Wednesday, April 4, 2018

2019 Registration NOW OPEN! Booking For Castaway Music Cruise!

Registration is NOW OPEN for the 7th Annual Florida Gulf Coast Dulcimer Retreat - February 21st - 24th, 2019 in Homosassa, Florida! You can register for $159 per person to the top right of this page. Which means that we're also planning ahead and booking passage on the Royal Caribbean vessel Enchantment of the Seas for another Castaway Music Cruise, which will depart right after the retreat on February 25th from Port Canaveral and return from Nassau, Bahamas and Coco Cay on Friday, March 1st. Below are details that you'll need to book with our group. I hope you can join us!

There will be a number of workshops available for mountain dulcimer, ukulele and pennywhistle along with jams, flash mobs and more!  If you're a registered retreat attendee, the cost per person is $79 while $129 is the fee for those just doing the cruise.  You can register for the workshop part of the cruise just below (continue beyond that for information on booking your passage.)

2019 Castaway Music Cruise

The cruise information is bulleted below - everything you need to book your cruise directly thru Royal Caribbean - and the best part is that if you book using our group number, your deposit is TOTALLY REFUNDABLE until December 12, 2018, which is when the final payment is due!  (Suites are not included in the totally refundable category - ask for these)  We're hoping you'll book soon, we want you to be part of the action with us next year!

If you have any questions, comments, or ideas, please feel free to call Sharrie @ 440-478-1302.   Or call any of us and let us know your thoughts.......We'd love to hear from you!

This will go on Facebook and into mass mailing soon, so grab a cabin while they're available.  We are set for the 6 pm seating for dinner, but if we hear from you that you'd prefer the later seating, we can change it if we do that soon.

We'll be sending information about our teaching and workshops soon as well - let us know what you want and we will get that ready for you!

Hoping we hear from you soon!

Bing & Jae, Guy & Sharrie

2019 Castaway Cruise is Ready for Booking!

Follows the 2019 Florida Gulf Coast Dulcimer Retreat

  • 4 Night Bahamas Cruise with Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines
  • Monday, February 25 thru Friday, March 1, 2019
  • Departing from Port Canaveral, Florida with stops in Nassau, Bahamas and CocoCay, a private island owned by Royal Caribbean
  • Call Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines @ 800-465-3595, (select Option #4)
  • Book with GROUP # 9534907 "Castaway Music Cruise" 
  • Have your Crown & Anchor # ready 
  • Inside cabins start at $390.13 - includes all taxes and fees -  per person (for 2 in a cabin)
  • Ocean View cabins start at $450.13 PP - (taxes & fees included)
  • Ocean View Balconies  (9 available at refundable rate with group) - $620.13 PP (taxes & fees included)
  • Suites available - ask for rates and deposit terms
  • $50.00 onboard credit for each cabin
  • $200.00 deposit is TOTALLY refundable until December 12, 2018 when final payment is due!
  • They are holding cabins for us until 5/15/2018 
  • Group beach party on CocoCay with an "Island Jam" on the beach!  
  • More Jam and workshop times!
  • Onboard group activities and events - including "flash mobs"!

Tuesday, March 6, 2018


Thank you, EVERYONE, for another fantastic retreat!  We just got back from the 1st Annual Homosassa Castaway Cruise and had a great time - we're already looking forward to next year's events.  Thanks again!

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:


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.


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.”


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 352-628-2474.