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Sweet September

As the first day of National Honey Month approaches, we wanted to take a look at a few outstanding honey festivals, beekeeping events and apiary tours that have created quite a buzz in the travel world. Throughout the month of September, the National Honey Board, a group dedicated to educating consumers about the benefits of honey, and many other apiary organizations have banded together to spread awareness about honey bees, the predicaments they are in and what people can do to help. From the hundreds of individual apiaries that will open their hives this month for visitors to discover beekeeping, to the handful of festivals that are set to showcase local honeys and apiculture workshops to a selection of farms around the world that teach apiary skills for weeks at a time, the world of apiculture has much to offer the world of travel. If you are like us and can’t get enough honey or are interested in learning about the trials of modern beekeeping and how to fight Colony Collapse Disorder, check out these top bee-friendly and sustainable travel destinations.     

Sweet Stops

The next time you plan a trip, consider stopping at a few apiaries or small honey manufacturers along the way. According to this article by Boston.com, urban bees have been sweetening the travel industry as more and more businesses around the country and parts of Europe are initiating beekeeping programs and keeping hives on their roofs. The honey from these hives is used in desserts and creative dishes in nearby restaurants and is sold to admiring visitors. If you want an experience that goes beyond honey tastings, we found a selection of apiaries and tours that provide insight into the intricate lives of bees and hive operations as well as honey tastings.

ApiRoutes

One of our most exciting discoveries is the tour company Authentic Routes and their beek-approved specialty ApiRoutes. Based in Slovenia, where beekeeping is a popular agricultural endeavor (there are over four times as many beekeepers in Slovenia as there are anywhere else in Europe or the USA), Authentic Routes is dedicated to providing real experiences for the curious and adventurous at heart. ApiRoutes offers customizable tours, ready-to-go tours that are pre-planned, and even training opportunities for individuals who are interested in all things bees. Indulge in ancient honey-based spa treatments, honey therapy and gourmet Slovenian dishes. Learn the secrets of Slovenian beekeeping that have been passed down through generations and introduce yourself to a few thousand indigenous bees. Bake traditional honey bread, make beeswax candles, visit a queen bee breeding center, and more.      

Big Island Bees

If you have several different kinds of honey on your kitchen counter and you start to salivate every time you see a new variety at the market, chances are you will love a trip to Big Island Bees in Hawaii. Delve into the secret life of the Hawaiian honey bee by taking a tour with a beekeeper and seeing first hand where the queen resides and how the hive is organized. More information about the history of beekeeping and Hawaiian honey production can be found at their on site museum and free honey tastings are available at the tasting station. Indulge your taste buds with honey made from white ohia lehua blossoms, macadamia nut blossoms or wilelaiki blossoms. The honeys are raw, unfiltered, organic, and are from one type of flower as the flowers on the big island bloom at different times of the year.

Sweedeedee

​This restaurant in Portland, Oregon takes cooking with honey seriously. With every sweet dish made with local organic honey, patrons arrive with high expectations and leave satisfied. Be sure to try the salted honey pie. 

Buzz-worthy Events

August and September are the months for major honey festivals to take place across the country including bee beard-wielding shindigs in Michigan. With the plight of the honey bee inspiring more and more people to take up the craft of beekeeping, urban areas like New York, Philadelphia, Boston, and Portland have started hosting their own festivals in honor of the honey bee. While fun and educational honey festivals are popping up all over the world, these are a few that really stepped up their game to honor the honey bee.    

NYC Honeyweek

For an entire week, businesses and urban apiaries across New York City open their doors and share their knowledge about beekeeping and honey with dozens of locals and visitors. Starting with honey making classes and cooking classes around the city, the week continues with organized tours of organic bee farms, beekeeping workshops, educational courses, and exquisite honey-inspired dinners prepared by renowned chefs. The week culminates in a final celebration called Honey Fest, where the public is encouraged to embrace its inner bee. From costume contests to parades to educational demonstrations and classes to honey-themed treats and a market overflowing with bee products and beekeeping tools, the Honey Fest is where everyone is welcome to celebrate the hard work of the honey bee.   

Philadelphia Honey Festival

Get ready for a weekend full of awesome as the Philadelphia Honey Festival offers fun activities that promote honey bee awareness. Take part in mead and honey beer tastings. Watch mead making contests and honey cookouts, and indulge in the winning results. Take tours through local apiaries and watch demonstrations of hive extractions. Sign up for a beekeeping workshop. Let your little bee dress up and participate in the Bee-Like-a-Bee parade. Come away with new appreciation for honey bees and their important connection to us and our food system.

Tour De Hives

If you like to ride your bike and you find yourself in a big city like Austin, Boston or Portland, check to see if there is a Tour de Hives event nearby. Tour de Hives are self-guided tours organized by local apiaries during a chosen week or weekend during the year, usually in late Spring or early Fall. These events keep you busy riding from one apiary to another to taste honey, learn about different beekeeping methods, and discover strategies for keeping bees healthy and thriving. These events are small but have been growing in attendance the last few years. If you want an intimate look at the world of beekeeping, this is one of the best ways to get it.  

Work Like a Bee (or a beekeeper)

Not many travelers would choose a vacation that revolves around apiculture (unless they were beekeepers perhaps), that’s why it was quite exciting to find a farm that invited travelers to stay and work with their honey bees for two weeks or longer.

Tartler Farm ( a WWOOF registered farm), in Romania is certified organic and keeps nearly 200 families of bees. Volunteers are welcome throughout the year and are trained in a variety of beekeeping skills such as equipment construction, preparing bee products, marketing, gardening and caring for queens and hives. Don’t be fooled into thinking that you’d just be chilling out with bees every day, you are asked to help the farm with its projects and that means lots of hard work, but the experience of living and working on a rural traditional bee farm in Romania is one that few come across and even fewer take advantage of.    

If you have suggestions of other sustainable and educational bee-related celebrations, please let us know at info@immersiontravelmag.com. We would love to hear about more events to investigate and showcase in the future.

August 30, 2016

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