Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Farewell to The Riverside Crab House

The old building's coming down.
Sad, but exciting, news today as The Riverside Crab House and Yardarm Lounge closes after over 50 years of magic and memories.  The building, which overlooks the Homosassa River and includes the famous Monkey Bar, was heavily damaged by recent storms and it was decided to tear down and build again from the ground up.

This doesn't effect the operation of the 6th Annual Florida Gulf Coast Dulcimer Retreat at all, but we will certainly miss being able to walk across the lane from the Manatee Ballroom and belly up to the bar or have a meal within view of Monkey Island.  In the coming weeks, as we get closer to the retreat, I'll be posting at least once a day with places of note in the area with great food and drink.

While we're sad that this old historic building has to go, we are excited about what phoenix will rise from the ashes and we'll be sure to get lots of photos of the progress.

In the meantime, here is the official press release:

PRESS RELEASE THE YARDARM LOUNGE AND RIVERSIDE CRAB HOUSE IS COMING DOWN.

The Yardarm Lounge, also known as The Riverside Crab House and The Monkey Bar, has celebrated 50 years on the Homosassa River. The iconic restaurant was opened by The Norris Development Company in 1967 and later purchased by the late Dave Stewart and Dr. Donald Vesley. It was most recently acquired by Riverside, LLC in 1998. On Tuesday, January 30, 2018, the doors will close for the final time.

IF THESE WINDOWS COULD TALK

Many things have changed in the span of 50 years, and the Yardarm Lounge and Riverside Crab House has seen it all. She has celebrated first dates, graduations, weddings, new births, anniversaries, and reunions with generations of Homosassa residents and guests from around the world. She has been the stepping stone to many local youngsters as they embarked on their first jobs before going off to college and other successes. She has witnessed sadness at too many memorials in honor of friends and loved ones. No doubt the Crowning Jewel was the location of this beautifully built restaurant overlooking Monkey Island. Unfortunately, the very thing that made the restaurant a favorite to so many is what finally closed her doors. She has endured more than five decades of daily brackish rising and falling tides, lapping at a foundation that is cantilevered over the beautiful Homosassa River. No name, Charlie, Ivan, Frances, Hermine and Irma are a few of the ferocious storms that have taken their toll over the years. Gail Oakes, the managing partner of The Homosassa Riverside Resort which owns the restaurant, hotel, marina and Monkey Island said, “The two story restaurant’s roof was structurally damaged during the last hurricane and is beyond repair. Experts agreed that the age of the building and the degree of the damage would require extensive repairs to the structure which are not financially practical.”

WHAT THE FUTURE WILL HOLD

Oakes said, “My partners and I made the decision to demolish a substantial portion of the damaged building and replace it with a smaller outdoor eatery with spectacular views of the Homosassa River and Monkey Island. The new venue will still feature our famous live blue crabs and seafood selections along with new and exciting additions.” The hotel, marina, boat rentals and banquet room will not be affected by this closure. While Oakes admits that February is the “peak” season in the Homosassa restaurant business and unfortunate timing, she is hopeful that the busy season will make it possible for her displaced staff to find positions with other local restaurant owners who are staffing up for the return of winter guests to our area. The Yardarm Lounge, Riverside Crab House and Monkey Bar are located at 5297 S. Cherokee Way, Homosassa, Florida, on the bank of the Homosassa River. For information regarding this story, please contact: Homosassa Riverside Resort, Gail Oakes gail@riversideresorts.com 352-628-2474.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

2018 Workshop Schedule!

Thursday

8:30 am - 9:30 am - (Guy) Get Friendly with the Hammered Dulcimer - Beginning HD
9:45 am - 10:45 am - (Guy) Pennywhistle - Beginning
11 am - 12 pm - (Bing) Beginning Mountain Dulcimer
12:15 pm - 1:15 pm - (Sharrie) Beginning Ukulele
1:45 pm - 2:45 pm - (Bing) The Manatee Orchestra - Mountain Dulcimers
3 pm - 4 pm - (Guy) Manatee Orchestra for Hammered Dulcimer, Pennywhistle and Steel Drum!
4:15 pm - 5:15 pm - (Sharrie) Manatee Orchestra - Intermediate Ukulele

