Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Views of St. John

Beaches, ruins and good eats on the Caribbean island.

from NYT > Travel

Day Trip: All About Oysters in Greenport on Long Island

New Yorkers can take the train from Penn Station to a North Fork village to learn about oyster farming (and to taste a few, too).

from NYT > Travel

Travel Tips: Getting the Most Out of a Spa Visit

Choose the right treatment, communicate with your massage therapist and consider going on a weekday before 5 p.m.

from NYT > Travel

Carry-On: What Rob Corddry Can’t Travel Without

The former “Daily Show” correspondent who now stars in HBO’s “Ballers” has to have tubes of Aquaphor, comic books and his guitar.

from NYT > Travel

Frugal Traveler: In Kansas City, Barbecue, Beer and Bargains

Seeing different sides of a great city in America’s heartland that truly seems to be coming into its own.

from NYT > Travel

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Build raft, cook on mud stove and play 'lagori' at this weekend getaway near Bhandardara

Summer is here, and it's a great time to head to school. Confused? We're talking about The Village School, where there are no blackboards, books, or exams, and where kids can spend the weekend experiencing life in the village of Purushwadi. Organised by Heart & Soil and Grassroutes, the experience is open to kids aged three and above. They will get a chance to make a shelter, build a raft, climb a tree, swim in a river, play village games, draw water from a well, and even cook food on a chulha (earthen stove).

"These are things kids from the city aren't generally exposed to. Parents accompany the children on all activities, which serves two purposes. It ensures that the kids are under supervision, and helps parent and child to bond over nature, which is our ultimate aim," says Nehal Shah, founder of Heart & Soil.

Richa Williams of Grassroutes says that the idea came about two months after they held a weekend survival skills workshop for adults. She adds, "Nehal asked if we could replicate such an event for children, so we decided to tone the itinerary down so even kids could participate. We've tried to include activities that we would have enjoyed when we were young."

ON: April 8 and 9, 12 pm to 1.30 pm
AT: Purushwadi, near Bhandardara, Ahmednagar District.
CALL: 9819830575
COST: Rs 2,000 to Rs 2,500

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It's all about the honey! Learn about bees at a festival this weekend

Trek up Konkan Kada
Trek up Konkan Kada

It's a weekend trip with a difference. This Saturday, join responsible travel company, The Western Routes for a honey bee festival that will teach you all about the bees, how to harvest honey, their conservation and their ecological significance.

"Bhorgiri and Yelavali, two villages in Bhimashankar, have come together to spread awareness about the rearing of bees, through this festival, which is supported by the NGO Kalpavriksh and us," says Jayesh Paranjape, founder of The Western Routes. "The idea is to introduce people to traditional honey-harvesting practices, which while good for habitat conservation and revival, are not entirely sustainable."

The villages harvest the honey of Indian Hive Honey Bee and the Giant Rock Honey Bee
The villages harvest the honey of Indian Hive Honey Bee and the Giant Rock Honey Bee

The forest in and around the Bhimashankar Wildlife Sanctuary provides livelihood to the Mahadeo Koli tribes and other traditional forest dwellers. Honey is one of the major NTFP (Non Timber Forest Produce) that is harvested from the Indian Hive Honey Bee and the Giant Rock Honey Bee. Honey harvesting usually begins in mid or late March.

The bees nest in dark, hidden spots, and make a lot of noise when foraging, so harvesters, who head into the forest at dawn, follow the sound to locate the hives.

Participants get to follow villagers in the forest and witness the process of harvesting honey from beehives, interact with the women's self help group in Bhorgiri and buy jars of local honey. The two-day trip will also feature a ritual that involves doing a puja of the honey.

"This will give people a chance to interact with villagers, and learn about the problems faced by honey harvesters. We will also discuss honey bees and their importance in the region," adds Paranjape.

If the bees don't get your buzz going, you could trek to Konkan Kada for a beautiful view of the valley and sunset, and explore the Bhorgad Fort and caves. In addition, you also get to camp in tents at Yelavali and experience rural life.

Call: 9011040773
Cost: Rs 2,000 (from Mumbai); this includes accommodation in tents, all meals, guide, and entry charges for the sanctuary, Transportation has to be managed on one's own.

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