Top 10 Eco-Friendly Inns

With more and more bed and breakfasts taking sustainable business practices into account, arranging a weekend getaway doesn’t have to come at the expense of the environment. This month, we’re celebrating properties that take environmental stewardship to the next level, not only providing guests with luxurious accommodations and outstanding hospitality but also providing them with peace of mind. Many of the bed and breakfasts on this list offer optional water and energy conservation programs, optional towel replacement services, and a commitment to using local products wherever possible. Make a reservation at one of these ten eco-friendly inns and do something that’s good for your well-being as well as good for the environment.

Big Mill Bed & Breakfast

Williamston, NC

Big Mill Bed & Breakfast

Located approximately two hours away from Raleigh, this gem of a bed and breakfast dates back to 1920 and sits on more than 200 acres of fertile farmland at the heart of the Inner Banks, the quiet coastal plain of eastern North Carolina. The current property, shaded by 90-year-old deciduous trees planted by the owner’s parents, features architectural details constructed from recycled wood and other materials from the farm’s original buildings. The four guest rooms and suites all have private entrances, private bathrooms stocked with all-natural soaps, and spectacular views of the landscaped grounds and the three-acre lake that’s teeming with fish. The rooms, furnished and decorated with items found in local antique shops and used furniture stores, also feature beds made with sheets and pillowcases that have been laundered with fragrance-free detergent and line-dried in the sun, individual climate control units, and kitchenettes equipped with small energy-star appliances, such as refrigerators and microwaves, to help make your stay a comfortable one. Other energy-saving practices include using fluorescent lighting and low-voltage lighting wherever possible, both indoors and outdoors, as well as using air-circulating ceiling fans in most rooms throughout the inn. In the morning, enjoy a delicious continental breakfast consisting of homemade sourdough or sweet breads made with fruits and nuts grown on the farm, homemade yogurt and granola with fresh seasonal fruit, and crustless quiches made with farm-fresh, free-range chicken eggs and dried tomatoes from the cook’s organic garden.

Borgo Porta Rossa – Beom

Verona, Italy

Borgo Porta Rossa – Beom

This quaint bed and breakfast that equally respects the well-being of mankind as well as the planet is located amid the vineyards of the Valpolicella region of Verona, the fair city that was used as the backdrop for three of William Shakespeare’s plays, including Romeo and Juliet. The warm natural tones of honey and ivory incorporated into the décor of the eco-friendly and entirely organic property transform this inn into the ideal place in which to unwind for a green getaway. Upon check-in, guests will find a basket waiting for them in their room, full of fresh fruit, in addition to all-natural hand and face soaps, organic shampoos and shower gels, and soft bathrobes made of non-treated cotton in their private bathroom. Furthermore, all of the linens in the bed and breakfast are laundered with special vegetal detergents free of harsh chemicals and fragrances. In the morning, enjoy a thoughtfully-prepared breakfast made with local, organic ingredients, and then set off to explore the nearby wineries and vineyards or spend a full day relaxing in the main building by reading a book or a newspaper, listening to music, or challenging a fellow guest to a game of cheese or billiards. No matter how you choose to spend your time, the Borgo Porta Rossa will ensure that each of your needs is addressed and that your expectations for a world-class experience are met.

Casa de las Olas

Tulum, Mexico

Casa de las Olas

Situated in a remote jungle on the Caribbean coast of Mexico near the archaeological ruins of the ancient Mayan city of Tulum, this intimate, environmentally-conscious villa offers waterfront accommodations that are built to complement the natural beauty of the surrounding landscape. The LEED-certified bed and breakfast is completely sustainable, pulling solar energy, capturing all of its own water, and adhering to a recycling and composting program to reduce waste and feed the lush gardens throughout the property. Each of the five guest suites features a king-sized canopy bed and floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the beach and sea beyond it, while most of the suites also feature a kitchenette with granite counters. In the morning, gather with fellow guests at the large communal dining table and enjoy a full complimentary breakfast prepared by Chef Lulu that highlights the freshest seasonal ingredients available and includes crispy potatoes, French press organic coffee, hand-squeezed orange juice, homemade granola and yogurt, warm handmade corn tortillas, and your choice of an authentic Mexican dishes such as Chilaquiles with Red or Green Salsa, Huevos Rancheros, and Huevos Mexicanos. After breakfast, the innkeepers will arrange local tours of the area that are operated by businesses that are also committed to green practices, after which you can return to the villa to sit on the beach and watch the sunset.

