Hands-on, Experiential Travel in The West

When people travel, they no longer want to come and seethey want to come and do. This travel trend is referred to as “experiential travel,” and more and more opportunities for travelers to get hands-on experiences are cropping up all over the mountain west.

Whether it’s taking a cooking class in the Cascade Mountains or participating in a photography class in the Rocky Mountains, the possibilities for personal growth while traveling are vast.


Bend, Oregon offers a lot of activities, and while many occur outdoors, if you want to come inside for a bit, consider taking a cooking class at the Cascade Culinary Institute.

CCI opened its state-of-the-art facility in 2015, and while they offer certificates and degrees, everyday people, including visitors to Bend, can drop in for one of their Community Classes.

Classes include everything from “learn how to make street tacos” to “fresh and easy seafood.” Of course, the best thing about a cooking class is the eating, and each class has a tasty ending. For families, there are kid classes too, such as an upcoming workshop on etiquette.

If you’d rather just stop in for a meal after a day on the paddle board, eat dinner at Elevation, the student-operated restaurant at the Cascade Culinary Institute. Who knows? The next Top Chef may cook your dinner.


Photo courtesy of Snowmass Tourism

The staggering natural beauty of the area is inspiring, so it’s no surprise that artists love the Aspen Snowmass area.

Anderson Ranch Arts Center is the artist and cultural hub of the Town of Snowmass Village. Located just 15 minutes from Aspen, Anderson Ranch provides time and space to artists of all levels of talents (including children) to learn, practice and interact with other artists.

Anyone visiting the area can participate in a workshop ranging from ceramics to photography to woodworking.


Photo courtesy of Hoehn Bend Farm

At the foot of the Cascade Mountains in Northwest Washington State, there’s fertile valley dotted with black and white cows and blackberry bushes. I grew up in this lush agricultural area that makes up the narrow borderland between the Cascade Mountains and the Pacific Ocean.

Visitors to the area enjoy tulips in the springtime, blueberries in the summer, fresh seafood year-round and skiing Mt. Baker in the winter.

Dexter cattle, Photo courtesy of Hoehn Bend Farm

Hoehn Bend Farm, west of Sedro-Woolley, Washington, offers an authentic farm experience that the entire family will love. The farm raises Dexter cattle, a breed of miniature cows originating in Ireland, chickens, goats and more. Whether you’ve come for a recreational adventure, fishing on the Skagit River, or just truly want to experience farm life, you can do it on the Hoehn Bend Farm.

To learn about other farm stays opportunities in Washington State visit farmstaysus.com.

Categories: The Heidi Guide