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
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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.
2 hours from White Plains
Don’t let the nondescript exterior or pedestrian common areas deter you; guestrooms and breakfast shine in this six-room B&B a mile from Windham Ski Mountain. Congenial mother/daughter team Josephine and Lea Moffett (former Mount Vernon residents) have transformed a plain old roadhouse into foodie heaven, with rooms that are playfully suave. The Champagne Room ($329)—done up in celery green—is flooded with light, framed by a corner Jacuzzi and two satin sea foam green chairs, hot-pink accents for “pop,” down-filled king-size bed, fresh flowers, and enclosed patio with two rocking chairs over- looking the hills. Josephine, a college professor, and Lea, an attorney, are passionate foodies who draw like-minded folks. Every morning, Lea posts ingredients and their farm sources used in the making of a toothsome three-course breakfast that might well include apricot muffins with homemade apricot jam, red and yellow raspberry parfait, and pumpkin pancakes.
What Makes It Green: Straight-from-the-farm breakfasts, organic amenities, paperless receipts, energy-efficient light bulbs.
Visit Green: Take advantage of the area’s landscape and bounti- ful farms on a “Catskill Maison B&B Signature Eco-Friendly Go Local Tour.” Josephine and Lea will send you off with a hiking- (Pratt Rock, Kaaterskill Falls, Grand Gorge), picnicking-, and farm-to-farm- map. Afterwards, lift a pint or take home a 64-ounce growler of Cave Mountain craft ale from the Cave Mountain Brewery downtown.
Greenbacks: Rooms rates include an exceptional three-course breakfast on china, weekend- evening wine and cheese, afternoon fresh-baked snacks, teas, and coffees, Wi-Fi, flat- screen TVs: $189 to $329.
5 hours from White Plains
For those who romanticize about stumbling on a wisteria-covered cottage in the woods, Sandy Grabbe and Sven Rudstrom’s adorable blue-doored gray weathered Cape Cod B&B will fulfill your Thoreau-esque fantasies. Set between the ocean and the bay, and surrounded by various-sized kettle ponds, this is the most hidden gem of the group. Up a shipboard-steep set of stairs, you’ll find the Liberty Coin Suite, named for the 1798 coin Sven found during renovation, which features two bedrooms with a shared bath separated by a center-flue fireplace chimney. A separate cottage sports the aforementioned wisteria-
covered exterior, a full kitchen with dining nook, queen bedroom with cathedral ceiling, a twin bedroom, a deck just off a glorious garden, and an enclosed patio. All beds are topped with Nature’s Rest mattresses, there’s an outdoor shower, and paintings by local artists festoon the walls.
What Makes It Green: Towels and sheets are eco-friendly, air-dried in summer. Green cleaning products and Sandy’s favorite natural amenities are in the rooms, and there are energy-
efficient lights and VOC-free paint. Sven used found objects and recycled wood and bricks for building remodeling.
Visit Green: If Wellfleet seems vaguely familiar, it’s because Edward Hopper painted here and Henry David Thoreau penned some journals nearby. Besides the vast beach of the National Seashore, the Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary supplies sustenance for tens of thousands of birds on a migratory route. The 213-seat Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater brings professional presentations to this end of the Cape. Excellent shops and restaurants are a walk away; try the snappy, casual Wicked Oyster for dinner and Left Bank Gallery to start or complete an art collection of your own.
Greenbacks: Rooms with breakfast, rides to town and beach, and wine and cheese: $130 to $175 in the main house. Two-bedroom cottage (for a family of three): $1,300 to $1,800 per week.
Alfresco dining at the Springs Bistro in the Grand Cascades Lodge
Grand Cascades Lodge
1 hour from White Plains
With its soaring wood-and-stone lobby, this hotel would fit comfortably in one of our western National Parks.
What Makes It Green: The property recently partnered with Sustainable Travel International (STI) to become the first resort- development company to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through an innovative program, MyClimate, a carbon-offset organization. The resort’s Ballyowen Golf Club is designated as a “Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary,” rain and treated septic water is used to water the golf course and landscaping, hotel keys are biodegradable, and recycling, locally grown food, and energy-efficient light bulbs are featured.
Visit Green: Play golf on one or more of seven award-winning golf courses. Golf package includes 18 holes, unlimited driving range, bag storage, use of spa facilities and terrarium-like “Biosphere” indoor pool, and a bedroom that features a Tempur-Pedic mattress, flat-screen TV, and other luxe amenities starting at $269 per night per couple.
