Thursday, February 28, 2008

Bundled in bamboo

Screaming children and nosy neighbors become a lesser in-flight annoyance when you're snuggled beneath a bamboo blanket, eye-mask in place.

This set, offered by pb travel, the pop-infused Web store devoted to travel necessities (and not-so-necessary buys, too) is an industry-first. Retailing for $39.99, the blanket and mask are made from 100 percent eco-friendly bamboo pulp, grown without the use of pesticides or fertilizer. I haven't seen this particular set in person, but can atest to the comfy quality of most all bamboo fabrics - heavenly soft indeed - and ideal for floating among the clouds.

Choose from green tea or raspberry pink at http://www.pb-travel.com/.

Better business travel

Business travel is a fact of life. Not always a convenient, favored fact, but a fact still. To make the most of your not-so-9-to-5 travels, Rearden recently launched the "Total Green Travel Experience" - an online, corporate booking tool loaded with eco-friendly features.

Bribe your boss and you could be privy to the service's green bonuses, including an intelligent Carbon Calculator, hybrid car services and web/audio conferencing. Need some statistics to prove your point to the Man? In recent months, 36 percent of surveyed respondents said they reduced company travel as a measure for supporting sustainability. Nearly half indicated a feeling of guilt due to their traditional travel choices. 'Nuff said.

View a demo @ http://www.reardencommerce.com/.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Check it out: Organic Spa Magazine

What's more eco-friendly than a paper-less publication? Not too much, which is why I'm a big fan of the online, but browsable Organic Spa Magazine. While you can buy the magazine in stores, the digital issue is available right on their site. Why waste if you don't have to?

In the current issue (published quarterly), readers will find features on green getaways, San Francisco's Organic Trail, and Greenland, among loads of other deliciously descriptive tidbits.

B&B Alert: Chez Sven, Massachusetts

Searching for a natural, chem-free B&B at which to lay your head? Look no further than Wellfleet, Massachusetts’s Chez Sven Bed and Breakfast, an allergy-free retreat that takes travelers back to basics. Rent out the Seagull Cottage (shown above) or a simple suite and spend some lazy days kicking back and enjoying Massachusett's fresh breezes.

The property, operated by Sven and Sandy, uses non-toxic green detergents, energy efficient washers and line-drys their sheets and towels. Hepa filters maintain air quality and, of course, no pets or smoking are allowed on the premisis.

Rise and shine early, you won’t want to miss the breakfast spread that includes organic fruits, homemade organic yogurt and fresh baked breads. Hungry yet? Me too.

Rates start at $150.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Golden Gate dreams at new Cavallo Point

This May, San Francisco's gonna take on a brighter shade of green with the introduction of Cavallo Point: The Lodge at the Golden Gate. Perched upon the city's "urban edge" and giving way to the untamed wildlands along the coastline, Cavallo Point will serve as a base camp from which to explore the Golden Gate National Parks - whose borders it lies within. The first national park lodge in San Francisco Bay, the lodge will serve as the launch home to Institute at the Golden Gate, an eco nonprofit dedicated to the Golden Gate National Parks conservancy.

Although only five miles from San Francisco's Marina district and 21 miles from San Francisco International Airport, this is terrain meant for outdoor discovery and intense exploration. Cavallo Point guests can hike, bike, fish, tour and taste their way across San Francisco Bay and more than 80,000 acres of surrounding open space, including one of America's largest national parks in an urban area. The world-class attractions of San Francisco, Marin, Berkeley, and the fabled wine country of Napa and Sonoma are all a short distance away.

Historically-inclined travelers can book one of the lodge's 68 restored, original rooms that once served as officer's quarters. For the rest, there will be 74 new suites and rooms offering sprawling views of none other than the Golden Gate Bridge

While U.S. Green Building Council LEED certification is pending. green building elements at Cavallo Point include state-of-the-art unisolar panels fully integrated into metal roofing, low VOC glues, paints and carpets, and green building materials (denim insulation, extensive use of bamboo and recycled woods, and low-E glass, for example). Cavallo Point's extensive open spaces will be restored with more than 30,000 native plants raised from seeds collected from the adjacent parklands.

For the nitty-gritty, visit http://www.cavallopoint.com/.
Room and program reservations are available by calling (415) 339-4700.