Casa Gallina

Taos, NM

Casa Gallina

If you’re looking to escape the hectic grind of your day-to-day, then book a stay at this eco-friendly (and pet-friendly!) bed and breakfast in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains of north-central New Mexico and let innkeeper Richard Spera introduce you to the artisan way of life. Consistent with the traditional architecture of the region, the five beautiful casitas on a lush three-acre piece of farmland along the Rio Fernando River are constructed of natural adobe. Made from locally extracted mud that is formed, dried, and stacked to provide a thick thermal wall that cools in the summer and stays warm in the winter. All of the casitas are decorated with floors laid in either Saltillo tile or pine planks, as well antiques, art, and hand-woven rugs and textiles made by local artists. These apartments feature full kitchens stocked with USDA Certified Organic products, comfortable living rooms with either a Kiva fireplace or a wood-burning stove, and a private patio garden or deck with a gas barbecue. Spend the evening in your queen-sized bed made with either fine cotton or flannel linens (depending on the season) and an oversized goose down comforter and pillows, and then, in the morning, enjoy a three-course breakfast made with local, organic produce, such as berries picked from the inn’s strawberry and raspberry patches, apples from the orchards, and dishes made with the fresh eggs collected from the Richard’s chickens that roam freely in the backyard.

Cedar House Inn & Yurts

Dahlonega, GA

Cedar House Inn & Yurts

Located in the heart of the North Georgia wine country approximately one hour north of Atlanta, this adults-only eco-friendly bed and breakfast and certified wildlife habitat is a popular green getaway destination among artists, environmentalists, and outdoor enthusiasts. As devoted permaculturists, innkeepers Fred and Mary Beth Tanner have planted more than 300 trees and 30 varieties of edible plants on the property to encourage wildlife, provide food, and reduce the carbon footprint of their guests. The interior of the inn is decorated in the rustic style of a mountain lodge with rough sawn cedar walls and ceilings in the living and dining rooms, quarry tile floors covered by colorful oriental rugs, and exposed posts and beams. The three guest rooms offer a southern or western exposure, and all feature queen-sized beds covered in quilts, small refrigerators for keeping beverages cold, individual climate control units, and private bathrooms stocked with all-natural soaps, rosemary mint shampoo, and eucalyptus shower gel. The more adventurous guests can choose to stay in one of the two unique yurts (canvas tent-like structures that sit on a wooden deck) tucked down the small hill behind the inn where queen-sized beds and simulated wood stoves offer a “glamping” experience. After a full lacto-ovo vegetarian breakfast, hike the nearby Appalachian Trail, visit scene waterfalls such as Amicalola Falls and DeSoto Falls, or go kayaking, canoeing, or tubing down the Etowah or Chestatee Rivers.

The Inn at Locke House

Lockeford, CA

The Inn at Locke House

This charming bed and breakfast housed in a neo-Georgian white brick farmhouse is located in the heart of California’s Central Valley Lodi Wine Appellation, making it the perfect retreat for those planning a romantic wine country getaway. Innkeepers Richard, Lani, and Kerri Erklund have strategically placed solar panels on the barn roof and in the field to generate nearly all of the inn’s electricity and have installed energy-efficient appliances throughout the property. The Main House offers three light-filled guestrooms, while a secluded three-level suite is available in the Water Tower. All of the rooms feature individual climate control, fireplaces, and large private bathrooms and are furnished with restored Locke family heirlooms to reflect the inn’s history and simple elegance. In the morning, wake up to the breathtaking views of the Mokelumne River bluffs and enjoy a glorious breakfast prepared with fresh, local organic products and ingredients, with a guest favorite being Lani’s Orange French Toast topped with seasonal berries and toasted walnuts and served with freshly-made orange syrup. Menus can be adapted to accommodate those with special dietary needs or restrictions. After breakfast, enjoy the property’s lush gardens full of native plants or venture out to explore the orchards, vineyards, and ranches that distinguish the gateway to the nearby Sierra Gold Country.

Mercury Inn

Portland, ME

Mercury Inn

This stunning bed and breakfast housed in a classic Victorian building in the heart of Portland’s historic Parkside neighborhood has been recently renovated and updated with a modern interior featuring clean lines and vibrant colors. Innkeepers Tim Karu and Jacob Krueger have committed themselves to creating an inn that is both environmentally and economically sustainable by replacing all light fixtures with low-energy LED bulbs, repainting the interior with nontoxic zero-VOC paint, recycling and composting, and using goods made from post-consumer recycled materials. The six guestrooms, one of which is a two-room suite, are furnished with vintage and locally-made pieces, and each features a private ensuite bathroom stocked with all-natural plant-based bath products in reusable dispensers. After a restful night’s sleep, sit back and watch as Tim and Jacob engage in one of their greatest joys – introducing guests to the regional food they love, using seasonal ingredients sourced from local farms and purveyors. Depending on the time of year, breakfast may include House-Made Wild Maine Blueberry Muffins, Apple Cinnamon Steel-Cut Oats, and Savory Cabot Cheddar Bread with bottomless cups of light and dark roast fair trade, organic coffees and McIntosh Blend Apple Cider. After breakfast, allow Tim and Jacob assist you in planning your sightseeing tour of Portland, as they’ll be more than happy to recommend destinations, restaurants, and shops to explore during your stay.

