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Learn “Mysterious Mose” on the ‘Ukulele

Just in Time for Halloween

Gary Peare, one of our key instructors for the upcoming ‘Ukulele Reunion at Camp Ocean Pines never disappoints. His ‘ukulele workshops cover the gambit from simple tunes we all know to a few more obscure tunes we should know. When asked for a little tune and some ‘ukulele tips to share with you before the big weekend, he right away came up with “Mysterious Mose.”

Unfamiliar with the tune? Check out this version by R. Crumb and his Cheap Suit Serenaders.

“If you look closely, you’ll that there are only two different fingering shapes needed to play it,” says Gary.

“Brilliant,” says me!

The best part is that there are lots of great tunes that can be approached this way…tunes that will help ratchet up your repertoire a notch or two.

If you’re coming to the ‘Ukulele Reunion at Camp Ocean Pines in Cambria, October 29 – 30, and this is for you, you’ll want to take Gary’s ‘ukulele workshop called “Meet the Family: an Easy Introduction to the World of Chords.” In it, you’ll learn this and a few more tunes that have simplified approaches to basic chord shapes.

But that’s not all we have in the way of ‘Ukulele Workshops. Please check out the full array.

And if you haven’t registered for the ‘Ukulele Reunion just yet, don’t fret. We still have plenty of room, whether you’re staying off campus, or want to stay at camp in one of the spiffy cabins or in your own truck, trailer, or camper van.

And remember, you don’t have to be a returnee to join us! We love to meet and welcome beginners and first-timers.

2023 and Beyond

‘Ukulele Rhythms in Cuba & Uke, Bike, & Barge – Burgundy are currently sold-out. However, we do have a waitlist for both. Please let us know if you’d like to be added to it.

In the meantime, we are working on an ‘Ukulele Adventure in Alaska for next summer. Again, we expect this one might fill quickly, so please let us know if you’d like to be among the first to know!

That’s it for now. Stay tuned. We have more tips and trips to come.

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UPDATE! ‘Ukulele Reunion – The Lost Weekend

Register Now!

Since most folks did not want to wait until May of 2023 for the next West Coast ‘Ukulele Retreat at Camp Ocean Pines, we decided you shouldn’t have to! So, before 2022 slips away, we’re having an ‘Ukulele Reunion that we’re calling “The Lost Weekend.” So save the dates, October 28 – 30. Or, better yet, register now for 3 days of “the most fun you can have with your ‘ukulele on.”

New Registration Process

In order to streamline the process, you will register for accommodations, meals, and workshop tickets directly with Camp Ocean Pines. (Six workshop tickets are included with each registration.) And while you don’t have to stay at the Camp to join us, you might miss out on some of the fun if you don’t.

Housing Choices

Camp Ocean Pines offers a choice of accommodations, including:

  • Staying in one of the Camp’s spiffy cabins. (We anticipate no more than 3 people per cabin.)
  • Bringing your own tent or motorhome to sleep in.* (Nothing over 35 feet, please.)
  • Or staying off campus. (Lot’s of options nearby in Cambria.)

Your registration fee also includes dinner on Friday night; breakfast, lunch, and dinner on Saturday; and breakfast on Sunday. (If you are staying off campus, breakfast is not included.)

Registration fees are $384/person if you are staying at the camp and $325/person if you are staying off campus.

*Camping was such a popular option last year that we will have more spots available for campers than we have in the past. But, we still expect those spots to go quickly. So be sure to sign up soon if you plan on bringing your own rig and please reach out to Maddy Cline, at Camp Ocean Pines, to make sure they have space: maddy@campoceanpines.org

Multiple Workshop Sessions Each Day

Each registration also includes six workshop tickets. (Additional workshop tickets can be purchased from me either online or at the camp.) There will be three workshop periods on Friday afternoon, five on Saturday, and two on Sunday morning. Each workshop period will have 1 – 3 different workshops geared toward players of all skill levels. (Stay tuned–more to come.)

We will be leaving a few gaps in the schedule to make sure everyone has an opportunity to practice what they have learned and an opportunity to get together to make music. There will be an All Camp Jam on Friday night, and we encourage you to bring a tune or two to share. We’ll have a Halloween Party (“Uke-Spooktacular) on Saturday night and will be awarding raffle tickets for the best costumes. You can earn even more raffle tickets by doing a tune for us in costume!