More green on the Worldwide Web

Green Guide to Paris (The Traveler's Notebook)

A Comedian Goes Green but Won't Go Off Color (NY Times)

Virgin Atlantic Biofuel - Green Breakthrough or Greenwash? (Wired)

French City Mysteriously Appears in Arabian Desert (Green Guide - Ecopolitan)

Ethanol Plant Makes "Green Tourism" List (Greenfield)

Hotels Take LEED on Green Building (Peter Greenberg)

Monday, February 25, 2008

A serious hydration fix

I've traveled near, far and across oceans. Fittingly, the only constant throughout all of my globetrotting is my lovely Sigg bottle. Aluminum and eco-friendly (with switchable caps, too!), it's a traveler's BFF. In fact, I'd love to own a bevy to choose from, but honestly, the bottles are a bit pricey - coming in around $20 a pop. That's why, when I receieved the latest Pottery Barn update, I was thrilled to see these aluminum bottles on sale. Just as pretty, but more reasonably priced, they're great for home, work, play and travel.

$10 at PotteryBarn.com.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Eco elegance at the Fairmont

Oftentimes, luxury and eco-conscience battle at opposite ends of the travel spectrum. Not so anymore, claims Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, who recently rolled out a plethora of green packages at select destinations for 2008. The offers, which honor Fairmont's Green Partnership Program, attempt to lure guests with a promise of luxe living that they can feel good about.

Here, a sampling of what's in store:

Sip on a bottle of organic wine and peruse the "Green Guide to San Francisco" at The Fairmont San Francisco. Hybrids park free here and guests get the opportunity to experience the signature "Lexus Hybrid Living Suite" - designed especially for the eco-savvy traveler.
Rates start at $869 per night.

At the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa travelers can book the "Luxury of Green" package that includes a two-day hybrid rental, organic massage treatments and regionally-inspired "Farm Trail" dinner for two.
Rates start at $1,200 per night.

Go Green, Stay Green at Victoria's Fairmont Express with Venturi Shultz's local, organic wine, local, organic cheese and space aboard a three-hour Eco Whales and Wildlife Tour. On top, Fairmont will donate $25 to The Vancouver Island Marmot Recovery Foundation.
Rates start at $479 CDN per night.

In Bermuda, the Fairmont Southampton allows guests to explore with an eco-friendly walking adventure. Also on the itinerary is a terrrace-served, organic breakfast for two, a cedar-tree-planting in your name and a Bermuda Explorer's Welcome Pack chock-full of all you'll need for a day in the wild.
Rates start at $392 per night.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Natural packables


I don't like the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) all that much. It's almost as if they strive to make my life difficult with carry-on regulations like no "liquids or gels" in containers larger than three ounces. (Who decided three ounces was the cut off?) And if you do bring tiny containers of travel essentials (think hairspray, face wash, lotion...) you've got to find a quart-size Ziplock to seal them up in -- and hope that they fit. And then you've gotta pack them so you can easily grab them to put through the X-Ray machine seperately. Honestly, just talking about it all makes me tired and cranky.

And don't even get me started on laptops...

To make life easier on all of us - and keep things au-natural, I've found a few "travel kits" that fit the bill; well, they're all under three ounces and smell good. Take a look. You can purchase them all at drugstore.com/beauty.com; plus, if you're a first time buyer you'll get free shipping on a purchase over $25. (The drugstore thing has never been so convenient.)

Alba's Hawaiian Travel Kit
(above) - A simple set that includes the best basics: organic body wash, moisturizer, face wash, and sunscreen. Sweet scents are a trademark with Alba and these ample sizes mean you won't run dry before heading home. ($12) Practicality rating: A

Juice Organics-to-Go Kit - A five-piece kit for healthy skin care, this regimen includes a milk cleanser, face mist, exfoliator, antioxidant serum and moisturizer. Mine came with a bamboo washcloth bonus that's super soft and ideal for swapping with scratchy hotel towels. ($29) Practicality rating: B+



Korres' "Best of Korres" Kit - An intro to the naturally-focused line, this sampling offers a body butter (in yummy guava scent), two shower gels (basil lemon scent and vanilla cinnamon), as well as a few tiny, tiny samples of moisturizer, eye cream and cooling gel. ($25) Practicality rating: B+


For the bambino, check out Little Twig's Organic Travel Basics Kit ($17) that comes with a fun "scrubby bug bath mitt", baby wash, body milk, powder and diaper cream for sensitive skin. It's adorable and would make a cute gift for a new travel mama.