Milkweed Mercantile Eco Inn

Rutledge, MO

Milkweed Mercantile Eco Inn

Located at Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage in northeastern Missouri, this unique eco-friendly inn provides an entirely green alternative to a traditional bed and breakfast, allowing guests to experience a completely sustainable lifestyle. The inn is housed in a spacious two-story building that is solar- and wind-powered and features a café that serves organic meals made with local, seasonal ingredients as well as a general stores that sells handcrafted items, organic food products, and ethically-sourced eco items. The building itself is constructed from 18-inch-thick straw bales covered with hydrated lime plaster, while the interior walls and ceilings are built from either sheetrock or reclaimed and locally harvested lumber. Rainwater is harvested, stored in a 7,000-gallon cistern built underneath the front porch, and filtered to provide all of the water for drinking, cooking, and bathing. To create a cozy setting on cooler days, the inn is heated with a highly-efficient fireplace that burns wood that has been discarded from a local furniture company and pallet mill or harvested sustainably from other local sources. The four guestrooms are all comfortably furnished but lack phones and televisions to allow guests to unplug and reconnect with the natural beauty and stillness of the surrounding prairie atmosphere. In the morning, dine on the signature Stuffed French Toast made with freshly baked sourdough bread, layered with house-made jam and organic cream cheese, and served with butter and real maple syrup.

Pinehurst Inn

Bayfield, WI

Pinehurst Inn

Situated on Lake Superior three miles south of Bayfield, Wisconsin on the northernmost tip of the state, this eco-friendly bed and breakfast offers easy access to the area known as “the gateway to the Apostle Islands”, making it an ideal for those who love sailing and kayaking in the summer and skiing and dog-sledding in the winter. With five guestrooms in the historic Main House and three guestrooms in the relatively modern environmentally-green Garden House, the Pinehurst Inn, which has been certified by Travel Green Wisconsin, provides a serene setting for those looking to rejuvenate both the mind and the body. All rooms include a king- or queen-sized bed, private bathroom with a whirlpool or claw-foot bathtub, a fireplace, and spectacular views of Pikes Creek, with the rooms in the Garden House also featuring private decks looking out on the perennial gardens and access to the on-site day spa. Keeping the environment in mind, innkeepers Steve and Nancy Sandstrom use solar panels to heat the water, provide guests with organic cotton and other eco-friendly linens, use non-toxic cleaning products and recycled materials where appropriate, and rely on energy-efficient appliances and lighting. In the morning, enjoy a soul-warming breakfast in the Main House that features organic and locally-grown ingredients, making sure to leave room for freshly baked sweet treats such as their famous Raspberry Streusel Coffee Cake and their signature Vegetable Quiche made with seasonal vegetables and fresh basil.

Thyme in the Country

Hudson, NY

Thyme in the Country

As the only eco-friendly inn in the upstate town of Hudson, New York, this quaint bed and breakfast offers a lifestyle that revolves around green practices that minimize guests’ environmental impact, as well as a style of hospitality that is warm and wholesome. Three solar panels provide two-thirds of the inn’s electricity, and innkeeper Mary Koch conserves water by using energy-efficient appliances for dishwashing and laundry, as well as collecting rainwater in barrels for the on-site organic vegetable, herb, and flower gardens. The three welcoming guest rooms feature cozy beds with organic mattresses made up with natural fiber bedding, private bathrooms filled with organic toiletries and handmade soaps. Enjoy picturesque views of the pond that attracts a diverse bird community and the five acres of meadows filled with all sorts of indigenous wildlife. In the morning, Mary prepares hearty breakfasts with organic and locally-sourced ingredients before sending you on your way. Explore the charming shops and boutiques in town, relax in the comfortably appointed common rooms, nap in the hammocks out in the gardens, or lounge alongside the inn’s salt-filtered swimming pool. If you find yourself hungry throughout the day, Mary always keeps the guest pantry is stocked with tea, cold drinks, and homemade baked goods to snack on in the afternoons.