And while the ‘Ukulele Reunion is meant to be just that–an opportunity for attendees from past events to reunite and make music together, again, we warmly welcome newcomers and new players to join us. Wonderful friendships have been made at these events and this will be no exception.

Back by Popular Demand

Some of our most popular instructors will be returning, including Dave Egan, Gary Peare, and Nancy Piver. Rick Zeek and Rhan Wilson will also be joining us with their ever-popular Ukulele Gospel Hour. And, the Ukulele Guru will also be on hand to aid whatever ails your ukulele life. If registration warrants it, we’ll be adding a few more instructors, as well.

Just in Time for the Scarecrow Festival

And if the ‘Ukulele Reunion isn’t enough to bring you to Cambria the last weekend in October, perhaps the Cambria Scarecrow Festival will. We just missed it last year, but we won’t make that mistake, again! Now in its 14th year, this is a community-wide event featuring hundreds of scarecrows throughout Cambria and neighboring towns where you’ll see scarecrows bowling, bathing, painting, pedaling, fishing or flying. (Apparently none of the scarecrows play the ukulele…yet.)

Register Now

Registration is now open and I encourage you to register as soon as possible, especially if you plan on bringing a motor home or RV. Space is very limited If you’re planning on staying off-campus, you might also want to start looking into alternative lodging now. This could be a busy week-end.

In Other ‘Ukulele Adventure News:

Cuba is Full!

Our Cuba in March trip is now full. But if you want to be put on the waiting list, please send me an email.

Two Cabins Left for Burgundy

However we still have two cabins left for our Uke, Bike, and Barge trip to Burgundy next September. This is such a fabulous way to “cruise” and see the French countryside, far, far from the maddening crowds. I don’t expect these two cabins to be available long, so please send in your deposit ASAP, if you’re thinking of joining us.

Alaska is on the Horizon

Stay tuned! We are putting together an ‘ukulele retreat in Alaska for next summer! Details to come.


Here, there, and wherever you are–I hope you are enjoying these last days of summer. It’s great to be able to move around the globe, again. And it’s wonderful to reconnect with old friends and make some new ones. Hope to see you in Cambria!

Featured

‘Ukulele Reunion – The Lost Weekend

No one seems to want to wait until May for the next West Coast ‘Ukulele Retreat at Camp Ocean Pines in Cambria. So, before 2022 slips away, we’re throwing in an ‘Ukulele Reunion called “The Lost Weekend.” It’s going to be three days of “the most fun you can have with your ‘ukulele on.”

Save the Date!

Our lost weekend will be Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, October 28 – 30. But, you can join us for any number of days, or for all of them! We want this event to work for you.

We also want to streamline the process. So, you will register directly with Camp Ocean Pines for your lodging and meal plan. Your choice of accommodations includes:

  • staying in one of the Camp’s spiffy cabins
  • bringing your own tent or motorhome to sleep in
  • or staying off campus.

Three delicious meals a day are included unless you are staying off campus. In this case, breakfast is on your own.

We’ll have more spots available for campers than we have in the past, but we still expect those spots to go soon. (And there will be size restrictions!) So be sure to sign up as soon as we open registration if you plan on bringing your own rig.

Ten Workshop Sessions

Your registration will also include six workshop tickets for each person. (Everyone must register to attend.) each day you register. There will be 3 workshop sessions Friday afternoon, 5 sessions on Saturday, and 2 sessions on Sunday morning.

There are no evening activities planned at the moment, but we are open to suggestions. We also want to make sure everyone has an opportunity to practice what they have learned and to simply get together to make music and jam. And the ‘Ukulele Reunion is meant to be just that–an opportunity for attendees from past events to reunite and make music together, again. (Though we would be remiss if we did not have a Halloween party…complete with costumes!)

Back by Popular Demand

Just in Time for the Scarecrow Festival

We just missed it last year, but we won’t make that mistake, again! Now in its 14th year, the Cambria Scarecrow Festival, October 1 – 31, is a community-wide event featuring hundreds of scarecrows bowling, bathing, painting, pedaling, fishing or flying. (Apparently none of the scarecrows play the ukulele…yet.)