Greenbacks: $269 to $684 per night per room.
PHOTO BY KRISTIAN SEPTIMIUS KROGH
The updated look of the Red Lion Inn
Red Lion Inn
2 hours from White Plains
First opened in 1773 as a rough-and-tumble stagecoach stop, then evolving into a way-station for prosperous sojourners, the Red Lion Inn has had years of environmentally sensitive practice; winning the Good Earthkeeping Award bestowed by the Massachusetts Lodging Association in 2008. Current owner Nancy Fitzpatrick adheres to the principles of sustainability by buying and supporting local businesses, and has breathed fresh, plush life into formerly dated rooms. If original sloping floors could talk, they’d tell of the tens of thousands of guests who have wandered down these maze-like hallways; filled with enough art, including pieces by hometown hero Norman Rockwell, to make historians and museum-goers giddy.
What Makes It Green: Energy-efficient heating and cooling systems, new insulated windows retrofitted into original 19th- century frames, on-premises storm-water filtration system, organic nontoxic cleaning products, restaurant spent $400,000 on local foods in 2008, used cooking oil powers local farmers’ trucks, duvet covers crafted from Inn’s recycled sheets, and a slew of other green practices. (The staff is now attempting to figure out how to harness laundry heat to warm the pool.)
Visit Green: Guests earn a $20 gift card if they arrive in a hybrid vehicle or by public transportation. Though a bit of an oxymoron, the Inn runs “Roaring Ramble”—a farm-to-table motorcycle tour in season, justified by the assertion that road hogs use less gas than even hybrid cars.
Greenbacks: $140 (for shared bathroom) to $400.
Photo by Gershon Saxe
(at Robinson’s Farm)
4 hours from White Plains
It will forever be known as the “Robinson’s place,” but new owners Tory and Barry Milstone reopened this old farmhouse as a B&B in January 2008. Five just-redone guestrooms dressed in lots of quilts, rag rugs, pen-and-ink drawings, Turkish towels, and luxurious bedding are eclectically tasteful. A rinse beneath the rain showerhead in the dark slate tile shower in Stan’s Room transports you to a hidden waterfall. Behind the house, an elaborate four-story 1915 red barn (purported to be the tallest barn in Vermont), formerly housing cows and lots of hay, now accommodates 14 chickens—“the girls.” You can see them muttering and laying during a personal tour of the property. I’d venture to say that this is the only B&B in the world with an antique carousel horse in the dining room where a sumptuous breakfast, including backyard ingredients such as syrup tapped from property trees, produce from the kitchen garden, eggs from happy hens, and an occasional trout from the river across the street, is served.
Photo by Gershon Saxe
What Makes It Green: The Milstones, who routinely host mega-pot-luck parties and “movie nights” with films projected onto the side of their barn, commission homemade organic body products (in refillable pump bottles). Kitchen waste is fed to the chickens, napkins are cloth, cleaning products are all-natural, fluorescent lights are on timers, and food comes from the backyard or “just down the street.”
Visit Green: The Farmhouse is closer to Bridgewater (less than a mile) than Woodstock, so walk to the renovated 1814 mill where artisans like world-famous potter Miranda Thomas (whose bunny, bird, and floral motifs have won over U.N. dignitaries and heads of state) and her husband, furniture-maker Charles Shackelton, preside over busy workshops. “Simon enticed us to move here,” said Thomas, referring to down-the-street neighbor, glassmaker Simon Pierce, whose own workshop is 10 miles away in Quechee. Inspired by the best, you can DIY by signing up for Tory’s Knitting Weekend: $795 includes two nights’ lodging, Saturday lunch and dinner, snacks, expert instruction, and a goodie bag stocked with yarn, patterns, knitting amenities, and everything you’ll need to complete a project.
Greenbacks: Bed, breakfast, and daily snacks: $125 to $210.
RECLAIMING THE CITY
70 Park Avenue Hotel
New York, NY
The Kimpton Hotel Group is serious about saving the earth. Over the past few years, its ecological programs worldwide eliminated 974 bathtubs full of toxic cleaners from the water supply, recycled 1.25 Olympic-sized swimming pools worth of cardboard, preserved more than 18 football fields of sustainable agriculture, and recycled more than 52,000 coat hangers, preventing the use of more than 1.8 tons of steel and metals.
