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Ahead of the Curve

Classes for Learning New Skills

New year’s has a way of inspiring big goals, dreams and plans, but that inspiration doesn’t always arrive with a map or manual. Happily, Southwest Florida’s classes and clubs will put you on the road to realizing your resolutions. Here’s to 2009!

Recipe for success Cooking is the ultimate everyday occurrence, yet when it’s done well, it’s much more than mundane. Brush up on this basic life skill with the professional chefs at The GoodLife of Naples, where a variety of cooking classes are offered, and the fare changes frequently to include everything from Mexican to Asian. Classes are usually about two hours, and the cost varies but is generally about $50. (239) 514-4663.

Club med After the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, the word “meditation” may touch an especially tender spot. Attend a sitting with the Naples Community of Mindfulness to soothe some of the sting of the workaday world; the group meets every Sunday at Bala Vinyasa Yoga in north Naples, and the last Sunday of every month includes an additional introductory hour beginning at 4:45 p.m. There’s no fee, but a donation is suggested. www.floridamindfulness.org/naples.

Parlez-vous perfection? Whether you’re a tourist or a business traveler, speaking some of the local language can only improve your journey. Knowing a few phrases of Spanish, German or Chinese is becoming an increasingly important business tool. Express Languages in Naples offers small or individual classes, instructors who are native speakers and ultra-personalized service. www.expresslanguages.com.

Smooth sailing So the sparkling waters of the Gulf of Mexico have been calling you, but the knowledge that you’ll have to wrangle a boom, jib and halyard—whatever those are—keeps you firmly on land. Steve and Doris Colgate’s Offshore Sailing School has locations on Captiva Island and Fort Myers Beach, and offers a three-day “Learn to Sail” class that includes on-the-water instruction. Tuition starts at $1,295, which includes certification. (800) 221-4326.

Picture this Southwest Florida’s fantastic flora and fauna beg to be photographed, but creating an image that’s as lovely as they are isn’t always easy. Improve the odds in your digital darkroom at the Photography Institute of Naples, where camera and computer classes are offered for all levels of expertise and artistic interest. Prices begin at $30. www.photographyinstituteofnaples.com.

Purls of wisdom If you agree that there’s something special about a handmade sweater, it’s time to consider a class in the craft. But this is not your grandmother’s knitting class: The hobby increasingly attracts everyone from college kids to young mothers, and they’re often picking high-quality organic yarns for their cozy creations. Knitting with Nancy in east Naples offers a three-week beginner’s class for $60, which includes needles and yarn. (239) 793-8141.

Foiled again You know that swashbuckling is not a life of longevity, but you love sword-savvy gents like Hook, Blood and Sparrow. Reconcile reality and romance with fencing lessons at the Fort Myers Fencing Club, where head coach Charles Johnson compares the sport’s balance of mental skill and physical ability to “chess at 90 miles an hour.” Beginner’s classes run 12 weeks and cost $150 per person. (239) 939-1338. 

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