Some of our most popular instructors will be returning, including Dave Egan, Gary Peare, and Nancy Piver. Rick and Rhan will also be joining us with their ever-popular Ukulele Gospel Hour. The Ukulele Guru will also be on hand to aid whatever ails your ukulele life. . . And, if we have the space, we may be able to add a few more.

There’s Nothing To Do Just Yet

Registration will open soon. In the meantime, there’s nothing to do but to save the dates. If you’re planning on staying off-campus, you might also want to start looking into alternative lodging. This could be a busy week-end.

We Still Have Space Available!

If you were thinking of joining us in Cuba in March, we still have one space left. So please contact us as soon as possible if you’re thinking about going. If there is enough interest we may open a second trip.

And we still have cabins available for our Uke, Bike, and Barge trip to Burgundy next September and two e-bikes waiting to be spoken for. (First come, first served.) So, if you’d prefer to see the French countryside by e-bike, please send in your deposit ASAP.

Here, there, and everywhere–I hope you are enjoying these last days of summer. It’s great to be able to move around the globe, again.

Featured

How to Make a Perfect Cuban Mojito

Learning how to make the perfect Cuban Mojito is just one example of some of the fun we had with Cuban Ukulele Rhythms last year. We also learned how to make authentic Cuban black beans (simply the best) and helped make our delicious lunch in the tiny kitchen at Cafe Ajiaco. (And this was after a visit to the captivating organic farm down the street that provided most of the fresh produce we ate!)

This is Cuba!

We had so much fun, in fact, that, we are going to do it all again.

Join us in 2023!

The tentative dates for 2023 are March 13 – 22, give or take a day or two. And if there is enough interest, we may be able to add another tour after this one. And though we are still in the planning stages, because enrollment in Cuban Ukulele Rhythms is extremely limited, we wanted to give you a heads up now.

Authentic, Up Close, and Personal

This is our “ride”—a 1948 Dodge limo, affectionately known as ‘Mimi.” And this is one of the reasons we restrict enrollment to just 6 people. Plus, the access we have as a small group simply can’t be beaten.

The itinerary for 2023 will be very similar to our 2022 itinerary with the addition of a few things we wish we’d had more time for last year. And while we won’t have the actual cost until we have finalized the itinerary, we can tell you that last year’s trip was $3,599. (Single supplements are available for an additional $300.)

Secure your Spot Now

Because enrollment for our Cuban ‘Ukulele Rhythms adventure is so limited, you should secure your place now. To do so you will need to send a non-refundable* deposit in the amount of $100 (USD) to:

Ukulele Adventures, 1113 Chiles Avenue, St. Helena, CA 94574

You can also pay by Venmo. (Please contact me for more information.)

*If, for some reason, we decide not to run this trip before the first payment is due, or if we can’t fit you in, we will refund your deposit 100%.

And Now…The Perfect Cuban Mojito

Whether or not you can join us next year, you can still learn how to make the perfect Cuban mojito by following the 10 easy steps below.

Step 1

Assemble your ingredients and the necessary tools:

  • a tall glass
  • a sturdy, flat-ended muddler
  • a small measuring receptacle
  • a teaspoon with a long handle for stirring
  • freshly squeezed lime juice
  • sprigs of fresh mint, 4 – 5 inches long, complete with stems
  • Havana Club Golden Rum
  • honey
  • ice cubes
  • sparkling water
  • fancy (and reusable) plastic swizzle sticks
Step 2

Carefully measure an approximate amount of honey from a recycled bottle of hooch into your small measuring device, then pour it into the tall glass. There should be at least 1/4” of honey in the bottom of the tall glass. (You can also pour it directly into the glass.)

Step 3

Squirt 1/4” to 1/2” of lime juice from a re-purposed mustard container* into the tall glass, on top of the honey. Don’t be confused. In Cuba they may call it zumo de limón—lemon juice—but it is lime juice.

*A re-purposed ketchup container will work just as well.

Step 4

Add several sprigs of mint.

NOTE: For a true Cuban Mojito you only use the mint that has the red/purple stems. (The organic gardener down the road was very adamant about this!)

ALSO NOTE: Most of the leaves have been stripped from bottom of the 5” to 6” stem, leaving just a healthy flourish of fragrant, flouncy mint leaves at the top.

Step 5

Muddle the stems of the mint (and only the stems) with a little wooden baseball bat. (You know how the Cubans love baseball!) The leaves should still be nice and fluffy and leaf-like when you are done.