More green on the Worldwide Web

Going Green on the Cheap (Washington Post)

The Eco Traveler Tool Kit (Plenty)

Next Step for Green: Friendly Skies? (ABC News)

Green Vacations & Destinations (CBS News)

2008 To See More and More Green Covnentions (TCBMICE)

Boston's Seaport Hotel Now Offers Green Weddings (Hotel Chatter)

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Beach bum weddings

Flashing a dazzling diamond, are you? Once the engagement ring is slipped on the finger, there's no time to waste! And while a backyard wedding is comfy and sweet, an exotic destination wedding is truly unforgettable - for you and your guests.

For the green at heart, Bermuda beckons. Here, 9 Beaches resort offers up a tempting wedding package that's sure to make your celebration sizzle. Included in the eco-theme round-up are:

  • 6 Bottles of organic champagne
  • 3- or 4-tiered organic wedding cake
  • Organic boutonniere
  • Organic bouquet
  • Organic floral cake topper
  • Eco-centerpiece: simple but elegant centerpiece of carefully gathered 9 Beaches sand with naturally harvested seashells and a clean burning pillar candle set in a clear cylinder vase.

For all the details on this luxe escape and their wedding capabilities, visit 9Beaches.com.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Back to basics in Pennsylvania

Green travel - at its roots - is exploration of your natural surroundings. In fact, it's not quite travel at all (in the sense that we know it.) Whether you're on a bike or backpacking, the greenest form of expedition is the one in your own backyard.

In honor of those less exotic locals, I urge you to check out all that nature has to offer you close to home.

One great example of midwest greenery was the recent honor by the Society of American Travel Writers of the Pennyslvania Wilds. Awarded for their conservation and preservation efforts, the Pennsylvania Wilds consist of 29 state parks and 1.5 million acres of state forest and game lands, is home to the Allegheny National Forest and Pine Creek Gorge, the largest elk herd in the NE U.S.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Outside magazine's green issue on stands

Outside magazine is one of my favorite adventure travel reads. Packed with solid advice and great gear, the publication is a go-to for any outdoor enthusiast. In March's "green issue", Outside highlights some of the newest eco retreats out there while sifting through the ever-present greenwash - and includes write-ups on drool worthy resorts like Arenas del Mar Beach & Nature Resort and Machaca Hill Lodge.

The glossy mag is also doing its own part to help save the environment by ceasing to fill subscriber's issues with those ultra-annoying subsciption cards. Buy your copy on the newstand though, and you'll still be plagued by the inserts. To read the complete resort reviews, you'll have to pick up the issue, so be sure to recycle the 'zine - inserts included!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Will you drive efficiently in 2008?

Today, The Daily Green announced their 10 Most Fuel Effecient Vehicles for 2008. A bevy of beauties, the collection includes staples like the Toyota Prius, as well as newer models like the Honda Fit. I'm a bit surprised that the smart car didn't make the cut - boasting city mileage of 33/40 mileage (according to more strict 2008 EPA guidelines) with its tiny 3-cyclinder.

Here's who made the list:

1. Toyota Prius Hybrid
2. Honda Civic Hybrid
3. Nissan Altima Hybrid
4. Ford Escape Hybrid
5. Mazda Tribute Hybrid
6. Mecury Mariner Hybrid
7. Honda Camry Hybrid
8. Toyota Yaris
9. Toyota Carolla
10. Honda Fit

If you're scoping out a new set of wheels for all of your 2008 travels, these are your most gas-savvy bets. Want a hybrid but can't swallow the cost? Many corporations are now offering to help eco-employees by helping with the bill. Google, for instance, pays $1000 toward the purchase of a hybrid. A step in the right direction? I think so.

Front seat fabric goes chic














How can a reclaimed bag be so pretty? When it's by Kim White, and features vintage automotive fabrics like this subtle print snagged from a 1974 Plymouth Fury. Created for travel with a sturdy build, metal feet and interior organizer, this lovely tote will get you from point A to point B in sustainable style.

The asking price isn't cheap at $380, but includes tax, shipping and insurance.

So where does Kim dig up these fabulous fabrics? She's unearthed an entire warehouse of never-used textiles intended for automotive fabric - and became the sole owner of what may be the last existing stock in the U.S. Of course, all of her creations are made in the U.S.A. Click here to learn more.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Friday, February 15, 2008

Spring Fling @ W Hotels

Looking for a reason to hole up in a comfy hotel room? Order room service? Wrap yourself in high-thread count sheets? I've got one for you - the W Spring Fling.