Friday

8:30 am - 9:30 am - (Richard) Strings And String Changing For The Dulcimer Player - All Level Mountain Dulcimer
9:45 am - 10:45 am - (Sharrie) Ukulele Standards! - Intermediate
11 am - 12 pm - (Bing) Playing In The Basement - Learn To Play Bass Mountain Dulcimer
12:30 pm - 1:30 pm - (Guy) Hammered Technique Fun! - Intermediate HD
1:45 pm - 2:45 pm - (Richard) What To Do With Your 1.5 Fret - All Level Mountain Dulcimer
3 pm - 4 pm - (Bing) How To Play Native American Flute
4:15 pm - 5:15 pm - (Guy) Jamming on the Whistle! - Intermediate Pennywhistle

Saturday

8:30 am - 9:30 am - (Sharrie) Reggae Ukulele! Beyond Beginner/Intermediate
9:45 am - 10:45 am - (Bing) Mountain Dulcimer - The Wonderful World Of Disney
11 am - 12 pm - (Bing) The Last of the Mohicans
12:30 pm - 1:30 pm - (Guy) Jamming Hammers! - Intermediate Hammered Dulcimer
1:45 pm - 2:45 pm - (Richard) - What To Do With Your 6 Fret
3 pm - 4 pm - (Bing, Guy, Sharrie) Manatee Orchestra REHEARSAL - All Instruments!
The Manatee Orchestra will open up the Saturday evening concert at 7 pm

Sunday

8:30 am - 9:30 am - (Bing) Mountain Dulcimer - Sunday Morning Coming Down
9:45 am - 10:45 am - (Richard) Murder Ballads III - All Level Mountain Dulcimer

Monday

Castaway Cruise Begins!

Sunday, November 5, 2017

First Promo Is Here!

Here's the first promo for the 2018 edition of our retreat! Just a little something to get you hyped up for February - enjoy!


Workshop Descriptions for Guy, Sharrie, Richard and Bing

Sharrie George - Workshops

Beginning Ukulele

Never played the uke before but always wanted to give it a try?  Do it here!  No worries - just fun; we have the uke for you to try, and we’ll have you playing some fun uke tunes in an hour!  Also a good refresher if it’s been a while - or come in at the end and play a few tunes to warm up for the weekend!

Ukulele Manatee Orchestra

Learn to play a few tunes from beginning to end with melody, harmony, and strum patterns - take them home to play with your group - Ukes or other instruments!  Learn to strum and play parts for the Manatee performance on Saturday with all instruments!

Ukulele Standards!  - Intermediate

Learn chords and strums for some of the great all time "Ukulele Classics!"  Use the skills you've learned to add to your repertoire - for more advanced players, some of the tunes will have melody, harmony, and some “licks” tabbed out for you!

Reggae Ukulele!  Beyond Beginner/Intermediate

Learn how to play in “Reggae” style - Strumming and rhythms, how “NOT to play on 1!”  We’ll learn some fun tunes, some easy reggae fills! Good information that will cross over to other styles of playing as well!



Guy George - Workshops



Jamming on the Whistle! - Intermediate Pennywhistle

We’ll learn some new and lesser known jam tunes, and then take a few to the next level, improvising, playing over chords, and some tips for playing in a jam situation.  Bring your favorite tunes; I’ll bring mine!

Get Friendly with the Hammered Dulcimer - Beginning HD

Learn or review the basics, learning what you need to become a hammered dulcimer player!  Have fun learning easy ways to play chords and a few melodies. Some hammered dulcimers are available to LOAN - a great way to try the dulcimer and see if this is the instrument for you!

Hammered Dulcimer, Pennywhistle, Steel Drum Manatee Orchestra! - All levels

Learn and practice parts for our Manatee tunes for this year’s extravaganza!   Get melody, harmony and extra parts for these great tunes!

Jamming Hammers! - Intermediate Hammered Dulcimer

Learn some great jam tunes with parts, and how to get around the melody and general jam survival tips! Great ear training for chords too!

Beginning Pennywhistle

Learn how to play the easiest instrument to carry, tune, and set up!  We’ll have you playing a few easy melodies in 2 keys in one workshop.  “D” whistle needed - we’ll have some for sale before the workshop.