Step 6

Add the Havana Club Especial golden rum…at your own discretion. (Some people had more discretion than others!) Make sure you do this with an experienced flourish…but don’t spill a drop.

Steps 7 & 8

Add some chunks of ice, but make sure you leave some room in the glass for the sparkling water.

Fill the glass to the top with sparkling water.

Step 9

Stir with the long metal teaspoon and gently coax any submerged mint leaves to the top of the glass then fluff them up a bit.

But don’t drink it yet!

Steps 10

Choose your fancy (reusable) swizzle stick and you’re almost ready to enjoy. But first…

Arriba! Abajo! Al Centro! Al Dentro!

The only thing that might be better, is to enjoy your Perfect Cuban Mojito at the roof-top bar of your casa particular in Old Havana, along with a big, fat, hand-rolled Cuban cigar!

Hope you can join us!

Featured

Sign up now for Uke, Bike, & Barge in Burgundy, August 29, 2023

Sign up now to join us in beautiful Burgundy for our sixth Uke, Bike, and Barge Adventure.

Cycling through Burgundy

This cycle tour through Burgundy is categorized Level 2 (“easy” to moderate) as the countryside we’ll be riding through is slightly hilly, with a daily elevation gain of 250 – 300 meters. But each day offers two rides: an easier one and a longer, slightly more challenging one. This should come as welcome news to those who want to ride each day and spend a relaxing afternoon noodling and jamming, or simply watching the world go by from the comfort of our floating hotel, the Zwaantje.

Feeling a little sluggish? Not to worry, we’ll have two guides along on this trip so you can ride at a pace that’s comfortable for you. And, the Zwaantje has a limited number of e-bikes available for those who want to take it a little easier. (There is a $180 surcharge for the use of an e-bike on this trip.) As e-bikes are becoming increasingly popular, you should sign up now to have a better chance of getting one.

Join us with or without your uke.

Though playing the ‘ukulele is not a prerequisite to having a great time on any of our trips, all of our Uke, Bike & Barge Adventures have a professional ‘ukulele facilitator onboard offering personalized instruction and leading our sing-alongs. In the past, we’ve been joined by Phil Doleman, Ralph Shaw, Dave Egan, and Gary Peare.

But the best part is, the entire barge is ours. . . . .all ours!

Costs

The total cost of Uke, Bike & Barge – Burgundy is $2,490 (USD) per person, to be paid in two installments. There is one single cabin available for an additional $940. But you’ll need to sign up now if you want to secure it! Half the total amount is due when you register and the balance is due June 1, 2023.

If you’re joining us from the UK or European Union, we can also accept payment in GBP and EUR. Please contact me for more information.

Registration is not yet open, but you can sign up now to secure a spot by sending a $100 deposit to: ‘Ukulele Adventures, 1113 Chiles Avenue, St. Helena, CA 94574. You can also pay me directly using Venmo: elainede@sbcglobal.net. The $100 deposit will be deducted from the initial registration payment due and is NOT refundable unless we cancel the trip before opening registration.


Can’t wait until 2023?

There is nothing quite like the fun and camaraderie that evolves on our Uke, Bike, and Barge Adventures. But if you can’t make it to one of them, or would prefer to see Europe by bike and barge on your own (or even just by bike) please let us know. We have partnership agreements with all of our suppliers and can help you book the trip you want.

We can also offer the inside scoop on trips and vessels we’ve actually experienced:

Hope you can join us! It’s the most fun you can have with your ‘ukulele on!

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Provence Scrap Book #1

Avignon to Aigues Mortes May 21 – 28, 2022


Have Uke , Will Travel

The first of two, back-to-back Uke, Bike, & Barge Adventures in Provence did not disappoint. And while Dave Egan was our official ‘ukulele facilitator on Trip 1, passenger Gerald Ross was more than willing to share his expertise and talent with everyone on board, even after a hard day cycling.


Each day we rode our bikes through the incredible countryside of Provence, passing beautiful fields of bright red poppies, fields of golden grain, orchards full of fruit, tidy vineyards, and pastures that were home to the famed white horses and black bulls of the Camargue. Not to mention ancient Roman ruins and visits to some of the scenes painted by Van Gogh.

