Image, Wonder Haus, courtesy Airbnb
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By Cara Gibbs
Traveling Responsibly Can Help You Reduce Your Carbon Footprint
As sanctions continue to lift and collectively we adjust to a new normalcy, our muscle memory begins to kick back in and our reflex is to start traveling again. But in this need for adventure, eco-conscious getaways are high on our list of must-haves. After all, the average hotel contributes to alarming environmental stats annually including 60 million tons of CO2 emissions, 219 billion gallons of water use, 1.9 billion pounds of waste, and 84.7 billion kwh of energy, thanks in part to all those blow dryers and television sets.
In an effort to diminish the harsh environmental effects that travel can bring, we’ve compiled a crew of stylish, eco-friendly cottages and cabins to help you reduce your carbon footprint and travel responsibly. Or, frankly, just help you disconnect and recharge. From off-the-grid wonders that tread lightly on the land to electricity-free cottages and enchanting views, the future of travel is optimistically green.
Editor’s note: Check ahead of booking for travel restrictions due to Covid, and add to your future wanderlust wish list if you can’t head there now.
1. COB COTTAGE IN MAYNE ISLAND, BRITISH COLUMBIA
Upon entry to the well-appointed and quirky 800-square-foot Cob Cottage (spread across two floors), you’re immediately greeted with sculptural curves and a blend of natural materials. The cottage derives its affectionate nickname from its makeup: the structure itself is composed of cob, a simple mixture of sand, clay and straw, which renders the smooth hand-formed finish that’s seen throughout the home. Strategic skylights and a clever assortment of windows invite natural light into the space, including portholes in the bedroom. And the stone floor and plethora of wood elements lend an earthy vibe, from the slab stairs to the wood-beamed ceiling and log railings. Holding one of the highest spots on Airbnb’s coveted wish-list properties, the fairytale-esque Cob House proves that sustainable living, and vacationing, is in high-demand. Image courtesy Airbnb
2. ARTEMESIA IN WINTHROP, WASHINGTON
An active adventure awaits inside the light-filled getaway that is Artemisia. Nestled in the mountains with panoramic vistas of the Methow Valley and snow-capped Mount Gardner, this modern property is truly one of a kind, holding the title as the first and only net-zero-energy, solar-powered vacation rental home in the region. That means it produces the same amount of electricity as it uses. Nontoxic materials like no-VOC paint, Paperstone countertops, cork flooring, and limestone tile improve the indoor air quality and establish the home’s eco-friendly aesthetic appeal. Structural insulated panels, triple-pane windows, an induction range, and a high-efficient heat pump add to the home’s energy-saving performance. And natural latex mattresses ensure visitors get a healthy, restful night’s sleep. Image courtesy Artemesia Cabin
3. HEX COTTAGE IN SUFFOLK, ENGLAND
Looking to unplug and just be present? Your digital detox awaits in the English countryside courtesy the oh-so-charming (and über-romantic) Hex Cottage. The electricity-free, thatched-roof retreat is completely candle-lit and has its own private lavender meadow. An Esse wood-burning range for heat and hot water and a sustainable Hypnos bed—100% recyclable and carbon neutral—add additional comforts inside while the 8,000-acre Wilderness Reserve beckons just outside. There’s even an estate ecologist who can teach you more about the property and local flora and fauna. Image courtesy Hex Cottage
4. WONDER HAUS IN PAGOSA SPRINGS, COLORADO
Living up to its name, Wonder Haus does just that—elicits a state of wonder from inside out. Created to “cultivate curiosity,” the unusually shaped home is set on seven acres of the San Juan National Forest and located near geothermal hot springs. But what truly gives this eco-friendly cottage its moniker is its three-story star-gazing observation tower and status as a passive solar earth home, which essentially means it uses the sun’s energy as its heating and cooling system. The eco-conscious hosts provide Dr. Bonner’s bath care products, which use organic, fair trade ingredients and eco-friendly manufacturing processes including reducing energy, material and water waste. Image courtesy Airbnb