Celebrate warm weather (really? where?) at worldwide W properties by booking this exclusive package. The hotelier has partnered with Trees for the Future and has commited to planting 100 trees for every package booked. (In 2007, 74,700 trees were planted thanks to the package.) You'll be privy to two smooth cocktails upon arrival, as well as a text-sprouting grow bean that bears W's "welcome."

But let's be honest. Really, you'll be lapping the luxury at W and loving every minute of it - without a guilty conscience.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Travel + Wine = _______

You can fill in the blank yourself, thanks to the California Travel and Tourism Commision's ongoing contest. Enter it and you could win a trip to the coast - and special perks like a a personal tour of T&D Willey Farms, experts in organic food and local processing, by Slow Food Madera expert Christopher Mariscotti.

Entry requires first and last name, e-mail and zip code. Easy!

Monday, February 11, 2008

A useful, new tool

I'm always eager to share details when it comes to the latest web gear. That's why you're reading this now. Just the other day I stumbled across Green Map, a website promoting "directions to a sustainable future." On it, visitors can find community movements active in 50 countries, read their blogs and more.

Click on "Ecotourism" in Green Map's navigation and you'll find maps like: Yokohama Hamachari Bike Map, Stockholm Green Map, and Malama Kauai Green Map. Wherever you're headed, this site is one that will help. Don't see your hometown or favorite destination listed? Create a map yourself!

Travelers are consistently greener

Social consciousness was hot in 2007 and the trend isn't slowing down, according to a recent Travelocity poll. Nearly 40 percent of respondents plan to dedicate a portion of this year's vacations to volunteering - and nearly 80 percent are willing to spend more on an eco-friendly destination or business.
And to go green, clarifies Travelocity, doesn't mean spending all your funds - or taking off a week of work. “Choosing to add on one day of volunteering to your vacation or doing a bit of research to find an eco-friendly resort are simple things socially conscious travelers can do,” says Genevieve Shaw Brown, Travelocity's senior editor.

A few additional stats:
  • Of the nearly 80 percent willing to spend more money on an eco-friendly destination or business, responses ranged from $25 to more than $200 more.


  • Respondents are nearly as likely to volunteer stateside as abroad.


  • In addition to traditional volunteer vacations, Travelocity recently began offering “bite-size,” or one-day volunteer opportunities. These are offered in New Orleans in conjunction with Hands on New Orleans and in the San Francisco Bay Area in conjunction with Earthwatch. Volunteers in San Francisco spend the day monitoring the Mammals of Monterey Bay to ensure populations of sea otters, humpback whales, and dolphins are stable. Meanwhile, volunteers in New Orleans can assist in post-Katrina recovery by working at a food bank, an animal shelter, or renovating schools.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

More green on the Worldwide Web

Las Vegas Goes Green (Peter Greenberg Worldwide)

A green holiday in Corfu: Mount Pantocrator (Venere Travel Blog)

Six Degrees Could Change the World (The Green Guide)

Green Guide to Stokholm (The Traveler's Notebook)

NYC Green Car Launches Luxury Service (BusinessWire)

Tips for earth-friendly travel

The tail of winter, in all its dreary glory, has got me dreaming of a beachside getaway. If you're doing the same, you'll want to consider these eco-friendly travel tips, wherever you happen to roam...

  • Before leaving for your trip, remember to conserve at home. Turn off the lights, computers and appliances that will not be in use and make sure to tightly turn off all faucets to prevent waste of water.

  • Offset the carbon dioxide emissions created by your travel by investing in a carbon-reducing program that funds renewable energy, energy efficiency or reforestation projects.

  • For more information about some of the programs available, visit http://www.carbonfund.org/ , http://www.sustainabletravelinternational.org/ , or http://www.climatecare.org/.

  • When you have reached your destination, explore your options for environmentally responsible local transportation. Look for opportunities to use public transit like buses or trains, rent a bicycle or even walk.

  • If you need to rent a car, consider an environmentally-friendly compact or hybrid vehicle. Choose the smallest vehicle that can accommodate you as they are more fuel efficient.

  • Research the availability of green hotels or ecolodges that have environmental sustainability as part of their mission. One website that can be of assistance is http://www.environmentallyfriendlyhotels.com/, which features a database of green hotels, bed and breakfasts, resorts, motels, lodges and inns worldwide.

