Despite the fact that there's no comprehensive statewide program, there are some exciting green-tourism initiatives in Massachusetts. In the western part of the state, the JIMINY PEAK RESORT (not just fun during the winter!) recently erected a 386-foot-tall wind turbine that will supply about 30 percent of its power. The resort — where rooms cost $259 per night during the summer — also puts dispensers of soap and shampoo in its showers (rather than distributing packaging-heavy mini-containers), and recently made a conversion to waterless urinals. Also in the Berkshire region is the cozy and old-fashioned RED LION INN in Stockbridge, which won this year's Good Earthkeeping Award from the Massachusetts Lodging Association for using native plants in its landscaping and other eco-initiatives. Rooms in this old stagecoach stop — which puts guests close to Tanglewood and all the Berkshires' summer cultural offerings — start at $155 per night.
On the other side of the state, eco-lodging options abound. Dan Ruben, the founder and executive director of Boston Green Tourism, points out that the city's green innovations played a large part in attracting the US Green Building Council's annual convention — with close to 30,000 attendees — to Boston later this year. One local standout is THE LENOX HOTEL, a Back Bay boutique hotel where rooms go for $300 and up during the summer. Its owners have been promoting eco-tourism since the late 1980s, and their work has paid off — this past year, The Lenox was the only urban hotel in the world to make Condé Nast Traveler magazine's Green List. They put "eco-plaques" in each room, detailing the hotel's water- and energy-conservation measures, they hand out gas-saving driving tips to guests who arrive with cars, and environmental movies play on the dedicated Eco Channel in every room.
Jiminy Peak Resort | 37 Corey Rd, Hancock, Massachusetts | 413.738.5500 | jiminypeak.com
Red Lion Inn | 30 Main St, Stockbridge, Massachusetts | 413.298.5545 | redlioninn.com
The Lenox Hotel | 61 Exeter St, Boston, Massachusetts | 617.536.5300 | lenoxhotel.com
— 60 green properties participating in the Sustainable Lodging & Restaurant Program (run by the New Hampshire Lodging and Restaurant Association)
While the White Mountains region of New Hampshire claims the bulk of the state's eco-friendly accommodations, green lodging can be found no matter where your travels take you. In the Suncook Valley, about 80 miles from Boston, try the rustic GRAYLAG CABINS, which can be rented by the week for $925 to $1500. The cabins themselves are "recycled" — refurbished from the 1949 Camp Graylag days (when the property was a summer camp for boys). Guests are instructed to compost their food waste, and chemical-free Dr. Bronner's soap is provided in the bathrooms. Best of all, the cabins are situated in the middle of a 140-acre wooded preserve, where native gardens and natural wildlife habitat will remind you of why we do all this eco-stuff in the first place.
If that sounds a bit too rustic for you, the SUNSET HILL HOUSE in Sugar Hill provides an experience at the other end of the spectrum. The double rooms at Sunset Hill go for $100 to $229 per night, and while you're there, you'll get an inn-like experience with hotel amenities, mountain views, and an in-house spa. In addition to using green cleansers and high-efficiency washing machines, the inn specially designed its exterior lighting scheme to save energy and reduce light pollution — which helps when you want to use one of the hotel telescopes to do some stargazing.