National Mead Day-August 5, 2017

Mead Day

August 5, 2017

mead glasses

Today is National Mead Day! You are probably either thinking what kind of day is she writing about and why, or you may be saying, “I love Mead! I’m glad this day is getting some recognition!” Currently, and for over a year now, I’ve been working for a new, local meadery in Pittsburgh. My experience there ranges from production work, administrative work, to organizing, planning, and staffing for festivals and events, as well as setting up and working them. You may remember me writing about KingView Mead back in November, when I wrote a post about supporting small, local businesses on Small Business Saturday. KingView Mead celebrated their one year anniversary this past May! You may learn more about KingView Mead as a company, as well as our give back; first in the nation, “Mead for Bees” program. The website is: www.kingviewmead.com.

Some of you may be wondering, “What is Mead?” Mead is an alcoholic beverage made from fermented honey, water and yeast. 51% or more of the alcohol must be fermented for this honey wine to be categorized as a mead. This delicious drink has many variations such as Traditional, Melomel: by adding fruit or fruit juice, Braggot: by adding hops, Metheglin: by adding herbs or spices, Cyser: by adding apples or apple juice, or Pyment: by adding grapes or grape juice.

Are any of you getting married anytime soon? If so, you may want to include this traditional wedding drink as your beverage of choice! Mead is the original wedding drink. It was given to newlyweds way back in ancient times to drink for an entire month to promote fertility and happiness throughout their marriage. This is also how the term “honeymoon” came about.

Now, after an explanation and some of my connection to mead, I’d like to share with you a little bit of background and history on National Mead Day. In 2002, the American Homebrewers Association (AHA) observed the first Saturday in August as Mead Day! The tradition has been carried on over the years. This year, Mead Day will be observed today, on Saturday, August 5, 2017.

The AHA, started Mead Day to generate friendships of mead makers and to create and increase awareness about the oldest fermented beverage to others. It was a day which mead lovers would gather friends and family and create a batch of mead together. Others celebrate it by having competitions, sharing or comparing recipes, dressing up to enjoy the delicious beverage sometimes known as “honey wine” or just meeting up to discuss the craft of mead making. Mark your calendars for August 5th this year. Go outside, reconnect yourself back to nature, and have a drink or two of mead!

As craft beers are popping up, meads are now becoming more popular. Laws in PA have been changing and you may be seeing more of mead in beer distributors, wine & spirit stores, as well as bars and restaurants. If you’ve tried a mead before, and haven’t liked it, don’t turn it down the next time you see it somewhere. This delicious beverage can taste differently each time you try it. Remember, bees pollinate many types of flowers, therefore, the honey they make does not always have the same flavor. A few honey varieties for example could be: Wildflower, Orange Blossom, Lavender, Buckwheat, and there are many more. When these different types of honeys are used, it also can change the taste of the type of mead you are drinking!

Are you a mead lover? If so, what are some of your favorite meads to drink? I’d love to hear from you!  Raise your glass, and “Cheers” to Mead Day!!!

Pennsylvania Gardens and Arboretums

Pennsylvania Gardens and Arboretums

http://visitpa.com/articles/gardens-and-arboretums-pennsylvania

One of my hobbies is gardening.  Some days, all I need to make me feel better is to put my hands in dirt and plant something.  I love to watch what I plant grow and bloom as time moves along.  Flowers and plants just have a way of brightening up a day.  An enjoyable way to spend a day would be taking a walk through some of PA’s best gardens and arboretums.  The link above will give you a list to gardens and arboretums near you in PA.

Here are some of the ones closest to where I live.

Laurel Highlands

  • Laurel Hill State Park

This park is beautiful and peaceful.  I was here a few years ago.  We camped out (RV Style-More Glamping than Camping). It was such a wonderful time!  Thankfully, I was with an experienced camper, since I am not, haha.  It was such an enjoyable weekend!  Now, I’m in the mood for a campfire, some hobo pies, wine (yes, a glass of wine) and s’mores!!!  I’d love to go back!  The park was clean and well kept.

  • Ohiopyle State Park

Although this was not listed on the webpage, this park hits close to home.  I recently drove up here since this park is very close to where I live.  I had the windows down, and the drive to Ohiopyle was just absolutely gorgeous!  There are bike trails, restaurants and pubs, white water rafting, and so much more.  There are natural water slides.  Cucumber Falls is a must see! I recommend getting some ice cream or eating at Firefly Grill or Falls City Pub!  If you are spending some time up there, a few other attractions to visit would be Kentuck Knob, Fallingwater, and Nemacolin Woodlands.  An intimate, beautiful, peaceful cafe that I suggest would be Bittersweet Cafe. It’s so important to take in the beauty so close around us! If you live in the Pittsburgh area, take a day or weekend and take a ride south, and explore the Laurel Highlands!

Pittsburgh and its Countryside

  • Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, Inc.

I love Phipps! It is beautiful to visit in any season.  They have everything imaginable.  Butterflies, palms, orchids, herbs, children’s discovery garden, bonsai, a Japanese garden, and more!  They offer classes and have events throughout year.  One of my favorite times to visit is during the Christmas season.

  • Botanic Garden of Western PA

I have not been here yet.  It is also known as the Pittsburgh Botanic Garden.  This is on my bucket list!  I really hope to explore it before summer ends.  It looks like there are a variety of trails to walk on. It is only 20 minutes from downtown Pittsburgh.  There are adult workshops, geocaching challenges, and events.

  • Chatham Arboretum

There are many varieties of tree species. It is said to be a wonderful place to relax and meditate.  The arboretum provides an outdoor classroom for students.  The grounds are perfect for a stroll.

The Alleghenies

  • Arboretum at Penn State

While this may be a bit of a drive from Pittsburgh, I had to put it on the list.  I’m adding this to my bucket list as well!  I’ve never toured the Arboretum at Penn State, but I am a PSU grad, so anything in State College, holds a special place in my heart!  The last time I was up there visiting my cousins and celebrating my cousin, Caleigh’s 21st birthday, I noticed the arboretum.  The weekend flew by and I didn’t have time to stop by.  I love how their mission strives to achieve beauty and renewal.  A venue for art, enrichment, and discovery.  It is said they have gardens and groves, sculptures and special attractions, as well as a children’s garden.  Another bonus is that there is no admission fee and free parking!

I am looking forward to visiting some of these local gardens and arboretums this summer.  Have you been to any of these? What are some of your favorite garden and arboretums to visit?