Category Archives: US Travel

Safari Spirit – On a Wildlife Cruise in Alaska

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By Shirley Linde, of

It was not like traveling on a big cruise ship, but like cruising in your own private yacht. In fact, I hung out at the helm station most of the time we were underway, getting the captain’s eye of the voyage, following our course on the charts, and hearing stories of how whales migrate and the crews’ experiences swimming with whales on research voyages. On two afternoons I even got to take the wheel for an hour or so…

Read more about this Alaskan Safari Adventure.

Hotel Terra: Green Luxury in Jackson Hole

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If you are looking to get away to the Jackson Hole area, consider checking out this luxury hotel that is also hip, sustainable, and inspired to be extordinary.  Hotel Terra Jackson Hole, was planned and built with the concept that it would be both healthier for its guests and for the land it inhabits. This eco-boutique has succeeded in becoming part of the global movement to change the way the hospitality industry interacts with our planet’s limited natural resources.

The 72 room, 6-story Hotel Terra in Teton Village, is built on a half acre site – slope side to the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort and at the gateway to Grand Teton National Park. Eco skiers will find this alternative, low-impact, not your ordinary ski resort, to their liking.

Hotel Terra is one of only six LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified hotels in the U.S. You won’t get your linens or the fluffy towels changed everyday, but they are all made of pure organic cotton. This is a place that will actually allow you to fling open windows, make organic fair-trade coffee, and shower with natural soap. In addition, you will enjoy heated slate bathroom floors, rain showers, supersized tubs and iPod docks. You will sleep on natural mattresses that integrate un-bleached, un-dyed cotton and recycled springs and you can wash your hair with organic shampoo. What else could you ask for in a green hotel?

Clothes hangers are made from sustainably harvested bamboo, reclaimed skyscraper glass that was molded into soap dishes, along with sink and shower fixtures that save water. To continue this fusion of old and new, the structure was partially built with lumber from old barns and farmhouses and the roof sports reused shingles. The hotel hopes to eventually offset 100% of its energy usage with wind biomass and other renewable energy sources.

Hotel Terra Jackson Hole offers the exceptional amenities and services expected from boutique hotels, combined with environmentally sustainable building and operating practices.

For more information visit: or call 800-631-6281, or 307-739-4000

A Green Small Ship Cruise to Alaska

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Have you ever been on a SMALL cruise ship?

These boats are great because they use way less fuel and conserve overnight to reduce emissions in a big way. How do they do this? The Island Spirit shown here has large batteries – total battery weight is 7500 lbs. The batteries allow the vessel to shut off the generators at night, providing 10-12 hours of quiet and 0 emission bliss. Through the special 48 volt DC inverters, power is turned into normal electricity like home…Guests can run their heater fans, lights, razors, lounge tv, bar, etc. – even microwave popcorn for the evening movie.

In Small Ship Cruises’ SE Alaska itinerary the Island Spirit charges the large battery bank by day and uses those batteries at night to keep passengers warm. All ships engines and generators are turned off at 9 pm for quiet Alaskan evenings and you can listen to the sound of Alaska right outside your opening window.

The ship engines are low emissions and low smoke, making her one of the most environmentally friendly small vessels to cruise the region. Cruises, usually 9 days, feature small ports with a focus on wildlife, environment and local culture and include kayaking.

For more information on these Alaska Cruises visit: or

Inn by the Sea, Maine

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As you know, loves discovering great green initiatives around the world. The Inn by the Sea on the coast of Maine has made some remarkable efforts in sustainability. From heating with biofuel,  solar panels to  heat the salinated pool, dual flush toilets to save water, air to air heat exchangers to save energy, the redesigned gardens continue to create food and habitat for local wildlife walls built with recycled sheet rock and studs, recycled rubber floor in the gym, the list goes on!  Read on to find out more.

Inn by the Sea boardwalk at  Inn by the Sea

If you love unspoiled beaches, delectable local food prepared with an international flair, and panoramic Atlantic views you’ll love the inn by the Sea on the coast of Maine. Eight years ago this Four Diamond property recognized the importance of preserving and protecting the beauty and clean environment surrounding their natural coastal setting . Their first step on a green path was to pull out the exotic plantings on their five acre property, and replace them with indigenous plants that created both a beautiful indigenous landscape for guests, but also provided food sources and habitat for wildlife.

couples treatment roomGuests were enchanted by the grounds and head gardener Derrick Daly started giving garden tours and seminars on how to plant for wildlife, and “bug’s life” classes to kids on local eco systems. The grounds are adjacent to a bird sanctuary, and the inn’s five acres were also certified as a Backyard wildlife Habitat by the National Wildlife Federation. The  inns sheet and towel program gives back to programs that work to save the endangered monarch butterfly, a frequent visitor to the inn as the grounds are planted with milkweed, necessary to the monarch’s survival.  The Inn by the Sea then adopted “Preserve, Protect and Inspire” as  part of their business plan, and formed a green committee to look at what else they could do that was eco friendly, good for the planet and added to the guest experience.

Since that original initiative Inn by the Sea  has continually added  eco friendly programs that  have made the inn Maine’s premier eco friendly beach destination. Fun summer classes for kids on how bugs fit into local eco systems, packages at the nearby nature preserve offer Audubon Guided canoe tours, and the new full service spa built with a Leeds consultant, offers a rejuvenating and soothing spa environment all adding to a great guest stay.

View from balcony  Inn - outside table w food umbrealla

The Inn went through a massive renovation in 2008 and added many new upscale and green design features- already heating with biofuel, the inn added solar panels to  heat the salinated pool and save energy, dual flush toilets  to save water, air to air heat exchangers to save energy, and the redesigned gardens continue to create food and habitat for local wildlife. Walls were built with recycled sheet rock and studs, the floor in the cardio room is recycled rubber, the floors in the spa treatment rooms are recycled cork and the inn is cleaned with non toxic green seal product. Guests are wrapped in bamboo towels, and welcomed with green recycled paper key cards. Natural products are presented on recycled glass trays, and the “sense of place” is preserved with spa treatments that give a nod to Casco Bay with marine products, sea salt, sand and mud.  The signature spa treatment is “Sea Waves Massage”, given on an undulating bed, with marine  products and surf surround sound for a complete coastal experience.

Beach w chairs

When  Sea Glass Restaurant opened in June the spotlight was on Executive Chef Mitch Kaldrovich and his dynamic  menu celebrating local agriculture and fresh seafood. Panoramic views of the Atlantic with bobbing lobster boats on the horizon serve as backdrop for the chef’s creative dishes loyal to local produce and Maine flavors. The signature dishes of Maine Seafood Paella with Lobster Tails , giant Maine Scallops or organic beef and pork from Maine’s  Wolfe Neck Farm celebrate local fare.

A  true Maine experience, couples and families will love the spacious luxurious suites, rooms and roomy cottages located on sandy Crescent Beach. A beautiful boardwalk , arched by trees in season, leads through the bird sanctuary to a mile of unspoiled beach perfect for a quick relaxing getaway or an extended stay in a condo cottage with full kitchen.

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