Let’s Make a Deal!

With less than two months to go until our grand Italian/ukulele adventure begins, and a couple of cabins on the Ave Maria still available, I AM READY TO DEAL!

Please contact me for the discount details ASAP if you want to join us on our epic Uke/Bike/Barge Adventure from Mantua to Venice, September 14 – 21. (Serious inquiries, only, please.)

Here’s our itinerary.  Really, it’s going to be awesome.  Even more so, if you come along!

And, in case you missed it, here’s a little snippet of our most recent Ukein’, Bike. & Barge trip to the

Netherlands, last April.  So much fun!

Day two – Yahoo!

By now we will have spent the first two nights of our Ukein’, Bikein’, & Bargein’ Adventure next September moored in beautiful Mantua in northern Italy. And now it will be time to head on down the. . . . .canal.

Day 2 – Mantua to Zelo

On this, our second full day aboard the Ave Maria, we “set sail” after breakfast and cruise through the lush wetlands that surround Mantua and head for the Governolo Lock, where Mantua’s River Mincio flows into the Po, Italy’s longest River.

Here, we “saddle up,” leave the Ave Maria behind, and peddle our way along the broad sweeps of the levee towards Ostiglia, another Medieval town, but one that also saw some of the fiercest fighting during the closing days of World War II.

We’ll also visit Bergantino, home of the Museum of Fairground Rides and see its fascinating collection of expertly restored street organs. You haven’t seen anything until you’ve seen one of these beauties in action.

And we’ll stop to visit a cheese factory, where we will have the opportunity to sample some well-seasoned Grana Padano, a well-aged cheese said to rival the “King of Cheeses,” Parmigiano-Reggiano. Gran Padano was created by the Cistercian monks of Chiaravalle in the 12th century and, lucky for us, it is still made throughout the Po River Valley.

Then, after an active day of astonishing variety and contrast, we catch up with the Ave Maria in Zelo, a sleepy village on the Canal Bianco, a waterway running parallel to the Po. Once back on board we can sit and relax, sip a glass of wine, strum our ukuleles, and wait for a delicious dinner to be served.

And, there will still be time after all of that to partake of a lesson or two with our resident maestro, Dave Egan.

Whew!  That’s a lot.  And it’s only our second day!

We’d love to have you join us!  Please contact me to see if we still have room.

 

Just one cabin left for ukulele fun!

Our next two Ukulele Adventures are just about full. But, as luck would have it, each one has one cabin left!

We’ve had a few cancellations on our Ukein’, Bike, & Barge trip in Italy, September 14 – 21, which has given us an opportunity to shuffle things around a bit. So we can now offer one of the following options if you’d like to join us:

  • A single cabin. $3,300
  • A cabin for two people, provided one of you is willing to sleep in the top bunk. $2,480/person
  • A superior cabin for three people. $2370/person

If you are interested in any of these options, please contact me as soon as possible. (Please note, at this time you must reserve the entire cabin.  We can no longer find roommates for you.)


What’s missing? You!

If you prefer to stay a little closer to home, we still have room at Camp Oo-Koo-Lay-Lay, on the shores of Lake Berryessa in Northern California, June 19 – 23, for folks wanting to bring their own tents or motor homes. But if you want to stay in one of the comfy tent cabins, you need to act fast to secure a spot. Online registration is still open!

The lake is full of water, the fish are biting, the otters are swimming, the falcons are nesting, and the ukes are playing. The camp schedule is chock full of jam sessions, workshops, classes, and shows with our amazing core of instructors. . . . .and you!!

What more could you want?

Food?

We’ve got that covered, too. Just sign up for the food plan and we’ll take care of breakfast and lunch for you! So, all you have to do is bring something to share for our themed dinner pot lucks. Easy peasey.


And if you’re the type who likes to plan way ahead…..how about joining us in Provence next June, for another one of our Ukein’, Bike, & Barge trips in the land of Starry, Starry Nights? We start in the lovely walled town of Avignon.  Then, after daily  rides through delightful Provençal villages, vineyards,  fields of sunflowers, and the landscapes that were so dear to Vincent Van Gogh, we end our tour in Aigues Mortes, a completely walled town that has changed little in appearance since its glory during the Middle Ages…but not without a visit first to the Carmargue and its black bulls, white horses, and pink flamingos. And after each day of busy riding (or just enjoying the journey on the barge), we can retire to the lovely sundeck, ukes in hand, for a lesson, a sing-along, or both. Or, you can take a day off from bike riding anytime and stay on the barge.