Of course, ‘ukuleles and music managed to work their way into almost every scenario: from Gerald and Dave jamming along with whoever was interested and spontaneous outbursts of “Sur la Pointe Avignon” to a well–rehearsed (!) rendition of “Aqua Ducty” at the magnificent Roman Aqueduct.

We also rode beside limestone cliffs and olive trees to the ancient hilltop village of Les Baux, then on to the Mediterranean at Aigues Mortes alongside marshes and waterways dotted with pink flamingos and other beautiful birds. We rested where ever we could. The E-bikes made the riding easier for most of us, but the three “power women of the orange bikes” persevered under their own power. And at the end of each day we found our way back to L’Estelle, our home away from home, where where a hot shower, refreshing beverages, and a welcome snack were waiting.

But most of all, we had boatloads of fun in some very special places with some very special people.


Nothing can beat a bunch of ‘ukulele enthusiasts taking over an entire ship for a week, which is what our Uke, Bike, & Barge Adventures are all about. And while it may be a while before we visit Provence, again, that doesn’t mean YOU can’t. We are booking trips for individuals interested in boat-bike trips in Provence and Italy in 2022 (only a few spaces left) and 2023, now. Please contact us for more information and be sure to let us know when you want to go and how many are in your party.


Featured

Starry, Starry ‘Ukulele Nights in Provence

Register by April 1 and get a $100/person discount!

We still have space available for you AND your ‘ukulele aboard L’Estello, May 28 – June 4, 2022 for the ‘ukulele adventure of a lifetime, Uke, Bike & Barge Provence. Ride your bike through the beautiful countryside of Provence by day and return to our floating hotel, L’Estello, each evening for a lovely repast and, if you choose, some ‘ukulele instruction and merriment under the starry, starry nights of Southern France.

And if you or your spouse don’t play? No worries, you won’t be alone. Nor will you be alone if you choose to forgo the day’s cycling adventure and stay aboard L’Estello, where the delightful crew will take very good care of you.

Rambling in the Luberon

And, if 8 days in Provence doesn’t seem quite long enough, you can opt for a 7-day self-guided Ramble in the Luberon, walking at your own pace from village to village, either before or after the barge tour….or completely separate from it!

The Costs

The Uke, Bike and Barge adventure in Provence is $2,349 per person in a double cabin. And if you’re travelling alone, we might have a cabinmate for you so you can avoid the single supplement of $440. Electric Bikes are also available for an additional $160. The ‘ukulele option is an additional $200. The Registration Form also includes options for a stay at the Hotel le Magnan before the barge trip. In any case, please register soon, while we still have space available.

Rambling in the Luberon is $1,640 per person sharing a room and an additional $610 for the single supplement. We do have folks starting this tour on June 5, so if that one works for you, you can avoid the solo traveler supplement. (You can still walk on your own, if you choose. But, your luggage will have some “companions” while it is moved from village to village for you.)

Please Contact Us for more information on booking the Luberon Ramble or with any other questions you might have.

Starry, starry night
Paint your palette blue and gray
Look out on a summer's day
With eyes that know the darkness in my soul

Shadows on the hills
Sketch the trees and the daffodils
Catch the breeze and the winter chills
In colors on the snowy, linen land. . . . .
Featured

We’re on Our Way to Cuba!

By all counts, the West Coast ‘Ukulele Retreat Redux was a huge success. Instructors and participants loved our new venue in Cambria at Camp Ocean Pines and wanted us to schedule next year’s retreat for November, again. And the camp apparently loved having us there, as was apparent with their fine attention to every detail. (They didn’t even bat an eye as we turned their Fireside Room into The Otter Club.) So, be sure to mark your calendars if you want to join us next year: November 8 – 13.

In the meantime. . . . . Cuba!

With all our ducks now in a row, we are ready to open registration for Cuban ‘Ukulele Rhythms, March 8 – 16, 2022.

If you are interested in this trip, please be sure to visit the website as there have been a few changes, the biggest one being the date: March 8 – 16, 2022. (This was so we could all secure better airfares.)

Covid Concerns

As there are still some very legitimate concerns about Covid, this link, Cuba and the Coronavirus should help bring you up to speed with the current situation. Overall I’d say Cuba has done a great job of getting their population vaccinated. It just took a while for them to develop their own vaccine.

