Let's Get Away
25 Excellent Eco-Friendly Weekends.
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A Stone Wall Inn’s treehouse chic
A Stone Wall Inn
4 hours from White Plains
This gay-owned and gay- and lesbian-friendly (though for heteros, too) green-architectural gem is an amalgam of spaceship and cantilevered tree house with a bit of medieval castle on the side.
What Makes It Green: Remodeled top-to-bottom by owner/architect Robert Shannon with recycled and natural materials, solar heating, ribbed concrete, or brick walls in compact guestrooms, plush bedding, and innovative sightlines make this an alluring stay.
Visit Green: Hike in Green Mountain National Forest or swim at Emerald State Park.
Greenbacks: $125 per room per night (shared bath) includes heavy continental breakfast, afternoon snacks, and an evening treat.
Churchill House Inn can be your starting point for a hike in the Green Mountains.
4¼ hours from White Plains
One of only 40 (out of 1,365) lodging establishments in Vermont to earn the Green Hotel designation, this irresistible country B&B offers rooms large enough to accommodate three to four guests.
What Makes It Green: Use large shampoo/conditioner bottles for reuse, fluorescent lights, installed on-demand water heaters, composting, and a host of other initiatives.
Visit Green: Walk out the door to hike the 22,000-acre Green Mountains National Forest. The Inn is a partner of wonderwalks.com, lodging within a day’s walk of each other.
Greenbacks: Charming, quality, antiquey rooms start at $100 and don’t go higher than $180 (for three) even during foliage; includes a full, served country breakfast so delicious, Churchill Inn pancakes were recently featured in Gourmet magazine.
’50s kitsch at Herrington Harbour Inn
Rose Haven, MD
4 ½ hours from White Plains
Palm trees and thatched shade huts on the Chesapeake Bay? Sure, if you’re a ‘50s- kitsch, family-friendly, ecologically-forward waterfront resort. Rooms are classic “going-to-Florida with the family”: clean and basic.
What Makes It Green: Since 1978, this harbor and its marina has been scrubbed to the point where it is a bone fide wildlife habitat, home to egrets, ospreys, herons, and muskrats. The Inn uses only cornstarch-based (biodegradable) plastic ware, plastic water bottles have been replaced by reverse-osmosis filtration system, herb garden for cooking, locally sourced foods (including Maryland Blue Crab), organic baking.
Visit Green: Stake out your square foot of sand at the beach or chaise at the Olympic pool early or book a day on one of many fishing charter boats. Eat fresh-catch at on-site Mango’s Restaurant.
Greenbacks: In season rates start at the unbelievable $105 per room. A two-bedroom, six-person suite with kitchen and screen patio tops out at $1,100 per week.
Sustainable lodging at the Appalachian Mountain Club
Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC)
Pinkham Notch, NH
6 hours from White Plains
Stay in the euphorically—and aptly—named Lakes of the Clouds Hut after an invigorating hut-to-hut mountain hike, exploring alpine flowers and learning about plant habitats.
What Makes It Green: Though it would seem self-evident, the AMC aims to turn its huts and lodges into models for sustainable operations and environmental stewardship through energy and water conservation, waste reduction and recycling, green purchasing and guest education.
Visit Green: Intrepid sorts can explore the spectacular White Mountains on his or her own, but to get the most out of this unsurpassed scenery, book a guided trip. There are dozens of planned hikes, including the four day, three night “Lodge to Hut; Alpine Wildflowers,” which includes lodging in “off the grid” huts (bring a light sleeping bag), all meals, snacks, trans- portation to trailhead, instructions and guides; $350 per person.
Greenbacks: Figure on about $94 per adult, $56 per child per night in backcountry huts, which includes full hot communal breakfast, dinner, and bunk.
Golden Arrow Lakeside Resort
Lake Placid, NY
5 hours from White Plains
A cornerstone property in downtown Lake Placid, Golden Arrow is the only hotel that is situated right on Mirror Lake and praised for its clean-earth ways.
What Makes It Green: GA earned Audubon International’s Four-Leaf status—one of only a dozen hotels in the U.S. to do so—and is working towards its fifth (out of five) leaves. In June 2008, a Green roof (soil and plants) was installed, hybrid drivers garner coveted parking spaces, and a slew of green initiatives too long to mention here.
Visit Green: There are six million acres in the Adirondacks; pick a High Peak and climb it. Anyone who arrives to the Golden Arrow by foot, cross-country ski, or hybrid car gets a “Thanks for Being Green Gift Bag” stocked with lots of eco-friendly goodies.
Greenbacks: Rooms for a family of four begin at $99 for a “village-side” view.
Stamford-based travel writer Malerie Yolen-Cohen developed a great appreciation for eco-friendly travel while researching this story and does not miss those tiny shampoo bottles one bit.