Wednesday, April 3, 2013

A cold evening for drumming down the sun

March 27, 2013
North Fort Myers, Florida
Seminole Campground

Note: Still trying to catch up on posts from our time in Fort Myers. We are now at Majestic Oaks RV Resort in Zephyrhills visiting with family for a few days before starting a slow journey westward.

Ever since I read about the Nokomis drumming down the sun events in Sherri and David’s blog, In the Direction of Our Dreams, I have been anxious to attend one. Those of you who are also readers of Jeannie’s blog, Where’s Eldo, would also know that one of the largest drumming down the sun events in Southwest Florida happens every Sunday night in Sarasota’s Siesta Key. Now if you are really paying attention you would know that the last three months we were either in Cortez—just north of Sarasota, or Fort Myers—about an hour south of Nokomis—meaning we had plenty of opportunities to attend a drum circle. As things go it took getting down to the last week of our stay in this area before we actually made it. The only problem is we may have chosen the coldest night of the year for our drum circle initiation!

We also had a commitment to have one more opportunity to get together with a couple, Jean and Dave, whom we became friends with last year and have had the pleasure to see a few times again this year. They had been in Fort Myers but were now in Cortez. Getting together at the drum circle in Nokomis would be a mid-way point for both of us and, unlike Vic, they seemed genuinely interested in checking out this Gulf Coast phenomena.  Dave is a retired band teacher so drumming is something that naturally interests him.  Victor—not so much.  Regardless, we made a plan to meet at the Fish House on Casey Key for an early dinner, then check out the Nokomis event. 

The Fish House turned out to be an excellent choice as both the atmosphere and food were outstanding.  We arrived at 5 p.m. and within a half hour the place was hopping with at least a half hour wait. 

We took the next hour and a half enjoying Dave and Jean’s company before heading to the Nokomis Public Beach on Casey Key, about a two mile drive on a narrow barrier island past beach mansions ranging from $4-$10 million. We had never seen this area before and were fairly surprised at the decadence of the homes.

So just what is a drum circle? Drum circles are open invitations to people of any age or ability to participate in a sunset ritual. There seem to be regulars who show up and take the lead of establishing the circle and getting the beat going through drumming or dance. The circle is reserved for performers which typically include dancers, hula-hoopers, or jugglers, while the outside is reserved for those who gather with food and drink to watch and listen to the performances.

Because of the almost freezing temperatures this particular night, the Nokomis drum circle was held at the activity center instead of out on the beach. This change of venue was a disappointing one as gathering on concrete instead of in the sand definitely affected the ambiance.  Not surprisingly, there were much fewer participants and onlookers in attendance (according to my research) due to the cold temperatures and wind—the temp was in the high 40s with a wind chill factor much lower.

So, for the most part, the drum circle experience was a bust. No scantily clad belly dancers for the guys to watch and very few drummers to get the crowd going.  There were, however, some enthusiastic participants in spite of the cold temperatures.

We loved seeing these kids join in the drumming performance

About an hour after our arrival. I did manage to take a short hike to the beach for the actual sunset.  There was a large group on the shore trying to witness the green flash after enjoying several spring break cocktails.  No green flash appeared—as far as my sober eyes could tell. . . .

As the night was still young, just shy of 8 p.m., we made a plan to find a nightcap somewhere before the hour drive back to our respective campgrounds.  As luck would have it, we found a great little place less than a half-mile away called Pop’s Sunset Grill.

This waterfront bar has outside tables with firepits built into them. Unfortunately, the place was too busy to snag one of these tables, so we settled for a seat in the warm and windless bar for a farewell ‘til next year libation.  Our growing friendship is another example of what can happen when you strike up a conversation with someone in a campground—and a reminder to be open to possibilities that are present everyday.  Namaste.


  1. Too bad about the weather...but the rest of your night sounds like fun!

    Being the doggie person that I am...sure loved the shot of the doggie nose. Way cute!

  2. Hopefully we will be in Florida next winter and get to experience the drum circle. Looks like a lot of fun. I do agree that being on the sand would be much more exciting.

  3. "Drumming Down the Sun" goes on our list for next year! Note to self: avoid cool night. I see you're into theft now... stealing real estate photos -- thwarted! Another note to self: avoid real estate broker pictures.

  4. We've never seen a drum circle. I'm betting they have one in Clearwater or St. Pete...may have to check it out.

    Did you notice one of your pictures showing "image theft alert" ?

  5. It was probably a good thing the temps were lower for your sunset drum viewing. The only time we have been able to get a place to park to witness this was a cool drizzle night. The other attempts were beyond packed with no parking to be had. You lucked out! It is an interesting happening they have there. We wintered in Cortez in 2011 and 2012. We will return to Cortez next winter again. I'll have to go back through your blog to see where you stayed. Wonderful little area with quiet Anna Marie Island right there.


    1. We stayed at Buttonwood RV Resort which is just slightly west of Holiday Cove.

    2. We will be right next door at Holiday Cove. We found Holiday Cove before Buttonwood made all their improvements. Since we have developed friendships there, we continue to return.

  6. Loved your photos of the Nokomis drum circle!

  7. That bird did not get much of a dinner in its beak:(

  8. Looks like we are in for a bunch of wet weather here in Central your pictures tonight.

  9. So sorry you didn't get to see the big deal. But your pictures are great. I actually liked Wednesday better than Saturday. Thanks for the shout out!



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