Tag Archives | green travel

6 Ways to Green Your Summer Trip

summer-vacationSummer is in full swing and I hope your family is taking advantage of the warm weather and break from school to take a trip together! With all of the travel, eating away from home, and sightseeing, vacations can leave quite the carbon footprint. Here are 6 tips to help you make green choices on your summer trip.

  1. Travel locally
    Traveling closer to home (or taking a staycation) cuts down on fuel and emissions—not to mention the expense involved with longer car trips and flights. Who knows, you might just discover your new favorite getaway a few towns over!
  2. Rent a Hybrid
    Many car rental companies now offer the option to rent a Prius or other compact hybrid. Even if you don’t see a hybrid option when booking online, many companies have one or two on hand that you can ask for when you go to pick up your rental. Hybrids are quiet and cut down on fuel cost and waste immensely and are a great choice if you’re taking a sight-seeing road trip.
  3. Stay at a Green Hotel
    There is a growing number smaller hotels and B&B’s choosing to become Green Certified. The Green Certification process evaluates the hotel’s overall carbon footprint and what choices they are making to positively impact the environment as well as to minimize their otherwise negative impact. Areas evaluated include energy and water conservation, solid waste management, indoor air quality, building infrastructure, and community outreach, to name a few. Most green hotels that offer meals also buy organic and local.
  4. Eat Locally
    Isn’t it wonderful that you can travel to almost any city in the US and find a farmer’s market—or at least a local fruit stand? Since I live in the high desert of Colorado I love sampling local fruits and vegetables when I travel to states at lower elevation or with a more humid climate. I’ll never forget eating dozens of peaches in one sitting on a visit to Mississippi or a crate of strawberries in California! Put your money towards local business and sustainable living by picking up a few meals or snacks at the farmer’s market or small, local grocer on your next vacation.
  5. Explore the Local Environment
    One of my favorite things about vacation is the variety of trees, flowers, and animals native to the state I’m visiting. Exploring new environments is especially valuable when traveling with kids, who can learn about different species and ecosystems and by doing so appreciate and protect them better. States with protected open space or forests sometimes offer tours of wildlife sanctuaries—a fun, educational choice for families.
  6. Leave No Trace
    Whether you’re roughing it back country camping or staying in an upscale hotel on your vacation, the 7 principles of Leave No Trace are helpful guidelines to bring and follow. Don’t forget to educate kids about their impact on the places you visit!

YOUR TURN: What green tips does your family have for vacationing this summer?

Thanksgiving Planning: Island Edition

castaway beach

Most years we host Thanksgiving dinner at our home – however, this year we don’t have family coming into town to visit so we decided to travel for Thanksgiving. We booked a week at a fun, red cottage on Sanibel Island. We are meeting the mister’s uncle and aunt there for a little fun in the sun!

On our way there, we plan to pick up Thanksgiving dinner from Whole Foods and of course, we will pack our favorite wine too! Our week will be spent outside beach combing (Sanibel is known as the best place to shell in the country!), biking the island (you don’t need a car!), checking out the local shops and eateries, and taking long walks with Noodles and Olive. We are super excited! While I love hosting Thanksgiving dinner, I think it will be nice to sleep in late on the big day (no housecleaning or cooking!) and enjoy Thanksgiving dinner outside next to the ocean.

How about you – do you have an unconventional Thanksgiving planned? Are you traveling? Where are you off to?

Mountain Apple Picking at the Historic Orchard at Altapass in North Carolina

orchard-1

by Jennie

Before we left for our fall family trip to North Carolina, we made a list of all of the fun things that we wanted to do. The list encompassed all of our yearly must-do activities with a few new activities added in as well. I told the mister that the one thing I would like to do is visit a mountain apple orchard. He said to keep your eye out for one while on one of our many long drives on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Towards the end of our vacation, we still hadn’t come across an orchard, so I figured it just wasn’t going to happen. Then, one morning I thought we were headed towards another hiking adventure when the mister pulled off the main road down a very steep turn off. When I looked up I saw the Historic orchard at Altapass in front of us! Hooray! He was so excited to surprise me with this special treat and we ended up spending most of the day there. Read on to check it out.

orchard-2orchard-4

After browsing around in the Altapass Orchard shop, and stopping to listen to a group performing mountain music we decided to venture out into the orchard. There are several different trails that you could take throughout the orchard, and of course we picked the longest one! We ended up so far into the orchard that all of the visitors (and there were a lot that day) seized to exist, we were completely alone. We were able to observe all of the beautiful butterflies floating throughout the orchard and even came upon a buck who was happily munching in the apple trees! He darted out of there too fast to catch him on camera.

