Let's Get Away
25 Excellent Eco-Friendly Weekends.
(page 5 of 9)
PHOTO BY NICHOLAS WHITMAN
Row houses transformed into The Porches Inn
The Porches inn
North Adams, MA
3 hours from White Plains
An homage to the past, with an eye towards the future, The Porches Inn is an example of witty “repurposing.” Once a dilapidated series of row houses for the millworkers who toiled across the street, each guestroom is now an upscale, charmingly quirky take on blue-collar Victoriana; what a reviewer termed “granny chic.” One-bedroom suites are spacious enough to contain a family of four—equipped with a queen bed and a pocket door that closes off a sitting room with desk, settee, and pullout couch—with touches that include pumpkin-colored wainscoting, linen curtains that look like hanging laundry, paint-by-number pictures that hide a room safe, white subway tiles, slate floor, claw-foot tubs, and mirrors made from salvaged window frames in each bathroom. Opt for breakfast delivered to your room: a coffee-filled thermos, a fresh-baked croissant, and an apple arrive in a vintage galvanized lunch-box.
What Makes It Green: The ultimate in building recycling—developers took an eyesore and created a welcoming inn, utilizing pieces of the wreckage.
PHOTO BY MAIA LANDAU
Visit Green: You need go no further than across the street to spend the day. Mass MoCa (Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, massmoca.org), housed in a restored 19th-century mill complex, exhibits massive sculptural, projection, and painted installations from the likes of Sol LeWitt throughout a labyrinth of rooms. For dinner, drive five miles to Williamstown, where Mezze Bistro serves Cricket Creek Farm mac-and-cheese, savory trout amandine, and other luscious farm-to-table food in a casual setting.
Greenbacks: One-bedroom suite with “heavy continental breakfast,” large fitness center, Gilchrist & Soames amenities, Frette linens: $180 to $205. Other rooms and suites: $130 to $505.
PHOTO BY EDWARD JACOBY
The luxe Lenox lobby
Whenever I travel to Boston, I can’t decide which hotel I like more, so I trade off. Both are winning awards for energy and water conservation and waste control. All this would mean nothing if it weren’t for the über-attentive staff at each hotel. At the Lenox, high-ceiling European-lush rooms dressed in gold, burgundy, sand, and turquoise hues; Italian marble baths; and brass chandeliers await. Housed in the former Boston Police Headquarters, retro Jury’s draws a raucous nightlife crowd to its downstairs Stanhope Grille. Walk up stairs underlit with blue neon to a tranquil backlit bar. Rooms come with staple luxury appointments: marble baths and down bedding in posh neutral colors.
What Makes Them Green: The Lenox Hotel, owned by Saunders Hotel Group, took on the environmental mantle 20 years ago and has since garnered The President’s Environmental and Conservation Challenge Gold Medal, Travel Industry Association of America Excellence in Environmental Tourism, Condé Nast Traveler’s Special Recognition Eco-Tourism Award, and a host of other tributes. Jury’s, a relative newcomer from Ireland, has also taken on earth-friendly practices reducing water and energy consumption, educating staff, recycling bins in the rooms, and increasing sustainable food in its restaurant.
Visit Green: Both hotels are within a block of one of the best strolling and (window) shopping lanes in the US: Newbury Street. Or for something completely different, book a three-hour Urban Kayaking and Barbeque tour on the Charles River : $63 per person, Friday evenings beginning May 8th.
Greenbacks: Lenox, $315 to $1995; Jury’s, $325 to $1265. Both run specials that bring the price down to $215.