6 ideas for a smaller travel footprint

FR WEB Cayenne Room - Sustainable Travel

By Alan Miles

It’s hard to do much traveling without having a negative effect on the environment. After all, moving so many people and so much stuff around on the planet’s surface is a big part of our environmental problems to begin with.

But there are some ways to keep our traveling footprint under control. If we’re working on living more sustainably in our everyday activities, why not make it a part of special activities, like travel, as well?

My wife, Karen, and I aren’t exactly world travelers, but we enjoy the occasional getaway, and we have enough family and friends spread around the country to warrant trips away from home. In the course of our travels, we’ve come up with a few ideas about traveling sustainably — tips that, happily for our limited-budget lifestyle, coincide well with traveling inexpensively.

Embrace public transportation. When we took our five-year-old grandson to Chicago for a birthday present, we took Amtrak to Union Station, and walked to and from a downtown hotel. From there, we walked to the Field Museum to see Sue (the famous T. rex), Buckingham Fountain, Memorial Park and other downtown attractions. When Karen and I went to Washington, D.C., to visit our daughter, we stayed at a hotel right across the street from a Metro station. We got everywhere we wanted to go without contributing to automobile emissions or D.C. traffic congestion. When we visit New York, we stay with Karen’s relatives on Long Island and take the trains into and around the city.

trains1

It was no trouble getting five-year-old Trice to ride the train. In fact, the trains became a source of entertainment for him during our trip to Chicago this summer.

When we fly, we always use electronic ticketing for airplane flights, which avoids paper waste as well as being convenient. Enduring layovers is usually unavoidable when flying economically out of rural Iowa, but, if you can, flying direct is more sustainable since airplane emissions are greatest during takeoff and landing. Continue reading

Sustainable Lodging at Inn by the Sea: Cape Elizabeth, Maine

We’ve been on a little travel break from blogging! One was a personal vacation trip and one was a business trip.

We’d like to share some links today about a place we came across that impressed us with their commitment to some of the same principles that guide us at Frontier.

We traveled to Maine for a relaxing weekend at a beautiful place called Inn by the Sea, on Cape Elizabeth along the southern coast near Portland.

The Inn is a designated wildlife habitat, one of the first hotels certified by Maine’s Department of Environmental Protection as a “Green Lodging.”

They successfully blend luxury and service with sustainability, minimizing the impact of hotel operations with of eco friendly initiatives and an appreciation of all things local.

Guests are surrounded by an indigenous garden which provides food and habitat for wildlife, and rooms are cleaned with non-toxic products. Room amenities are natural, in recycled bottles and displayed on recycled glass trays. The sheet and towel program helps protect the endangered monarch butterfly. They recycle and use post consumer paper products. The cardio room has recycled rubber floors, the spa has recycled sheet rock walls and bamboo towels, and the  Inn is heated with biofuel and the pool with solar panels. The Inn also recognizes the value of the community by supporting local charities.

The Inn offers classes to guests to pass on the eco-friendly message. Weekly seminars and garden tours are offered on the Inn’s 5 acres of indigenous seaside gardens, teaching guests how to plant for wildlife. The Inn helps environmentally-conscious couples plan unique White weddings in green and, for the corporate traveler, responsible green meetings. You can read more about the Inn by the Sea’s green initiatives here.

At the hotel’s restaurant, Sea Glass, Chef Mitchell Kaldrovich specializes in creating dishes featuring Maine’s local bounty – both seafood and seasonal produce sourced from local farms.

Here’s one of his favorite recipes using local ingredients that you’re sure to find nearby as well.

RED WINE & OLIVE BUTTER COMPOUND

2 c red wine

2 ea peeled shallots, minced

4 ea fresh thyme sprigs

2 ea fresh bay leaves

4 lbs unsalted butter at room temperature

1/2 c balsamic vinegar

1 c pitted Kalamata olives (reserve brine)

Combine red wine, minced shallots, thyme and bay Leaves in a large sauce pan.  Reduce to half and discard the herbs.  Put butter in a stand mixer with paddle attachment and add the red wine reduction.  Whip until combined.

In the meantime, use a food processor to puree the Kalamata olives and balsamic vinegar using some of the olive bring.  Once pureed, add to the whipped butter in the stand mixer and whip until the liquids are combined into the soft butter.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Let us know what seasonal produce is making an appearance on your table right now!