Sunday, February 25, 2024



What an extraordinary celebration of a decade in Homosassa Springs!  Our deepest thanks to everyone who attended and made this year's retreat such a perfectly wonderful extended weekend.  There was a lot of love at The Hampton House, and plenty of music to match!

If you were unable to attend, then we'd like to share with you what we've decided to do for next year:  we're taking 2025 off.  Ten years of fun on the river seemed like a good milestone at which to stop, take a pause, and then cast our eyes towards the next 10 years on Florida's nature coast.  Will we stay in Homosassa?  Or will we explore other natural treasures of the Florida gulf coast?  We're open to suggestions, and will be considering all input as we look to return in 2026.

We will, however, all be back in 2025 for a special extended edition of The Castaway Music CruiseFebruary 22nd through March 1st will see our voyage on the Norwegian Cruise Line EPIC, a ship that's literally in a class by itself!

Thanks again for such a sweet time, and we're looking forward to seeing many of you next year on the cruise!

Much love,

Aly & Richard, Jae & Bing, and Guy & Sharrie

Monday, February 19, 2024

Got a Little Extra Time This Week? Go WILD!

Discover Florida's Vibrant Wildlife at Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park

Are you ready for an unforgettable adventure into Florida's natural wonders? Look no further than Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park, where you can experience an up-close encounter with the state's diverse and vibrant wildlife.

Location and Contact Information:

A Glimpse into Florida's Past: Homosassa Springs holds a rich history dating back to the early 1900s when it served as a popular train stop. Visitors could picnic and enjoy the spring's crystal-clear waters while train cars were loaded with cedar, crabs, fish, and spring water. Today, the park retains its timeless beauty, offering a mesmerizing experience that has captivated visitors for generations.

Underwater Observatory: One of the park's highlights is the Underwater Observatory, allowing visitors to "walk underwater" beneath the spring's surface. Witness an astounding array of freshwater and saltwater fish, including large jacks, snapper, snook, and graceful manatees. Gazing into the depths of the first-magnitude spring provides a unique opportunity to observe these creatures in their natural habitat.

Wildlife Encounters: Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park is home to a variety of captive animals, including alligators, black bears, red wolves, Key deer, flamingos, whooping cranes, and the oldest hippopotamus in captivity. These animals serve as ambassadors for their species, providing visitors with face-to-face connections and a deeper understanding of their habitats.

Educational Trails and Boardwalks: Explore the park's shady boardwalks and 1.1-mile trail, offering a close-up glimpse into the lives of Florida's wildlife. Encounter Florida panthers, alligators, and various bird species while strolling through an educational setting designed to foster appreciation and understanding of the state's unique ecosystem.

Embark on a journey to preserve and celebrate Florida's unique wildlife at Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park. Plan your visit today and experience the magic of the Sunshine State's natural wonders while you're in Old Homosassa!

Sunday, February 18, 2024

Are You Hungry?

Homosassa Springs, Florida, is not only renowned for its breathtaking natural beauty but also boasts a diverse culinary scene that caters to every palate. From waterfront seafood joints to vibrant bars with unique twists, the area offers a range of dining options. Here are ten great places to savor delicious meals and create memorable dining experiences while you're in town!:

1. Wallace’s at the Greenhouse

   Indulge in New American cuisine at Wallace’s, a charming restaurant with a cozy atmosphere. With outdoor seating options, this spot is perfect for a delightful meal surrounded by nature.

2. Florida Cracker Monkey Bar

   Experience the local vibe at Florida Cracker Monkey Bar, known for its decent specials, local brews, and tasty pizza. This bar is a great place to unwind and enjoy flavorful bites until late in the evening.

3. The Freezer Tiki Bar

   For a quintessential Florida experience, head to The Freezer Tiki Bar. This dive bar offers waterfront dining, fresh seafood, and a laid-back atmosphere. Enjoy the cool breeze and indulge in the best Florida has to offer.  A best-kept secret (and the cocktail sauce for the steamed shrimp is amazing!)

4. Wild Sassa

   Embark on a culinary adventure at Wild Sassa, a food truck delighting patrons with fresh and made-to-order seafood and tacos. Sit at outdoor tables and enjoy river views as you savor the flavors of Homosassa. Right across from Shelly's Seafood Market.

5. Socos House of Eats

   Experience Southern and American cuisine at its finest at Socos House of Eats. Run by the accommodating owner Sally, this restaurant promises a delightful culinary journey.

6. The Crab Plant 

   Immerse yourself in the old-school waterfront charm of The Crab Plant. With friendly service and fresh seafood, this restaurant offers a nostalgic dining experience by the river.

7. Seafood Seller & Cafe

   Indulge in the best grouper in town at Seafood Seller & Cafe. With fast and friendly service, this spot is a seafood lover's paradise, offering Cajun/Creole and American flavors.

8. Marguerita Grill

   Enjoy a weeknight dinner at Marguerita Grill, a local spot with indoor and patio seating. The patio, overlooking the water, provides a picturesque setting to relish your meal.

9. Waterfront Social

   Following a recommendation from a manatee snorkeling tour guide, try Waterfront Social for delectable seafood. The barbeque options and inviting atmosphere make it a must-visit spot.

10. Seagrass Waterfront

    Discover the culinary excellence at Seagrass Waterfront, a veteran-owned business with a clean ambiance and attentive servers. Enjoy seafood, New American dishes, and refreshing Tiki Bar offerings.

Homosassa Springs' culinary scene is as diverse as its natural attractions, making it a haven for food enthusiasts seeking a delightful blend of flavors and atmospheres. Whether you're into seafood by the river, Southern comfort, or local bar vibes, these ten dining spots are the best of the best!

