillsdale, N.Y., has put together a weekend of workshops on everything from growing dahlias to studying the history of stone markers.

The Workshop Experience Weekend is scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 11 and 12; the full schedule and class prices can be found at www.TheWorkshopExperience.org.

Chef Serge Madikians of Serevan Restaurant in Amenia, N.Y., will show how to make Golden Apple and Cauliflower Soup and a pear, apple and fennel salad. The charismatic and talented Madikians teaches many classes throughout the year at the Hillsdale General Store’s HGS Home Chef. This class is $80.

Jenny Elliott of Tiny Hearts Farm is a self-proclaimed dahlia fanatic. At this time of year, who isn’t? But Elliott actually knows how best to grow them (this is not the most straightforward flower in your garden) and arrange them, and she’ll share her experience in two classes on Sept. 11 at 10 a.m. (growing them, $25) and  1:30 p.m. (arranging them, $165, because you get to take home your arrangement).

Libba Bray is a New York Times bestselling author; Susanna Schrobsdorff writes for Time, Inc. Together they’ll teach a writing workshop on Sept. 11 at 2 p.m. at Taconic Ridge Farm. The class will begin with short writing prompts and will end with a question and answer session with these two writing pros. The class is $40.

There’s more to do with the wildflowers and nuts you find along roadsides and in fields than just putting them in a vase. You can also make fabric dyes with many of them. Jamie Goldenberg shows how it’s done in a workshop on Sunday, Sept. 12, 10 a.m. at Taconic Ridge Farm ($85). 

The world around us is trying to speak to you and tell you stories. Learn how to listen in three workshops, on the engravings on grave stones with Allison C. Meier (Sept. 11, 1 p.m. at Taconic Ridge Farm, $35); on stone walls, with Kevin Gardner (Sept. 12, 1 p.m. at Taconic Ridge Farm, $45); and “death bouquets,” the flowers engraved on grave stones, also with Allison Meier (Sept. 11 at 10 a.m., $35).

There are also cooking classes and movement classes and history classes. The full list of courses is at the website. 

HGS Home Chef and Tiny Hearts Farm will host an informal “Jazz Lunch” between workshops (Sept 11, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.) with musician Luke Franco of Tiny Hearts Farm.

There are three restaurants in the Hillsdale; box lunches could be pre-ordered until Aug. 20, but food will also be for sale on the day of the workshops. 

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