There were so many different types of apples, small tart ones, and huge juicy ones that barely fit in the misters hand. It was really cool to visit an orchard that has been around for more than 100 years!

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We walked so far that our trail eventually took us into a forest, it was still part of the orchard but so far removed that we didn’t even realize it was there until we were in it. We munched on apples as we walked (we paid for them later!), chatted and just had a wonderful time. By the time we made our way back to the apple-stand, almost everyone was gone except the employees. We bought a couple of root beer floats and sat on the deck relaxing after our 4 hour hike through the orchard. It was pretty amazing – I can’t wait to do it again next year!

+ The Historic Orchard at Altapass
Milepost 328.3 between Mt. Mitchell and Linville Falls.

The Top 9 Health Benefits of Ginger – Grab Some Today!

ginger health benefits

by Beth

Ginger is an incredibly versatile food that has been used by many cultures for thousands of years. From Africa to China,from Nepal to the Philippines, it is a root that is used in food and drink, ranging from ginger sodas to curry dishes. There is a reason why this amazing root is so widely used.  In addition to being a delicious ingredient, it also offers many serious healing properties.  Let’s take a look at 10 of my favorites:

1. Ginger contains the minerals zinc, chromium, and magnesium, which have been proven to increase circulation and help regulate body temperature.
2. Ginger aids digestion by increasing the secretion of digestive enzymes, from both the stomach and pancreas.
3. Ginger has been proven to be more effective than dramamine at settling the nausea associated with motion sickness.  To this end, it can also assist pregnant women who suffer from morning sickness.
4. Ginger has been shown to have antibacterial, as well as anti-inflammatory properties, helping to cure sickness and alleviate pain. Just 1/4 inch thick slice of ginger, either cooked in food or prepared in a tea, has been shown to significantly reduce the pain from arthritis.
5. Ginger inhibits the growth of cancer cells, both ovarian and colorectal, as shown by studies executed at the University of Michigan and Minnesota, respectively.
6. In certain parts of the world, women claim that ginger mitigates the pain and discomfort of menstrual cramps.
7. Ginger can help stimulate the appetite.
8. Ginger acts as an anti-flatulent.
9. Ginger can treat constipation.

As you can see, the benefits of consuming ginger are quite numerous.  Before you decide to grab Dramamine, Tylenol, or the antibiotics, try some ginger out first and you may be pleasantly surprised at the result!

Holiday Traveling? Can a Long Distance Trip be Eco-Friendly?

Eco-Friendly-FlightsNOTE: This post was written for me – thank you for supporting the companies that help keep Sweet Greens in business.
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Like most families, the annual vacation is something we all look forward to – my family is super excited for our fall family trip later this month! With the holidays right around the corner, we will be traveling again to spend time with friends and family – like many of you! While most of our travels are done by car, your long distance trip may require you to fly to your vacation destination. Naturally, you may be concerned about flying and whether you will be undoing a year’s worth of good eco-friendly living with this one trip, while flying isn’t always the most eco-friendly option – it is something a necessity, so we have outlined 3 tips to help make your next flight to your vacation destination more eco-friendly.

