1st Annual River House
Hammered Dulcimer Retreat


Ruth Smith



September 10-12, 2010

This luxury Hammered Dulcimer Retreat is being held at the
Historic River House Inn in
Grassy Creek, NC

(Click here for the River House Inn and Restaurant info)

The River House Hammered Dulcimer Retreat - “An inspired Musical Experience”

Join us for the 1st Annual River House Hammered Dulcimer Retreat in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina - a relaxing, engaging, and instructional weekend retreat with great friends, exquisite food, wonderful music, and personal, encouraging instruction all in the gorgeous setting of secluded Ashe County along the famed New River.

Hosted by Ruth Smith

Ruth's many years of classical training give her a special touch, and she is recognized for her delicate, expressive style. Ruth is known for bringing the softer side of the hammered dulcimer to life. Dirty Linen Folk & World Music Magazine says “Ruth Smith's touch on the hammered dulcimer is absolutely magical, with exquisite phrasing, highlighting the range of the instrument, especially on her own pieces.” Her Scots-Irish heritage has given her a special love for and expressive style in the Celtic music that is well-suited for the hammered dulcimer, and living for over 20 years in northwestern North Carolina (the heartland of traditional Appalachian Folk Music) has schooled Ruth in the traditions of Appalachian mountain music, fiber arts and pottery. Ruth’s former students always comment on how much they learn and accomplish studying with her, and how comfortable they feel in her workshops.


All workshop topics will be geared to the Advanced Beginner and Intermediate student, with an emphasis placed on learning to play expressively. Ruth will contact participants in advance to collect requests for subjects and tunes to study, and then will determine the final workshop topics. We will create a supportive and encouraging environment so students can have fun and feel free to try new techniques. Music will be taught by ear, with printed music also handed out for all music and exercises studied. Use of a recording device is strongly encouraged.

Steve Smith Workshops, too!

Ruth’s musical partner and husband, Steve, will be available to spouses or accompanying friends for a la carte fingerstyle guitar and/or clawhammer banjo workshops. (Steve’s “a la carte” sessions: $25.00 each) Steve will also conduct a short discussion workshop for all interested participants on how to mic and amplify your hammered dulcimer for both public performing and recording. Bring your questions and situations. Very basic information will be taught that will be easy to learn and use. This 45 minute workshop is available for all participants at no additional charge.


Spend a relaxing weekend at the lovely 1870 River House Country Inn and Restaurant in the mountains of NC. There's a mile of riverfront for strolling, wading, tubing, canoeing and fishing. Walking trails wind through 170 acres. The luxurious and uniquely decorated guestrooms, each with a fireplace and hot tub, are converted farm buildings. Elegant, but comfortable, this could be the only five-star chicken coop with a hot tub you’ll ever stay in! ( http://www.riverhousenc.com/ )

Delicious gourmet meals are served at the River House. The food, like the River House, is sophisticated without being pretentious. We honestly think this is the finest food in the High Country of NC – bar none!

Recreational Activities – Free time provided each day for kayaking, fishing, hiking, or just “porch settin’ in rocking chairs” overlooking the New River. Steve and Ruth will guide a kayak trip Saturday afternoon which will be an easy float down the New River ending up at the River House’s front lawn. Wander on trails through the 170 acre property, or relax with a good book on a lawn chair by the river. Area attractions and recreational activities abound in this amazing part of the mountains, including driving and hiking the Blue Ridge Parkway, hiking the Appalachian Trail, enjoying local history and craft demonstrations, viewing wild ponies on nearby Grayson Highlands, biking on the Virginia Creeper or in nearby Todd on an historic railroad grade road, and so much more! ( http://www.riverhousenc.com/attractions.htm )


Friday Afternoon:

1:00 – 1:30 pm Meet and Greet with light refreshments

1:30 – 2:45 pm Workshop 1

3:00 – 4:15 pm Workshop 2

4:15 – 6:00 pm Free Time

6:00 pm Dinner, followed by informal evening session after dinner, which may include jamming, sharing tunes with each other, or time to ask questions. (These activities will be based on our collective energy levels and wishes. In other words – we’ll just do what we feel like doing!)

Saturday Morning:

9:00 – 10:30 am Workshop 1

10:45 am – Noon Workshop 2

12:00 – 1:00 pm Lunch

1:00 – 6:00 pm Free Time (2 hour guided kayak & canoe trip during this time)

6:00 pm Dinner, followed by informal evening session

Sunday Morning:

9:00- 10:30 am Workshop 1

10:45 am – Noon Workshop 2

12:00 – 1:00 pm Lunch

The Retreat officially ends after lunch but you’re invited to stay for a Sunday Salon afternoon concert at 4:00 pm by Steve & Ruth. (Free of charge for Dulcimer Retreat participants.) Sunday Salons at the River House are patterned after the famous international "Salons" of the past with complimentary hors d’oeuvre served during the concert. (Wine and cocktails additional charge.) A fabulous four course Chef’s Choice dinner is also available following the concert, but is not included in retreat package price.


Costs for the entire weekend will vary based on room choice, number of roommates, and options chosen. Several of the rooms can comfortably house 3 people. ($50.00 charge for 3rd person.)

A example of a typical participant's costs for the weekend - approximately $435.00:

Instruction - $120.00
Meals and refreshments - $150.00
1/2 of double occupancy room for 2 nights - will be approximately $165.00, give or take a little depending on room choice. (This would include tax, and takes into account a 15% Retreat discount.)
TOTAL: $435.00

This breaks down as follows:

Instruction fees

Ruth: $120.00 includes all sessions
Steve’s “a la carte” sessions: $25.00 each

Housing fees
Retreat discounted room costs range between $70.50 and $106.00 per night, per person (based on double occupancy) and includes breakfast and tax. Register early for your choice of accommodations. Additional nights are available, should you wish to come early or extend your stay to include the Sunday Salon and dinner.

Meal fees

Breakfast each morning is included in the room price.
4 gourmet meals, including all taxes and gratuities: $150.00
(This includes Friday dinner, lunch and dinner on Saturday, and lunch on Sunday.)
Day students may also purchase meals at the Retreat rate.


Sunday dinner for $45.00 – Includes concert, hors d'oeuvre, and fabulous 4 course Chef’s choice gourmet dinner.

Paddling Fees

Discounted rates for Dulcimer Retreat participants which include transportation to put-in site:

$20.00 Kayak (one person per boat)
$40.00 Canoe (two persons per boat)
$5.00 Transportation only (if you bring your own boat)

Note: This is a fun, easy 2 hour float!

Workshop Registration and Deposit:

Note: The River House web site has all the rooms blocked out for our group, so they are showing "occupied" but are, in fact, reserved for the Retreat. Therefore, call or email Ruth for instructions on how to register:
A non-refundable deposit of $120.00 is required with registration.
Space is very limited, so register early!



Steve and Ruth will perform
a concert on

September 12, 2010
4:00 pm

Sunday Salon Concert Series
at the River House



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