Hammered Technique Fun! - Intermediate HD

Improve your playing with some new techniques, new tunes, and how to apply techniques to these and other tunes.



Bing Futch - Workshops


Beginning Mountain Dulcimer

You've got to start somewhere and we'll do just that, beginning with the basics of strumming, picking, playing melody against the drone and how to read tablature.  You'll learn a few tunes and get to know your instrument a little bit better as we cover subjects like putting on strings, tuning, how to practice and learning the fretboard.  Ask about loaner instruments! (Beginners - Novice)

Mountain Dulcimer - The Wonderful World Of Disney

If you're a big Disney fan, what would be more fun than picking some Disney tunes on the mountain dulcimer?  We'll have a good time with classics as well as recent hits from films like "Mary Poppins", “The Lion King” and “Alice In Wonderland.”  Along the way, we'll learn techniques to help you play these tunes "in a most delightful way!" (Beginner - Intermediate)

The Manatee Orchestra - Mountain Dulcimers

Come learn three fun, easy songs and then thrill to a dress rehearsal before performing in the Saturday night concert with The Manatee Orchestra!  All skill levels are welcome and I've written a nice little arrangement for each of the tunes we'll be playing.  If you've done it before, you know what a BLAST this is! (All Skill Levels)

How To Play Native American Flute

This beautiful, haunting and expressive instrument dates back 4000 years on the North American continent.  Originally used in courtship and later in ceremonies and, more recently, ensemble performance, the Native American flute now enjoys great popularity in all types of music.  You'll be surprised at just how easy it is to play!  In this workshop, you'll learn basics: flute anatomy, how to hold it, breath control, major and minor scales, ornamentation techniques and how to discover your very own spirit song.  If you don't have a flute, I will have a limited supply of loaners that are also available for purchase.  Key does not matter if you wish to bring your own.  (All Skill Levels)

Playing In The Basement - Learn To Play Bass Mountain Dulcimer

Every jam group would love to have a bass player to hold down the bottom end and keep time for everyone.  With a bass mountain dulcimer, you can do that without having to learn another instrument!  I’ll teach you the secret to playing perfect bass accompaniment for fiddle tunes, ballads and more, plus, I’ll show you how to create unique bass lines using simple elements of music theory.  There will be some bass dulcimers available for loaners (and purchase!) from Folkcraft Instruments. (Intermediate - Advanced)

The Last of the Mohicans - Mountain Dulcimer

Many of you have heard me play "Promentory" from "The Last of the Mohicans"; well now, you can learn that exact arrangement!  It's a mixture of "The Gael" by Dougie Maclean and the music of film composer Trevor Jones.  I've got all the parts and, with enough folks, we can create an orchestral version of this dramatic piece! (Or, I'll back us up with my looper pedal.) (Intermediate - Advanced)

Sunday Morning Coming Down

No, we're not going to learn the Johnny Cash song (though it might played a little.)  This workshop is basically a "cool-down" after three days of learning.  Any questions, clarifications, observations, discoveries, breakthroughs, etc., can be brought to the table in this new offering that aims to sum up, and shore up, your retreat experience.


Richard Ash Workshops


Murder Ballads III

Fast-becoming an annual tradition, Richard's collection of murder ballads is becoming more grisly, ghastly, and gruesome by the year. You wouldn't think such an unpleasant subject (usually involving a romance gone bad) could produce such a wealth of great tunes, but these are some of the best songs in the traditional music repertoire. MBIII contains all-new songs - no overlap from MBI and MBII. (All levels. Bring a capo.)

Strings And String Changing For The Dulcimer Player

A lot of players (even some great players) are intimidated by changing the strings on their dulcimers. And they let their instruments sound dull and lifeless, because the strings are past their prime. Richard (who has strung up thousands of dulcimers over the past decade) will walk you through the mechanics of string changing. Plus, how to select strings, how the different varieties of strings (brass, bronze, plain steel, stainless steel, etc.) affect the tone. You'll learn about the different gauges of strings, and the benefits/disadvantages of each. Ball end versus loop end. It can go on for days, but Richard will curate the most important parts, and keep it down to an hour. (Lots of handouts included, for future reference.) (Bring your dulcimer. This will be a hands-on class, if you're brave enough!) (All levels. Bring a capo.)