Final Note: We have just confirmed the dates and venue for  the 2019 Hawai’i Island ‘Ukulele Retreat, held once again in Hawi, but we’ve moved it into November, this year, the 10th through the 16th.  If you’re interested in this one, be sure to subscribe (or follow) the website so you’ll know as soon as we open registration.

And we still have space for a few more people on our Cuban Ukulele Rhythms Adventure, December 5 – 15, 2019 to Cuba. Contact me if you’re interested. (Be sure to let me know which trip you are interested in.)

That’s it for now!  Keep strumming and stay tuned!

Uke-ing, Biking, & Sailing in the Netherlands! Act now!

Back by popular demand!  Another Ukulele, Bike, & Barge trip!  But this time we’re going to the Netherlands during the height of tulip season, April 13 – 21, 2019.  And instead of a barge, we’ll be aboard a 3-masted barquentine!  ((I had no idea what a “barquentine” was and had to look it up.  It’s a sailing vessel with 3 or more masts: a square-rigged foremast and fore-and-aft rigged main and mizzen.)

As many of you know, our Montargis to Paris and Mantua to Venice trips sold out very quickly.  So don’t put this on the back-burner!  If you’re interested, you need to act quickly.

Here’s the scoop.

Our home away from home will be the sailing ship Leafde fan Fryslân, with  twelve well-appointed twin cabins (about 107 sq.ft. each). (Triples are also available if anyone wants to take a top bunk and one single cabin will be available for now.) Each cabin has an en-suite bathroom with shower, toilet and basin; ventilation and heating; portholes and a hatch that can be opened; a hairdryer and a mini safe. There is a restaurant/dining room on the lower deck of the ship. The wheelhouse and a cozy lounge, with large panoramic windows, is on the upper deck, along with a well-equipped bar and Wi-Fi.

The maximum number of passengers is 25, which includes our ukulele instructional staff. In addition there are 4 crewmembers.

While the ship itself has a great deal of appeal, the itinerary is equally compelling.  (And remember, you can stay with the ship if you prefer not to ride your bike, and there are electric bikes available.)  Plus it looks as though there will be ample opportunity for ukulele camaraderie, instruction, fun, and games.

Day 1, Saturday.  We’ll meet the boat in Amsterdam which leaves the harbor at 2.30 p.m and sails to Haarlem. After dinner, and introductions, we’ll take a guided walk through the beautiful city center of Haarlem, known as “Little Amsterdam.” An easy day with ample time to get a little ukulele instruction and fun under our belts.

Day 2, Sunday. We ride our bikes through the oldest tulip fields in Holland, and, among other things, visit Keukenhof Gardens. This is the most beautiful bulb park in the world and features an overwhelming blaze of colors: seven million flowering tulips (along with hyacinths, daffodils, and other flowering plants) in a magnificent 80-acre setting of traditional and modern gardening architecture. In the afternoon, we’ll cycle back to Haarlem to spend a restful night in our floating hotel, after a little more time with each other and our ukulele facilitator.

Day 3, Monday. In the morning, the ship will take us to the Zaanse Schans, a unique hamlet next to the river Zaan where people still live and work alongside original houses and windmills (including one built in 1673), used for grinding mustard seeds, spices, and paint components; extracting plant oil; and for sawing wood into planks.

Then we’ll hop on our bikes, again to ride through colorful tulip fields to Limmen and Egmond-Binnen, where we’ll visit the Hortus Bulborum, a unique garden museum dedicated to the preservation of rare and historic bulbs. From there we’ll ride to the historical city center of Alkmaar, a “Dutch cheese city,” with well-preserved 17th-century buildings and narrow, winding canals. This is where we’ll meet up with our ship, make a little music, and spend the night.

Day 4, Tuesday. Today’s bike ride will take us through even more beautiful tulip fields as we make our way to the North Sea and the most beautiful long sandy beach in the Netherlands and the nearby artist’s village of Bergen. From here we’ll  bike through the North-Holland Dune reserve to Den Helder, a hunk of land wedged between the North Sea and the Ijsselmeer, home to the world’s single biggest flowering bulb field. Then we sail  to the island of Texel, the largest of the Dutch Wadden Isles.

Day 5, Wednesday. Today we have choices: a shorter route or a longer tour around the island through delightful natural parks, picturesque villages and landscapes, a seal sanctuary, and, yes, through even more fields of blooming flowers! At the end of the cycling trip, we can enjoy a locally-brewed beer at a small brewery near Oudeschild. Then, while eating dinner aboard the ship, we will return to the mainland and sail to Medemblik, while enjoying a little ukulele camaraderie on board.

