Can a vacation with the family be green and healthyand still fun? Yes! Last week, I went on a (chilly) New England vacation, and did my best to make it a low-impact trip. Here are a few tips for families who want to do the same:
1. Find an eco-friendly hotel. Not always possible, of course, but we had the luxury of being hosted by the beautiful and eco-friendly Inn by the Sea in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, for two nights. No greenwashing here: After a big renovation a couple of years ago, the hotel is green from the inside out. There are plenty of green choices guests don’t necessarily see (vegetable heating oil, room keys made out of compostable material, low VOC paint), and others it’s really fun to learn about, like the Inn’s commitment to native plants and to being a Butterfly Sanctuary. In the summer, kids can take part in a Bug’s Life program, where they learn about butterflies, eco systems, and protecting the environment. And they do it while dressed like bugs. How fun is that? (By the way, the Inn is also super dog friendly: Penny, who you can see above wondering why we’re back inside when there’s a beach to run on, was treated like royalty.)
2. Eat local. Short of bringing along your CSA share, it can be hard to eat healthfully and low-impact on the road. Instead of stopping at a familiar chain restaurant, find out where the locals eatchances are, it’s because the food is fresher. It’s easier than you think to get an inside scoop: My husband is the master of asking every shopkeeper, museum guard, and guy walking his dog where we should eat. We always end up somewhere interesting, and more often than not, the food is fresh and tasty.
3. Bringor renta bike. Sightseeing and exercise all in one: You cover a lot more ground than walking. Find a bike for everyone in the family at a local bike shopand don’t forget the helmets!