Space is Limited

In order to ensure an enjoyable and more personal experience we are limiting the number of people to 7 on this trip. So, I would recommend mailing in your registration form and deposit as soon as possible. (Please don’t purchase your airline ticket until I have confirmed receipt of your registration.) Please Contact Us if you want to verify we have space available before sending in your registration or have any questions not addressed on the website.

Space has Opened up for Provence

Due to a couple of recent cancellations we now have space available on Uke, Bike & Barge Provence, May 28 – June 4. There is a berth (shared cabin) available for a single woman and an entire cabin (two beds) available for a couple or for two people travelling together. If you are interested please make sure you have read the trip description on the website before opening the registration form. If you have any questions, please contact me.

And now for something a little more timely. . . . .

Featured

‘Ukulele Retreat, Cuba, & Provence

The West Coast ‘Ukulele Retreat in Cambria is just two weeks away (November 3 – 7) and the workshops and schedule have been posted. We still have space available for “walk-ins” and for folks who would like to stay in a cabin, but space is very limited. So, if you’d like to join us, please contact us ASAP. (Covid vaccination or negative Covid test with-in 72 hours required.)

Cuba! Yes! It’s looking like all systems are go for a very limited number of people to join us for Cuban ‘Ukulele Rhythms. More information to come (including the trip cost), but please save the dates if you are interested: February 13 – 21, 2022. And make sure you are subscribed to or follow this website. (If there is overwhelming interest, we may add some dates.)

The first Uke, Bike, & Barge trip we offered in Provence, Avignon to Aigues Mortes (May 21 – 28, 2022), filled quickly. So we are offering a second trip, in the reverse direction, May 28 – June 4, 2022. On that trip we do still have space available for a single woman and for a couple or two people traveling together. Please visit the website to learn more about Uke, Bike, & Barge Provence. . . . .and to register to join us. We will also be posting hiking opportunities in Provence, soon.

What’s next? We’re still working on dates for Camp Oo-Koo-Lay-Lay 2022, self-guided hiking trips in Provence, and multi-sport ukulele adventures in Greece and Italy. So please, stay tuned.

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Staff Change for the West Coast ‘Ukulele Retreat

As many of you already know, the inimitable Jim D’Ville has re-located to beautiful Cleveland, Ohio. Unfortunately, Cleveland’s gain is our loss, as Jim will not be able to join us at the West Coast ‘Ukulele Retreat this year. However, ‘ukulele superstar (and all around great musician) Gerald Ross will be joining us in Jim’s place with a brand new slate of workshops.

Gerald Ross

In the meantime, we are putting together our workshop schedule. . . . .and leave it to Nancy Piver to come up with something totally delicious to teach in her ukulele “ensemble” workshop. Scott Joplin’s “Magnetic Rag?” You got it! And yes, an ensemble of ‘ukulele players can sound pretty darn close to the piece below. In addition to Nancy’s arrangement of “Magnetic Rag,” we’ll be offering other ensemble opportunities, as well, with parts suitable for players of all abilities. (Yes, you can!)

You can also count on Catfish Jack to shake things up a bit and introduce us to the original version of “Walk Right In,” written by Gus Cannon in 2013! As I write, Jack and Gary Peare are creating a joint workshop building on this tune, incorporating both harmonicas and ‘ukulele. Should be loads of fun. (Catfish Jack will also be teaching our very beginning ‘ukulele classes for beginners and companions.)

Gus Cannon “Walk Right In”

The retreat is pretty close to capacity but we do still have space available in our group cabins for a few more folks. We have set a hard limit of 3 people per cabin and if you have a preferred cabinmate, all the better. And, of course, there is still space available for folks who choose to stay elsewhere, or for those who live in the area and want to commute.

Registration is still open. We still have space. And we would love to have you join us.

Register Here

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A second trip offering to Provence

Our Uke, Bike, & Barge Adventure in Provence, May 21 – 28, 2022, is already full! We know this will leave a lot of people disappointed. So, we are offering a second (almost) identical trip, May 28 – June 4. This will have essentially the same itinerary, but it will go in the opposite direction: starting in Aigues Mortes and ending in Avignon.

If you are seriously interested in reserving a spot on this second trip, please contact us as soon as possible and let us know.

If not, please stay tuned. There are many more fun times with your ‘ukulele to come.

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