Saturday, February 17, 2024

Your Adventure Begins Soon!

Discover the Charms of Homosassa Springs: A Guide for Attendees of the 10th Annual Florida Gulf Coast Dulcimer Retreat

Welcome to Homosassa Springs, the host town for the 10th Annual Florida Gulf Coast Dulcimer Retreat at the Hampton House in Old Homosassa. Embraced by the rich history of an original Florida fishing village, Homosassa offers a unique blend of natural beauty and cultural experiences for attendees to explore.

Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park: A Natural Wonder

The focal point of Homosassa is the Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park, featuring the breathtaking Homosassa Spring—a second magnitude spring known for attracting manatees, various fish species, and wildlife enthusiasts. The Fishbowl Observatory provides a submerged perspective without having to dive in (although that's fun, too!) offering a unique view of the aquatic ecosystem. Manatee season is November 15 to March 31, and we often have many sightings during the retreat, so watch the river!

Accommodations and Waterfront Adventures

Old Homosassa's waterfront, home to the Hampton House and other prominent resorts like Florida Cracker Riverside, MacRae’s, and Seagrass Waterfront, provides comfortable lodging and an ideal starting point for riverfront adventures. The area is renowned for its vibrant fishing community, with easy access to fresh seafood markets such as Shelley’s Seafood and Fish Market and the Cedar Key Fish and Oyster Company.  Be sure to check out all the culinary delights, as well as the art galleries along Yulee Drive, showcasing local talent.

Outdoor Enthusiasts: Boating and Paddling Paradise

For those with an affinity for boating and paddling, Homosassa is a haven. The Halls River, with its meandering course through marsh and estuary, presents numerous fishing opportunities and a chance to witness the diverse wildlife in the region.  Manatee tours are available from the local marinas.

Homosassa Springs welcomes attendees of the 10th Annual Florida Gulf Coast Dulcimer Retreat with a blend of natural wonders, cultural experiences, and outdoor adventures. From the captivating Homosassa Spring to the vibrant waterfront and special attractions, Homosassa offers a diverse and enriching experience for all. Enjoy your stay in this Gulf Coast gem and watch for more posts this week!

Sunday, January 28, 2024

Day Passes are Now Available!


Celebrate a Decade of Musical Fun at the 10th Annual Florida Gulf Coast Dulcimer Retreat

It's that time of the year again – the 10th Annual Florida Gulf Coast Dulcimer Retreat is just around the corner! Hosted by Folkcraft Instruments, this musical celebration promises to be an unforgettable experience for dulcimer enthusiasts and music lovers alike. Set against the picturesque backdrop of The Hampton House, a 2-acre estate on the Homosassa River in Homosassa Springs, Florida, the retreat is scheduled from February 22nd to 25th, 2024.

What to Expect

Get ready for four days filled with workshops, jam sessions, and musical camaraderie featuring renowned instructors Richard Ash, Bing Futch, and Guy & Sharrie George. The retreat offers a diverse range of classes covering mountain dulcimer, hammered dulcimer, pennywhistle, steel drum, ukulele, Native American flute, and repertoire-building – ensuring there's something for everyone.

New this year are special instructor Deep-Dives held in the game room upstairs. These intimate sessions provide a unique opportunity to delve deeper into specific topics with the experts. Additionally, the retreat will continue its tradition of themed mimosa and margarita jams, adding a special sangria and Cheeseburgers-in-Paradise jam for opening night, creating an atmosphere that blends learning with relaxation. The grand finale will be a Saturday evening concert featuring the Manatee Orchestra as the opening act, with a chance for attendees to join in on the musical celebration.

Registration Details

To secure your spot at this milestone event, registration is essential. The retreat offers flexible options to accommodate your schedule and preferences:

  • All-Inclusive Four-Day Pass: $299

  • Two-Day Pass (Friday and Saturday): $179

  • Single-Day Pass (Friday or Saturday): $99

It's important to note that the registration is limited to 65 attendees, and the slots are filling up fast. To avoid missing out on a decade of musical fun in beautiful Old Florida, make sure to register promptly.

How to Register

Register at

Join the Celebration!

Whether you're a seasoned dulcimer player or a music enthusiast looking to broaden your horizons, the 10th Annual Florida Gulf Coast Dulcimer Retreat promises an immersive and celebratory experience. Come join Richard & Aly, Bing & Jae, and Guy & Sharrie for a weekend filled with music, learning, and memories that will last a lifetime. We look forward to seeing you at The Hampton House for this special musical milestone!

Camp Photo from our 9th annual retreat

Thursday, January 11, 2024

Happy New Year (see you soon!)


Happy New Year!

It's officially 2024, and we're just a little over a month away from our 10th Annual Florida Gulf Coast Dulcimer Retreat, sponsored by Folkcraft Instruments!

February 22nd through 25th, we'll be at Hampton House, our 2-acre estate on the Homosassa River in Homosassa Springs, Florida for workshops with Richard Ash, Bing Futch, and Guy & Sharrie George.

We're teaching mountain dulcimer, hammered dulcimer, pennywhistle, steel drum, ukulele, Native American flute, repertoire-building, and more!  New this year will be special instructor Deep-Dives in the game room upstairs, and we'll once again be having themed mimosa and margarita jams, plus our concert which features the Manatee Orchestra as the opener (and you can join in!)

We are approaching our maximum registration number of 65 attendees, so don't delay or you'll miss out on celebrating a decade of musical fun with us in beautiful Old Florida!

Contact Jae Futch with any questions - we look forward to seeing you!

Richard & Aly, Bing & Jae, and Guy & Sharrie