Day 6, Thursday.  In the morning, we will set sail to Enkhuizen and those who’d like to can lend a hand during navigation and hoisting the sails or you can just relax and play your ukulele while enjoying the scenery along the IJsselmeer. Around lunchtime, we stop in Enkhuizen, an old “herring” city with centuries of maritime tradition. From here we ride through West-Friesland, another area with riotously-blooming tulip fields to the former Dutch East India Company town of Hoorn, which was, in the 17th century,one of the world’s foremost harbors.

Day 7, Friday. On this last day of cycling, we’ll ride our bikes to Volendam, a small and picturesque fishing harbor on the shores of Lake Ijsselmeer, passing Edam along the way, known for its famous Edam cheese, covered in red or yellow wax. While this lovely village is renowned for cheese, it was once an industrious shipyard and port. In the 17th century sailors would take wheels of Edam, which didn’t spoil easily and could be traded for spices and other riches of the East,  on their voyages, making itone of the most popular cheeses in the world. Our ship will be waiting In Volendam to take us back to Amsterdam, where we’ll spend our last night on board before disembarking on Saturday morning.

The total cost for those registering now and sharing a double room is $1798 per person.  (If you don’t already have a roommate, we can try to find one for you, but it would really be better to know who you will be sharing a cabin with.) There are a few triple rooms available (someone will have to agree to a top bunk) but you must have an entire threesome together before registering for this option. The cost for a triple is $1598/person.  And, for right now, we can make one single cabin available, first come first served, for $2,339.

The price includes:

  • At least one top notch, world renowned, ukulele instructor/performer/facilitator to enhance our musical experience.
  • 7 nights aboard the Leafde fan Fryslân with 7 3-course dinners, breakfast each morning, and a packed lunch.
  • Linens, towels, and daily cleaning of the cabin
  • Bike & Helmet use (electric bikes will cost extra)
  • Guided cycling and walking tours as well as time to explore on our own
  • Use of a waterproof pannier bag and Wi-Fi aboard the ship
  • A boat full of other ukulele players to enjoy the journey with (and no disdainful stares)
The price does not include
  • Travel and transfers to and from the docking place
  • Gratuities (at your discretion)
  • Entrance fees and excursions
  • Fees for ferries
  • extra charge for electric bike

If you are serious about joining us, you need to let me know via return email and mail me a non-refundable deposit in the amount of $100/person. I will not cash your check until the trip is confirmed, probably by the end of the month. Nor will I cash your check until your place on the trip is confirmed. (I’ll let you know, first, in any case.) The trip will be confirmed once a minimum number of people have sent in a deposit and I feel confident that we’ll have enough folks to fill every cabin on the boat.

Once the trip is confirmed, you will be asked to send in an additional payment amounting to 50% of the total (less the $100 deposit.)  The final payment will be due about two months prior to departure.

You can make your check out to me, Elaine de Man, and mail it to:

Elaine de Man
1113 Chiles Avenue
St. Helena, CA  94574
USA

Our other Ukein,’ Bike, & Barge trips, to Paris and Venice, sold out very quickly andwhile I wanted to give the opportunity to register first, I will be posting this on the website in a week or so. So, if you’re seriously interested and don’t want to be relegated to a waiting list, please don’t wait!

And thank you.  Thank you for your adventurous spirit. Thank you for your love of music.  And thank you for letting me do the work that I love. Together we’re going to make some wonderful memories.

Elaine

You Can Help Plan Your Next Ukulele Adventure!

2019 is Right Around the Corner!

And it’s not too early to start making plans for you and your ‘ukulele!  (Or you and your harmonica!  Or you and your bongo!  Or you and your spoons!  Or you and your significant other!)

So, please take a moment to help us help you by filling out our little survey.  Not only will it help us plan for the adventures YOU want to have, it will make sure you are among the first to know when we open registration for our most popular events.

Brand New for 2019!

How does 8 to 10 days in Cuba with experts in Cuban Rhythms and Ukulele sound?

While we are still working out all the details, here is what we have in mind: a musical journey exploring the unique cultural rhythms of Cuba with renowned musicians who specialize in ukulele instruction and percussion. This will not only contribute to our growth as musicians, but will help open doors to the local music scene. So, rather than see as much of Cuba as we can in as little time as possible, we will hunker down in a couple of cities and villages known for their musical heritage so that we experience Cuba and what it has to offer through interactions with local musicians and the music scene Cuba is famous for. We might even hop into a local recording studio and create a few lasting mementos!

We’re looking at January, February, or March of 2019 for this one, but much will depend on the amount of interest we can generate and availability.  If we can’t do it in the first few months of 2019, we’ll certainly be looking toward the end of 2019 and beginning of 2020.