1. Flying the Eco-Friendly Skies
Lowering emissions on a jumbo jet is no easy task, but the major airlines are trying to find new ways to lower emissions and make the skies a lot friendlier. First of all, airlines are exploring the use of biodiesel fuels as an alternative way of fueling flights. While there have been several successful flights with 100% biodiesel on board, bio diesel has a major drawback in that it freezes, thickening up like gravy. All is not lost, though; blending biodiesel with jet fuel generates a more environmentally-friendly fuel that won’t freeze up at 40,000 feet. While the fueling debate and experimentation continues, airlines are taking other steps to assist environmentally-savvy travelers, helping them to travel with peace of mind. Many airlines are using environmentally-conscious materials, both inside the plane and in the structure itself, to increase efficiency and decrease excess carbon output. Airlines are also adjusting flight patterns, improving the quality of landing procedures, and making it easier for planes to fly higher and faster. Hopefully as more time passes, flying the eco-friendly skies will become easier to do.

2. Off-Set Your Carbon Vacation Footprint
Even with all the advances that airlines are making, you have to acknowledge that, no matter where you go,  you will be in an aircraft producing greenhouse gases. Nearly ten percent of the greenhouse gases on earth are produced by aircraft. For the environmentally-conscious, this is a real problem; the solution for many is carbon off-setting. Carbon off-setting allows you to make up for the polluting emissions that your flight will be causing by having trees planted to restore balance in the environment. Many airlines, including American Airlines, are partnering with carbon off-setting companies to offer passengers a way to restore balance to the environment and still enjoy the vacation. Once you have your flight information, you can enter it into one of a number of websites that calculates flight mileage and total carbon emissions. Then, simply pay the desired amount to off-set the effects of your vacation footprint.

3. Look for Alternatives
Planning a family vacation that required you to fly to your destination means considering the effects that your trip would have on the environment. I recommend looking at alternatives to flying but, when a flight can’t be avoided, to do the research and try to make your trip as green as possible. After selecting your flight plan carefully, look for an airline that demonstrates a concern for the environment and a desire to improve their carbon footprint by increasing fuel efficiency and offering eco-friendly features such as carbon off-setting.

It is possible to travel the world and keep on saving the world in the process. All it takes is some savvy research and careful planning.

REVIEW + GIVEAWAY: 4 Contigo Stainless Steel West Loop Travel Mugs

ContigoContigo makes the only reusable bottles and mugs that you will need, period. We use ours every single day, starting with filling our Stainless Steel West Loop travel mugs with coffee, tea and cocoa in the morning to re-hydrating all day and at the gym with our Addison bottles.

I was excited to hear that Contigo just launched their newest collection of Stainless Steel West Loop Travel Mugs. They are available in 7 fantastic new colors (my fave is the grayed jade), and even boasts a lifetime guarantee.

The West Loop travel mugs keep iced drink cold and warm drinks hot! Just press the front button to sip, and when the button is released, the lid seals once again. When it comes to cleaning, the easy clean lid makes it a snap: just twist off the lid, press a button to expose the lid mechanism, and place it in the top rack of the dishwasher, or wash by hand.

Here’s a goody for all Sweet Greens readers, receive 20% off your order of your next Contigo mug with the code WESTLOOP20 – valid through October 31, 2014.

Want to try out a Contigo Westloop mug for yourself? How about four! Jump over to Contigo and leave a comment telling me what your favorite mug color is – and one lucky winner will win a 4-pack of Contigo Westloop Mugs!

Happy Independence Day!

Hello, Friends! We are still in the Florida Keys enjoying our family summer vacation. We have been spending our mornings paddleboarding and our afternoons snorkeling and beach-combing. We even spent one entire afternoon relaxing – which means the mister and dogs took a nap, Eben drew and read and I caught up on a little blogging! It was so nice, especially since we spent the entire day before paddleboarding, snorkeling and kayaking (my arms are sore!)

We are still trying to decide how we want to spend our 4th of July evening. Some years while in the Keys, we have visited a nearby town for a 4th of July celebration with fireworks and patriotic music on the beach, other years we have hiked to the top of the old Bahia Honda Rail Bridge and watched a different type of fireworks display, bio-luminescence in the ocean below! To be honest, the latter is my favorite! I have my fingers crossed that is what the boys want to do tonight! And of course, sometime today we have to stop by the marina to pick up an ice-cream cone to cool off!

I hope you are spending the long weekend eating watermelon, sipping lemonade and maybe even snoozing in a hammock with someone you love!

Happy 4th of July!

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