Our musical interests also extend to the sounds of both the Mountain and Hammered Dulcimers. Though both are stringed instruments they aren't really related. The mountain dulcimer is an Appalachian folk instrument with roots in the German scheitholt while the hammered dulcimer is much older and has relatives all over the world.
As the mountain dulcimer has fewer strings (typically 3 or 4) than the hammered dulcimer (typically 15+14 doubled courses) we went with the one that was easier to tune. We currently have dulcimers from several different makers here in the US including the following:
When we lived in the southern California area we were able to attend the SCDH dulcimer festival held each fall. The festival took place in the Dana Point harbor and there was always great music and classes from some of the best dulcimer players in the U.S.. The links above will take you to photos from three of the festivals.