The Muse splashed down in that honky-tonk known as the theater district. A remodeled lobby and Nios restaurant and wine bar opened in April, and the art-deco rooms in shades of white, black, and gray lend a serene and sophisticated air to the tourist cacophony right outside the door.
70 Park, within view of Grand Central Station, is on that dignified boulevard preferred by Eva Gabor in Green Acres. Travertine floors and walls in the lobby, with muted earth tones in each small but elegant room, this hotel is provenance of a gentler age.
What Makes Them Green: Kimpton has its own “EarthCare” practices and standards that include low-flow water systems, energy-efficient lighting, non-toxic cleaning products, reusable mugs, organic foods and beverages, in-room recycling, and some of their hotels donate used soaps and amenities to charities along with a host of other initiatives.
Visit Green: Take Metro-North to Grand Central Terminal; both properties are a short walk away.
Greenbacks: Rooms in both hotels run $279 to $499 per night.
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.
The Lodge at Woodloch is designed to bring the outdoors in.
The Lodge at Woodloch
2 hours from White Plains
Voted one of the “Top 10 most luxurious spas in the U.S.” by Forbes, The Lodge has turned off the lights. Okay, just outside illumination—but it shows the lengths this retreat will go to minimize its carbon footprint. Built to bring the outside in, with stone walls, wood-beamed ceilings, and high, cathedral windows, the common areas slow your breath and heart even before you learn your first mantra.
What Makes It Green: The Lodge launders linens every other day, instituted an expensive recycling program not otherwise offered in Pennsylvania (residents have to pay to recycle), hosts a “Feng Shui Day” when employees bring unwanted things to share or trade with others, invites “Green” presenters as part of its guest seminar program, and has dishes made with locally grown ingredients on the menu.
Visit Green: Relax and slow down, Grasshopper. This is a spa resort.
Greenbacks: Starting at $575 per person per night for two, accomodations include three gourmet meals per day plus nonalcoholic beverages, $120 towards spa services, your own Personal Spa Concierge to design your program, innovative fitness and cooking classes, use of extensive facilities, and resort activities.
PHOTO BY JIM SMITH
Views from the summit at the Mohonk Mountain House
Mohonk Mountain House
1 hour 10 minutes from White Plains
Arriving at Mohonk Mountain House is like coming upon a Victorian castle in Alpine Lake country; the enormous timber lodge in its mountain setting just screams “FRESH AIR.” So it is no surprise that this tried-and-true Catskills respite is also on the forefront of environmental thinking.
What Makes It Green: It has geothermal heating and cooling in the spa, “green roof” garden terrace, 600 tons of Shawangunk rock used to construct spa wing, energy-efficient lightbulbs, composting kitchen program used as fertilizer in gardens and golf course, recycling, eco-friendly wastewater treatment, 2,200 acres of protected land, and many more initiatives.
Visit Green: The whole point of a Mohonk vacation is to stay on property. Use foot, arm, and hoof power to keep those CO2 emissions from mucking up the air. Hop the boulders on the Lemon Squeeze trail. Rent a rowboat on the lake. Opt for a nice horseback ride.
Greenbacks: $510 to $2,500 for two per night includes three meals, afternoon tea, and dozens of outdoor sports, including golf, swimming, boating, guided hikes.
ECO-friendly, ECO-logical, and ECO-nomical
Escapes that increase your karma without depleating your bank account.
Irving House at Harvard
3 1/4 hours from White Plains
Part dorm, part boarding house, my tiny, twin bed, shared bathroom—right across from the Harvard campus—was a mere $80.
What Makes It Green: Manager Rachel Solem runs a green ship; breakfast (included) is provided on washable plates, there’s a recycling bin and a compost bin. Packaging is kept to a minimum. And, being fluent in environmental lingo, she recommends you park your car (ok, yes, near Harvard Yard) free in the guesthouse lot— another pleasant surprise in the parking hell of Boston—and walk everywhere.
Visit Green: Amble over to the Harvard Natural History Museum and peruse the 100-year-old exhibit of painstakingly created, unbelievably realistic glass flora and fauna. For dinner, join the crowd around faux-zebra-skin banquettes at Upstairs on the Square, where the mood is theatrical but the locally sourced food is ingeniously lip smacking.