  • When you check-in to your hotel, ask them if they have recycling or eco-friendly programs that you can participate in. And ask your hotel NOT to replace your towels and linens every day.

  • Respect the local ecosystem while you are visiting. If you go hiking, do not stray from the designated trails. When visiting the seashore, do not disrupt local life forms such as corals, seashells or starfish. And, anywhere you visit, make sure to refrain from littering.

  • Support the local community that you are visiting whenever possible. (I know, this is a tough one, right?) This can mean buying local instead of imported goods, or hiring a local guide who will be familiar with the region. Activities such as these help sustain and replenish the community economically while reinforcing its culture and identity.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

A chocoholic's sweet escape

My two favorite things: chocolate and travel (eco-friendly, of course) combine to create this promising getaway in Belize.

The Cotton Tree Eco Lodge, where organic cacao orchards “flourish”, is debuting a unique program that allows guests to dive into every aspect of the local chocolate trade, including: chatting to local farmers, learning about the Free Trade practices and politics of production and—most importantly—creating their own rich, traditional Mayan chocolate that begins by plucking the cacao fruit from the tree.

Located in the heart of the Belizian rain forest, Cotton Tree Lodge’s sustainability practices were recently hailed by The New York Times. Travelers take note: private riverfront cabanas are standard, as is the chance to explore virtually untouched rivers and jungles among vast wildlife.

Rates start @ $245/night. For more info, or to plan your own sweet escape, visit cottontreelodge.com

Valentine's romantic rendezvous

In the spirit of Valentine's Day, ever-so-looming, TripAdvisor has named their list of the "Top 10" places to propose. While I'd never turn down a romantic rendezvous, I'd be even more excited to accept an invite that was equally eco.

Using my keen travel sense, I've selected what I think are the "Top 5" perfect proposal destinations. (Seriously, how cliche is Niagara Falls?) So take a moment and soak up these love-inducing locales. I've provided "green" accommodations suggestions for each, to help get you on your merry way.

Enjoy!

1. Central Park, New York, New York
Green Suggestion: 70 Park Avenue Hotel
There is no better place to offer up your heart than the heart of Manhattan, Central Park. With a number of different venues to profess your love -- be it on a bridge, a secluded patch of grass, among a crowd, in a boat, or on an ice rink -- Central Park is the one-stop-shop of romantic proposal locales.

2. Grand Canyon, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
Green Suggestion: Xanterra properties
Don't lose your footing while on one knee at the Grand Canyon, the renowned natural wonder with a vertical drop of over a mile. Whether soaring above in a helicopter, hiking to the depths of the canyon, or just watching the sun rise over the lip of the western rim, this trip will make for an unforgettable engagement.

3. Kapalua Bay Beach, Maui, Hawaii
Green Suggestion: Maui Eco Retreat
On the northwest shore of Maui, featuring mountain peaks and ocean views, Kapalua Bay beach is an uber romantic destination. Secluded and serene, Kapalua offers clear blue water, white sand, palm trees and amazing sunsets ... need we say more?

4. Napa Valley, Napa, California
Green Suggestion: Gaia Napa Valley (pictured above)
Propose to your sweet with your favorite grape varietal and (hopefully) celebrate with champagne on one of the many beautiful vineyards in Napa Valley. Whether touring the area's vineyards, or enjoying a romantic picnic alone, the wine is sure to enhance the mood (and your chances).

6. Christmas Point, Twin Peaks, San Francisco
Green Suggestion: Orchard Green Hotel
The geographic center of San Francisco, Christmas Point on Twin Peaks has fantastic, unhindered views, providing the perfect backdrop for that special moment. Especially wonderful at sunrise or sunset, there is no more romantic way to take in San Francisco Bay.

Monday, February 4, 2008

More green on the Worldwide Web

Hot news stories that are making the world think...

Gorgeous & Green: Medocino, California (Sprig Travel)

Alternative Fuel Takes Flight (The Daily Green)

Kuai Finds Itself at Bittersweet Crossroads (USA Today)

A Wild Ramble, Near the Golden Gate (New York Times)

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Travel to go

Gearing up for your next jaunt? Take precaution and gather some green to go. The best place to find the goods? Beauty junkies that dig pure skincare can't get enough of the Kaia House website. And passport holders might as well bookmark their travel/starter section, full of green goodies that are perfectly portable. Best of all - brands comingle in convenient sets, ranging from $15-$125.
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