Roger Aguinaldo and his nephew, Anthony Virey, suited up in beekeeping attire and showed PTN’s Brianna Strunk around their bee farm in Pleasant Mount, Wayne County.
“Once you’re in that mindset that bees are part of the greater ecosystem of our society, then you kind of look at these insects differently,” Virey said while checking on the hives.
From the hives, comes sweet and pure honey. “We have Greek friends who will put it in their baklava, we have Indian friends who will put it in their chai tea. It’s beautiful to see how it’s a conduit for culture,” Virey explained.
The bee farm is just one unique feature of the Equestrian House, a former horse farm turned vacation rental and events venue. You can learn all about the bees and agrotourism in the Northern Poconos as well as pick your own wild blueberries during the inaugural Honey & Blueberry Festival, being held every Saturday and Sunday over six weekends from June 18-July 24.
“Part of the festival’s mission is to bring the community to the property, and join together as a community,” Aguinaldo said.
Like many others from New York City, Roger’s family vacationed in the Poconos and wanted to buy a second home here. In 2018, they discovered this 100-acre property and fell in love.
“It was incredible,” he recalled. “It had a main house, which is our private home, and it had all these other buildings as well.”
Roger turned the former horse arena into a rustic events venue and converted old horse stables into modern meeting rooms. The Equestrian House also has pet-friendly vacation rentals, including a spacious log cabin plus cottages and suites. Of course, guests are always greeted with homemade honey.
“We want to share the property. We don’t want to keep it all to ourselves,” Aguinaldo explained.
The Equestrian House has a fishing pond, pool, basketball and tennis courts, nature trails, and a fruit orchard.
“We have apple trees, pear trees, and lots of other things that the bees use to pollinate,” Aguinaldo said.
From planting roots in the Poconos to then planting fruit trees, Roger never planned to start a business or become a beekeeper. But this is a special place, and he’s excited to share it with the public this summer during the Honey & Blueberry Festival.
“We found a country oasis, if you will,” he smiled.