So please let us know what you think and if you’d like to join us.  And remember, by responding to the survey, you’ll be first to know when we open registration for a very small group of people.

Still not convinced?  Perhaps Desi can help you decide!

But That’s Not All!

How about an 8-day Sailing, Biking, Ukulele-ing Trip to the Netherlands During Tulip Season?

This will be very similar to the other Uke, Bike, & Barge trips we offer (a small group experience with an internationally acclaimed ukulele instructor on board), except that we will be aboard a newly retrofitted three-masted barquentine!  (I get excited just writing about this trip!) It includes overnight stays in historic cities such as Haarlem and Alkmaar and daily bike rides that will take us through beautiful fields of blooming tulips, alongside working windmills and North Sea beaches, through small, dreamlike farm villages and “cheese towns,” and picturesque harbor towns.

On the sixth day of the 8-day trip we’ll sail along the IJsselmeer to Enkuizen, an old city with centuries of maritime tradition. Then we’ll hop back on our bikes and ride to the Dutch East India Company town of Hoorn where we’ll meet our ship, again. The next day we ride through Edam (home of, yes, the cheese) on our way to Volandam, before sailing back to Amsterdam.  I’ve been to the Netherlands a number of times (my dad and my sister were born there)….but never like this. I have to say, this one really sounds great!

But what will make this trip extra special, are the evenings we’ll spend on board playing our ukuleles with each other and with guidance and instruction from one of  Europe’s top player/instructors.

The ship only has 12 cabins, so space will be limited. And while I don’t have exact costs yet, it will be in the neighborhood of $1,800 – $2,000 dollars which includes all meals and lodging aboard the ship, plus group ukulele instruction.

If you missed out on either the Paris or Venice Ukein’, Bike and Barge Adventures, this could be the only other opportunity you’ll have to join us on board in 2019. So please, respond to the survey so you can be among the first to know when we open registration for this one.

And don’t forget!

You can still join us in 2018 at the Hawai’i Island ‘Ukulele Retreat in Hawi, Oct. 14 – 20 or the New Uke-Culinary Fiesta in Santa Fe, New Mexico, Nov. 7 – 11. Registration is open for both of these events and spaces are filling quickly.

Please visit Ukulele Adventures (and subscribe if you haven’t already) to find out more.

That’s it for now!  Looking forward to seeing you and your ‘ukulele soon!

Three Down and Three to Go!

The first half of Ukulele Adventures 2018 has been nothing short of stellar.

Our first Kernville ‘Ukulele Blues and Harp Fest was a resounding success and reinforced the value of small-group retreats.  Plus, Catfish Jack!  What a great addition to our ‘ukulele family.  You’ll be seeing more of him, for sure. We already have dates for the 2019 Kernville event (March 7 – 10, 2019), so mark your calendar now! We’re committed to keeping it small and we expect to sell out, again.

And…then there was the “Love-in” at the West Coast ‘Ukulele Retreat at Asilomar  in May.  Wow! Just Wow!  Sonny Bono rose from the dead to do a tune with Cher. Grace Slick dazzled us with “White Rabbit.” And the ghost of Janis Joplin was lurking in the sidelines.  Plus, it was fun to see some of our favorite instructors sporting full heads of hair…..long, beautiful hair. According to Jim D’Ville (and he’s only missed one or two of them), this was the best one yet.

And how can you not love summer camp? Especially if there’s an ‘ukulele involved? Camp Oo-Koo-Lay-Lay gave us all a chance to explore our inner muse and child craft on the shores of beautiful Lake Berryessa. Next year’s dates are all set up, so please mark your calendars: June 19 – 24, 2019.  Again, it’s about keeping it small, personal, and manageable.

Next stop: Paris and the Ukein’ Bike & Barge Trip with Phil Doleman. We are all sold out except we do have a shared cabin available . . . . . with a man you are sure to like.  So, if you’re interested, please let me know ASAP.  This is going to be so much fun….I have wiped all the dust and grime off my bike, put air in the tires, and I take it for a little spin each day to make sure I’ll be ready. And Phil and I have been conferring on the ‘ukulele portion…..full of surprises…..it’s going to be great.  If you didn’t get signed up for this (or the 2019 Italy Ukein’ Bike & Barge Trip) in time, I am sorry.  But stay tuned (by making sure you havesubscribed to the website), I will be adding another.

