You could plan a romantic dinner and call it a night. Or, you can take advantage of the Hayley’s Comet of Valentine’s days.
The love gods took pity on us and gave us the best V-Day present ever – a 3-day weekend in America! It’s also President’s Holiday Weekend, with many schools and businesses closed the following Monday.
So put away that box of chocolates and pack a suitcase (or bring just the chocolates with…because why not?). And when you book your hotel or B&B room, make sure you check into how sustainable your stay really is. Because when it comes to romantic vacays, green is the new red.
Just where do you start in planning a green romantic getaway?
All-inclusive resorts may mean pina colada every hour on the hour (and sometimes the half hour), but the environmental havoc that many of these resorts is shockingin some cases.
Often, resorts are developed over the most lush flora and fauna ecosystems, putting many vital species on the endangered list. And cruise ship tourism has caused real damage to marine life; from dumping solid waste by the tons into our oceans, to anchoring on, and subsequently destroying coral reefs all over the world, to belching clouds of CO2 and particulate pollution because they run on low grade bunker fuel.
Even ski resorts can’t hide from their environmental past and on-going missteps. Not only does the artificial snow require massive amounts of water and energy, but that snow is sometimes infused with salt, impacting the alpine vegetation. (USA Today).
But to keep it in perspective, many of the more progressive ski resorts have been making major strides and improvements to their environmental impact over the last decade.
It may seem like an impossible feat to find an eco-friendly weekend of romance. But I promise you, with a little inquisitive research, eco-tourism is easier to experience than you think and you don’t have to travel far. BTW, its best to travel in your own car, rent a ZipCar, or an economy car from the Hertz Green Collection.
Here are some of my top picks for how to keep eco-consciousness and romance in sync across the U.S.
Romantic Green Getaway Ideas For Valentine’s Day
WildSpring Guest Habitat Oregon WildSpring is a nature destination you have to see to believe. And with a carbon footprint of zero, this definitely tops the list for eco-friendly vacations. The entire resort is made from natural materials, including their grounds covered only in vegetation native to the area. The retreat also uses low-energy and low-flow appliances, even limiting their guest halls to sunlight-only lighting during the daytime hours. Even the cellophane bags for sweet treats in the gift shop are compostable. And with nature hikes, spa packages, and a truly remarkable deep-forest landscape, WildSpring is the ultimate eco-couples hideaway.
Sadie Cove Wilderness Lodge Alaska Sadie Cove Wilderness Lodge doesn’t want to brag or anything – but it was named the “Leading Green Resort in the US” for 4 years in a row (2009 – 2012). And it’s no surprise since it runs completely on alternative energy, and serves only a small number of overnight guests at a time (no equipment rentals or drop by tourists here). Sadie Cove offers a unique wilderness experience with a genuine Alaskan setting, said to be one of the “few places on earth [that] can match the natural, untouched wilderness setting and natural ecology.”
Proximity Hotel North Carolina Proximity Hotel is a proud LEED Platinum “green hotel.” It uses 40% less energy than an average hotel with eco-smart practices like solar-panel heating. The vacation spot has also reduced its water usage by 33% with low-flow, high-efficiency plumbing. These are just a couple of notes on the actual laundry list of reasons why Proximity Hotel is as environmentally friendly as they come. I’ll take a room for two please!
Box Canyon Lodge Colorado Looking for some fun in the mountains? Here’s your spot. Box Canyon Lodge has not only reduced it’s gas consumption by 70% over the last four years, but does so by taking advantage of one of its luxury offers: the hot springs! Sitting on top of a Colorado hot spring, Box Canyon runs almost completely on geothermal resources. The hotel also takes advantage of energy efficiency by using low flow and low-energy appliances. They’ve even implemented in-room recycling programs. Plus, the list of awesome outdoor activities makes this destination a must for the most adventurous couples.
Inn by the Sea Maine First and foremost, this place is beautiful. It’s called Inn by the Sea, for goodness sake. It might as well be a Robert Frost poem. With tranquil eco-friendly lodging and a spa package to keep the romance going all weekend long, this Maine hotel is a perfect blend of luxury with sustainability. The hotel is made completely from recycled products – from the sheet rock walls to the cork floors. It also runs on solar panel energy and low-flow systems, making it no surprise it’s the first hotel in Maine to be Carbon Neutral through offsets. And to keep the integrity of the landscape in tact, the grounds are made up completely of native plant life – providing a romantic setting for guests, as well as an inviting environment for native butterfly species. The Inn also uses local produce and sustainable seafood in their on site restaurant – Sea Glass.
These are all just a few romantic green destinations that we found within the U.S. to keep your travel footprint to a minimum.
Be sure to check-out this Green Blizzard helpful article on sustainable living: Green Seasonal Fruits and Veggies Guide