Let's Get Away
25 Excellent Eco-Friendly Weekends.
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Recently, while cleaning out my bathroom drawers, I removed enough miniscule hotel shampoo and conditioner bottles to create my own non-biodegradable landfill. I wondered, if this is just one little stash, what about all the establishments that sweep hundreds of thousands of these per day into the trash? I quickly learned that, according to pollution-control agency p2pays.org, each hotel guestroom generates two to four pounds of waste and uses an average of 218 gallons of water per day! As a conscientious and turning-globally aware individual, I wanted no part of that. And, according to a 2003 National Geographic Traveler article, I’m in the majority; more than 58 million Americans would pay more to travel “green.”
So, I set out in search of those lodgings within a hybrid’s drive of Westchester that have declared and acted on a commitment to go easy on the earth. Though several organizations, such as IStayGreen.org, environmentallyfriendlyhotels.com, and greenhotels.com, champion and rank those hotels, inns, and B&Bs making strides to offset their carbon footprints, there are no federal guidelines for environmentally sensitive practices in the travel biz. Each state and region has its own standards. But the following list includes lodging options whose owners have shown a passion—beyond replacing light bulbs and offering once-a-week linen service—for making our globe a bit greener, without sacrificing luxury.
BY THE DEEP GREEN SEA
PHOTO COURTESY OF INN BY THE SEA
Incredible ocean views at the Inn by the Sea
Inn By the Sea
Cape Elizabeth, ME
5 hours from White Plains
Grand but not grandiose, Inn by the Sea keeps both top-notch luxury and eco-friendly practice sacrosanct. To top it off, it’s “big-pet-friendly.” Sitting by the fireplace in the bar, you’ll hear the clip-clip sound of grey- hound, lab, or retriever toenails on polished marble; guests and their charges checking in. Bath- rooms in the two-story “spa-bedrooms,” done up in travertine marble, are large enough to accommodate a family of four and two dogs at the same time, with glass showers nearly as big. Two-story windows overlook the shimmery Atlantic Ocean in all of its moods. Each room is embellished with red, cognac, and charcoal décor, pullout couch, and kitchen downstairs and luxury bed and bath upstairs.
What Makes It Green: One of Forbes’s Top Ten Green Hotels and overhauled in 2008 to embody eco-friendliness, the Inn uses bio-fuel to heat the hotel, solar panels to heat the pool, and indigenous plantings that draw a Hitchcockian number of birds. Bathrooms have dual-flush toilets and compostable bags imploring guests to take home used soap. Cleaning products sport the “green seal,” 75 percent of construction waste was recycled, elliptical machines in the spa are “man-powered,” and key cards are made of biodegradable cardboard.
Visit Green: Crescent Beach is right outside the door. “Not Just for Grownups” packages include kayaking and canoeing with Audubon guides, catch-your-own lobster (which you can cook or have cooked for you), and other narrated human-propelled tours. Downstairs, locally sourced Sea Glass Restaurant allows you to dine well while gazing out at the ocean.
Greenbacks: Rooms and two-bedroom cottage suites range from $199 to $750.
OVER THE RIVER AND THROUGH THE WOODS
Thyme in the Country
Thyme in the Country, Hudson, NY
1¾ hours from White Plains
If the array of solar panels taking up a good portion of the backyard doesn’t convince you this place is “a bit off the grid,” the happy chickens running around certainly will. With inviting antique-filled rooms and several cozy dens reminiscent of down-home ski lodges of old, Thyme in the Country is so green, every piece of bedding is natural and hypoallergenic, room amenities are organic, and milk for your morning coffee comes from the resident cow. On five acres about six miles from the “newly chic” Hudson, New York (teeming with boutiques and antique stores), this eco-friendly place won’t be a secret for long.
What Makes It Green: Owners are devoted environmentalists; from nearly self-sustained (two-thirds) power, to fresh eggs, vintage linens, sun-dried laundry, and furniture made from fallen trees, this place exemplifies green thinking.
Visit Green: Fish in the pond, swim in the salt-filtered pool, take a long hike from the backyard, then head into little Philmont, a mile away, for Parker Posey’s favorite local food in a repurposed garage, Local 111, and live music at Main Street Public House, with dartboards on walls and peanut shells at your feet.
Greenbacks: $120 to $195 (for a two-bedroom suite) includes full breakfast, tea, and homemade goodies in the afternoon.