What To Do With Your 1.5 Fret

So many of us have a 1.5 fret, but it mostly sits there. Unused. “I don't have sheet music that uses that note.” Guess what? You can use the 1.5 fret with all kinds of jam tunes, and have fun making up variations on the classic melodies. You paid for the fret. Might as well use it... (All levels, no capo.)

What To Do With Your 6 Fret

Since the advent of DAD tuning, and the addition of the 6.5 fret, the 6 fret has been feeling sad, lonely, and neglected. I'll show you all kinds of neat things you can do, with classic jam tunes, using the 6 fret. Don't miss out - this is going to wake up your ears! (All levels. No capo.)

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Are You Ready?

We're just a little over four months away with rooms and registrations filling up quickly! Many folks register for the following year while still at the retreat, while others tend to wait till the last minute. In either case, you won't want to miss out on our sixth annual edition! All the information you need to register and reserve rooms and/or campground sites is posted on the right side of this page. Looking forward to another fantastic time on the Homosassa River with everyone!

Bing Futch, Guy George, Jae Futch and Sharrie George

Monday, July 3, 2017

Homosassa Castway Cruise!


Now, if four days of laid-back music fun isn't enough for you, then sail away with us on the Homosassa Castaway Cruise!  

Join us as the fun continues with a 4 night Cruise on the “Majesty of the Seas” Ship with the Royal Caribbean Cruise Line! We'll embark on February 26th and return to the mainland on March 2, 2018. Relax on board or enjoy one of a series of lessons and workshops available while at sea with Guy George, Sharrie George and Bing Futch on pennywhistle, ukulele, mountain dulcimer and Native American flute!

Day 1 - Depart Port Canaveral - 4 pm 

Day 2 - Cococay, Bahamas 8 am to 4 pm
Voyager Conference Room booked from 5 to 9 pm 

Day 3 - Nassau, Bahamas - Docked from 8 am to 9 pm 
Voyager Conference Room booked from 7 am to Noon

Day 4 - At Sea - Jams, workshops & private lessons available all day.

Day 5 - Port Canaveral - 7 am - Departure

Ocean view category H- 15 rooms blocked off at a rate of $836.84 total based on double occupancy (extra beds may be available - ask when booking)

Interior rooms category N- 15 rooms blocked at $696.84 Total based on double occupancy. (extra beds may be available - ask when booking)

Upgrades are available!

$50 deposit due per stateroom on July 8, 2017

$150 due per stateroom August 8, 2017

Final balance due December 12, 2017

You can still book after July 8th, but rates will not be guaranteed.


Dinner is booked for 8:30pm (6pm was waitlisted) can get 10 people per table 

These are final prices per stateroom (Includes all taxes and fees) but does not include gratuities and trip protection. (Trip protection available when booking)

A Voyager Conference room is booked for two of the days, day 2 at Coco Cay from 5pm-9pm and day 3 from 7am-12pm - plenty of time to enjoy quality instruction time with Guy George, Sharrie George and Bing Futch!


To book your cruise, contact Nicki at 678-978-6709 or nicki@taketimetotravelga.com. If unable to contacst Nicki, please call Sharrie George at 440-478-1302.

This is time-sensitive, we have till July 8th to book the cruise. If you're wanting to join us for some more musical adventure, please let us know that you're interested (so we can begin to get an idea of how many are going) and book your passage right away! The Homosassa Castaway Cruise crew is looking forward to enjoying musical merriment on the high C's with you!

Thursday, June 29, 2017

New Website Address!


Hello, everyone!

After six years with the ungainly web address of http://floridagulfcoastdulcimerretreat.blogspot.com , we've got a new, easy-to-remember URL: http://www.GulfCoastDulcimer.com 

Registration has been open for the 6th Annual Florida Gulf Coast Dulcimer Retreat since February, but we're putting our annual six-month (or so) reminder to register now for our next retreat, being held February 22nd through 25th, 2018 at the Homosassa Riverside Resort.  Stay tuned for timely information on our 1st Annual Homosassa Castaway Cruise, details to come soon!
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