Of the many factors driving the green industry today, eco travel is one idea that is at once both attractive and controversial. So what is eco travel and why is it a hot topic of debate?
Eco Travel is a means of travel that considers economics and ecology in the decision making process of where you’ll go, how you’ll get there, where you’ll stay . . . and even what to do once you’ve arrived! At the core of understanding eco-lifestyle is the idea of minimizing our individual and collective human “footprint”, or the impact we make by our actions upon the environment. Let’s face it, every time you fly, drive your car or use other traditional modes of transportation for travel – it may get you to where you’re going fast, but the by-product produces a negative effective on the environment.
Millions of dollars are being spent by the travel industry at large. From transportation and lodging, to service and touring organizations, the hope is to reduce or offset their business impact on the environment either because they are true eco stewards, or as a means to align themselves with a rapidly growing and highly publicized consensus that we humans “should” and desperately need to care about the one planet we all share.
Some critics are proposing an immediate and aggressive change in travel behavior, such as opting not to travel and stay at home. But for many, that is an impractical solution to a broad and complex issue. Certainly, pondering such an extreme shift can bring one to come up with a multitude of less severe options along the spectrum…many which can be applied on a personal level, and some which could be shared with family and friends to help bring a brighter awareness to the topic.
According to the Natural Marketing Institute (NMI) and Silvercliffe Media, Inc. industry report for 2005, Eco Travel represents a $24.2B industry. Many countries depend solely upon tourism for their economic survival. So where do we strike a balance? For those who aren’t quite ready for homebound adventure, yet want to approach travel responsibly – here are a few resources to help you on your sustainable travel path.
CONSIDER ECO FRIENDLY LODGING
Great hospitality is something we all hope to fin d in our travels, but when it comes to green lodging, this can be a challenging task – especially for chemically sensitive individuals or those simply looking to be more in tuned with nature. From cabins and small inns, to major hotels and resorts, eco friendly lodging has become the new essential for travel.
Lapis Lane Guest House & Cabin, Whidbey WA
Lapis Lane Guesthouse and Cabin on Whidbey Island , WA are owned and operated by Elaine and Dimitri Michaelides. The property is situated on 6-acres; it’s private but easily accessible from the Clinton Ferry Station. The lovely tree lined sanctuary has been described as a “creative refuge”, donning two secluded , separate residences and a gallery/meeting space that can serve your solo retreat, romantic getaway, creative adventure or small gathering. Lapis Lane Guesthouse is situated on the west side of Whidbey Island, allowing you to capture magnificent views of the Olympic Mountains and beautiful sunsets over the Puget Sound.
“Enjoy an evening walk through wooded paths under beautiful old Fir trees. See and hear owls and coyotes. During the day bald eagles soar overhead. In August and September pick buckets of juicy wild blackberries right outside your front door.”
Both the Guest House and Cabin feature non-toxic, chemically-free living spaces, use of 100% Cotton Linens, and a recycling system. And, you won’t have to leave the property to find healthy produce. Just a short walk up the path from the Guest House is an organic heirloom garden, lovingly tended by owner and landscape consultant Elaine Michaelides – who graciously greets her guests with a bounty of fresh veggies upon arrival. Elaine created the garden herself, which provides year-round produce for her family and guests. In addition to managing the property with her husband Dimitri, Elaine extends her earth-friendly talents across the island, providing expertise in the methods of organic heirloom gardening, landscape, and seed cultivation.
The Lapis Lane Guest House is equipped with a full kitchen and pantry for your convenience. To help ease your cares away, the Guest House also features a wonderful sky-lit steam room with Jacuzzi bath. Practice your chanting while you’re in there relaxing and gazing at the starry night sky; the high ceilings provide amazing acoustics and give a whole new meaning to “singing in the shower”. If that’s not dreamy enough for you, wrap-up in one of the plush cotton robes provided, or simply melt into one of the luxurious featherbeds for the ultimate sunlit nap or an incredible night’s sleep.
When you’re ready to explore, continue a few steps further up the path from the garden and you’ll find the working studio of Elaine’s husband, Dimitri Michaelides, a nationally renowned glass artist. Michaelides who incorporates a practice of sustainability through the use of recycled glass and energy saving methods in his work process, was one of 72 artists selected by The Smithsonian, for inclusion in the permanent White House Collection of American Crafts. The Guest House and Cabin are graced with his beautiful work, distinguished by the use of bright colors to create vessels adorned with his signature hand blown birds.
If you’re lucky, you might catch Dimitri at work. The grace, speed and patience with which he works to create his art is magical . . . an amazing sight to see!
Next time you’re in the Washington area, be sure to discover Lapis Lane Guest House. It’s a lovely, relaxing and environmentally conscious option.
For Reservation and Rate Info Contact:
Sadie Cove Wilderness Lodge, Homer, AK
The Sadie Cove Wilderness Lodge in Alaska, has been recommended as one of the best green lodges in the U.S. by a host of well-respected environmental organizations including ‘E’ The Environmental Magazine, Earthfoot, Adventure Quest, Green Hotels, and The Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies to name a few. Sadie Cove is a private property, surrounded by Kachemak Bay State Park. It is touted as, “One of North America’s Top Ten Eco Resorts” by Natural Home Magazine; and voted one of Forbes Traveler’s: “Ten Best Green Hotels in America “. This green treasure is described as a sheltered oasis, a visitors adventure – reachable only by water or a short helicopter ride.
This green treasure is described as a sheltered oasis, a visitors adventure – reachable only by water or a short helicopter ride. The lodge lies just north of Tutka Bay, midway between Seldovia and Halibut Cove, and only 10 miles by boat from Homer, Alaska, the “Bear Viewing Capital of the World and the gateway town for the Kenai Fjords National Park, Lake Clark National Park, and Katmai National Park.”
The lodges were custom hand-built in the mid-70’s from scavenged driftwood by Keith Iverson, owner/operator of Sadie Cove Lodge. In the spirit of eco stewardship, Sadie Cove is doing its part to leave a lighter footprint. The facility runs entirely off the grid, utilizing wind and hydro-electric resources for its alternative energy power. Also featured are a creek-side sauna, bath house and family entertainment lounge. Treat yourself to a professionally prepared meal by the resident chef in the lodge dining hall. For people who want to view the beautiful landscape or simply experience the serenity of this retreat, kayaking or fishing are an option. The lodge provides you with all the gear you’ll need, free of charge.
There is a current ad campaign being hosted by the State of Alaska, ” Alaska before you die!” It urges people to see Alaska now, before it’s gone to progress.
If you’ve ever dreamed of touring this beautiful region, now may be just be the time!
Be sure to add the Sadie Cove Wilderness Lodge to your list of “must experience” eco adventures.
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