We still have room for a few more at the Hawai’i Island ‘Ukulele Retreat in Hawi and have just added Fred and Lynn Sokolow to an already stellar line-up that includes Brad Bordessa, Kaliko Beamer Trapp, Robyn Kneubuhl, Kona Bob, and Lehua Ahsam. There will be a healthy mix of traditional and contemporary Hawaiian music, along with a whole lot of Tin Pan Alley, Blues, and Swing, and all the assorted skill sets necessary to play them well.  Robyn will also be teaching hula, Fred will be adding some slide ‘ukulele instruction, and Lynn will be offering some classes for bass players. In addition, attendees will have some unique opportunities to practice and perform with professional musicians. Registration for the Hawai’i Retreat is still open, but if you’d like to check to make sure there is a room available at the Kohala Village Inn first, you can visit their website. The last time I checked, they still had the following available: rooms with a single queen or two queens, or the Ohana suites (two rooms with a shared bathroom, suitable for 2, 3 or 4 people.)

And last, but in no way least, you should think about joining those merry ‘ukulele pranksters and practitioners, Daniel Ward, Heidi Swedberg, and Craig McClelland for our second installment of the New Uke-Culinary Fiesta in beautiful Santa Fe, New Mexico, November 7 – 11. . . . .a chance to hone your ukulele chops while chopping onions for some delicious southwestern-inspired cuisine.  If you’re not sure what this might look like, you should check out the schedule.  We  still have room, but enrollment is limited to the capacity of El Paradero, our lovely ukulele home in Santa Fe.  You can register here.

That’s it for now! Hope you can join us on one our remaining Ukulele Adventures in 2018.  If not, perhaps we’ll see you in 2019!  We’ve got lots more ukulele fun in store for you in 2019!

A Full Year of Ukulele Adventures Coming Your Way

What makes the perfect ‘ukulele experience?

  • A terrific venue and extracurricular activities that take advantage of it!
  • Experienced instructors who go the extra mile to ensure their students’ success!
  • Itineraries that bring out the best in everything!
  • And enthusiastic and supportive people like you!

And so we bring you 2018!

The most fun you can have with your ‘ukulele on!

 

March 1 – 4, 2018

Ukulele Blues & Harmonica Fest

A unique opportunity to get your blues on, seriously, with Kevin Carroll and Catfish Jack at the iconic Pine Cone Inn in  Kernville, CA. Opportunities abound to improve your skills on ukulele and/or harmonica no matter what your level of skill.

May 2 – 6, 2018

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West Coast ‘Ukulele Retreat

This is the jewel in our ‘ukulele crown: four days of unparalleled learning opportunities for ukulele players at Asilomar, on the beautiful shores of Monterey Bay in Central California. Members of the staff are carefully chosen for their skill, experience, and commitment to their students, and the small class size ensures personal attention. Plus, we have the only teaching/recording studio for ukulele players in the world!

June 6 – 10, 2018

Camp O art

Camp Oo-Koo-Lay-Lay

It’s just what it sounds like! Ukulele summer camp for adults! Come camp with us on the shores of beautiful Lake Berryessa and take ukulele classes in the morning, swim a little in the lake, then more classes in the afternoon!  Plus all your typical summer camp hi-jinx!  Casual and fun!

Sept. 8 – 15, 2018

Ukein’, Barge, & Bike

Our first European Barge and Bike adventure, from Montargis to Paris with Europe’s top ukulele instructor/performer, Phil Doleman,  filled right away.  But don’t despair.  We have another one planned for 2019 in Italy and it’s not too late (or too soon) to get on board for that one! Please visit the website for information on how you can secure a place.

October 14 – 20, 2018

Hawai’i Island ‘Ukulele Retreat

Our lovely venue at the Kohala Village Inn in Hawi, (far, far, from the maddening crowds) a small plantation town on the northern tip of Hawai’i Island, provides the perfect respite for full,’ukulele immersion with a talented staff that brings a delightful mix of traditional Hawaiian tunes and stories to a meeting of classical, blues, jazz, and contemporary music.  If you play the ‘ukulele, are looking for ways to play better,  and have a week to spend in Hawai’i, this one is for you.

November 7 – 11, 2018

The New-Uke-Culinary Fiesta

What do you do with two world class ukulele instructor/performers who hail from New Mexico and love to cook?  When they’re not teaching ‘ukulele, you throw an apron on them and send ’em to the kitchen to teach classes in Southwestern cuisine. And thus we have the “New” (to distinguish it from the original in Ajijic, Mexico) Uke-Culinary Fiesta, equal parts ‘ukulele, cooking (and eating), and exploration and immersion in beautiful Santa Fe, New Mexico, with Heidi Swedberg and Daniel Ward.

Still on the fence?

Click Here to See

How much fun you can have with your ukulele on!