Greenbacks: $65 to $395.
The three-centuries-old Dan’l Webster Inn and Spa
The Dan’l Webster Inn and Spa
4 hours from White Plains
The 300-year-old Colonial B&B and spa is the perfect gateway to Cape Cod; you save yourself all of the gas it would take to sit in the bumper-to-bumper traffic all the way to Provincetown.
What Makes It Green: The “Green Palate” menu in the inn’s conservatory sources healthy, locally grown, organic goodies for their herb- and kelp-seared salmon and alkali stir-fry. To make the rest of your body feel as good as your stomach, there’s no better place than the on-site Beach Plum Spa. Beach plums are native to Cape Cod and contain a host of antioxidants and vitamins, and the local fruit is used in the spa’s signature treatments.
Visit Green: Enjoy the beautiful greenery—and pinkery, and yellowry—by strolling through the flowers of the Sandwich Heritage Museum and Gardens. On the way home, stop by Dexter’s Grist Mill, where fresh-milled cornmeal—yes, the mill still works—costs $3.50 for two pounds.
Greenbacks: Rooms start at $159 off-season.
PHOTO BY EDWARD JACOBY
Premiere Hotel’s green guestrooms use energy-efficient lightbulbs.
New Haven, CT
1 hour from White Plains
Yale-bound or not, New Haven is an exciting, culturally rich city to explore, and the Premiere Hotel by the water is a perfect, low-cost base.
What Makes It Green: Energy-efficient lightbulbs, recycling, and low-flow toilets are just the beginning, with new initiatives coming on board every week.
Visit Green: The “Green Package” includes maps to farmers’ markers, a healthy snack, and information about local walking tours and sailing excursions on the nearby Amistad and Schooner Quinnipiac.
Greenbacks: $149 per room, per night gets you a large newly renovated space for a family of four with pillow-top bed, pull-out couch, kitchen, and granite-counter bathrooms, and hot breakfast (and light dinner Monday to Thursday) for all.
The Greenporter’s refurbished—motel style
2 1/2 hours from White Plains
Formerly a standard-issue motel, the Greenporter has been reenergized, so to speak, with modern furniture and clean lines in each room.
What Makes it Green: From lightbulbs to appliances to green cleaning products, recycling and beyond (i.e., using leftover melted ice to water an abundance of air-cleaning indoor plants).
Visit Green: Take a tour of local vineyards, and eat at on-site restaurant La Cuvée, which serves these North Fork wines and produce from nearby farms.
Greenbacks: Off-season rates begin at $99 per room per night, and even in season, when other Long Island shore hotels jack up prices to dizzying heights, The Greenporter is running a $169 midweek family special which includes rollaways in room and continental breakfast for all.
The Berry Manor Inn is one of four Historic Inns of Rockland.
6 ½ hour drive from White Plains
Yes, it’s rather far, but this lodging group is the first known B&B association in New England dedicated to sustainable eco- tourism with a list of initiatives too long to mention here.
Visit Green: Indulge in the Land and Sea Eco-Adventure—four days on a Windjammer Cruise including all meals, and then three nights in one of the historic and ultra-luxurious Rockland Inns, where you’ll receive gourmet breakfast each morning, a lobster dinner, chocolates, a cookbook, and an Energy Star compact fluorescent bulb along with a label declaring that if each American changed just one bulb, it would prevent 400 pounds of greenhouse emissions from entering our atmosphere. Adventure Package for the week starts at $825 per person double occupancy.
Greenbacks: Contemporary to traditional rooms start at $110 off-season and don’t go much higher than $200 in summer.
Family-style dining at Liberty Hill Farm
Liberty Hill Farm
4½ hours from White Plains
Owner Beth Kennett’s grandparents used to say, “Make it do. Wear it out. Use it up, or do without,” a way of life Kennett now provides for her guests.
What Makes It Green: The typical lights, appliances, cleaners, compost, along with the Yankee ingenuity that concocted a system to extract heat from milk as it comes from cows (it is a working dairy farm) using it to warm water for calves to drink.
Visit Green: Watch cows being milked, swim in the river, buy salad bowls from Vermont Wood and yarn and blankets from Beth’s friend’s sheep neighbors.
Greenbacks: $90 per person per night ($50 for kids under 12), includes room and a huge farm breakfast and dinner.
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.