Archive for December, 2009

Worldwide Organic Farming!

We recently happened upon a great little morsel on Alternet.com featuring different eco-travel options. This was one of our favorites!

The World-Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF), a worldwide network of organic farms, welcome travelers in exchange for help on the farm. In the U.S., WWOOF-USA issues a quarterly directory of participating farms around country, while WWOOFs in other countries do the same.  Interested people contact interested parties and the arranging goes from there. A registration fee between $20 and $50 U.S. is required, as is the cost of transportation to the farm, but I’ve met people doing this on an organic farm in Maui where there are  about  40 different organic farms.  All I remember is hearing them say is that they had know become lifetime “WWOOFers.”

Check it out and, perhaps, connecting to the earth through a stint at an organic farm is exactly the kind of Resolution you’re looking for in 2010!

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An Eco-Chic Christmas

We’re wild about the Christmas holidays.

Sure, we know there are plenty of people who get downright depressed and we’ve been there too. No summer sunshine, dark winter clouds… we get it.  Which is also why we think that Christmas is precisely the time to get into that fireplace, hot cocoa, bourbon induced haze of pumpkin pies and ham… without losing out on the feel of a chic summer.

To that end, we spotted the new green hotel in Cornwall, The Scarlet Hotel, one of the UK’s most stylish eco-chic hotels. Their beauty is only matched by their list of green techniques: grey-water harvesting, biomass heating, and a natural saltwater pool make this the perfect place to get into the holiday christmas spirit without losing out on your love of eco-style. You won’t be greeted with cheesy Christmas carols or traditional holiday chintz, but you can expect seasonal Michelin-quality modern cooking, log-fired outdoor hot-tub pods overlooking the sea, and Santorini style chill-out areas that bring back thoughts of that one Grecian summer. It’s like the best of both worlds all in one place. An Eco Chic Winter Summer Holiday with a little of everything in between.

Four-night Christmas break from £730pp, half board.

www.scarlethotel.co.uk

Green Holiday Gifts

A little birdie just informed us of a great new website for all of you vegan, eco-friendly fashion and accessories lovers. Alternative Outfitters has read your holiday list and, apparently, they’ve checked it twice. Wow… that was corny, wasn’t it?  Pretend we didn’t say that.

Stocked with fashionable and fabulous goods for women and men at recessionista-friendly prices, they’ve got everything from faux wool coats and recyclable shopping bags to pleather purses and faux suede boots.  So, for those who scoff at leather, Alternative Outfitters is taking holiday shopping to the next eco-minded, green-thinking, vegan-living level.

http://www.AlternativeOutfitters.com

Taking Detox to New Heights

While hunting out the best design properties with a unique twist, we came across a little gem hidden high up in the alpine forests of… Italy!

Blending almost invisibly in to a landscape of snow-capped peaks and deep valleys, Vigilius Mountain Resort, an alpine hotel created by star architect Matteo Thun, offers the ultimate in eco-spa retreats. Only accessible by cable car or on foot, this 35-room eco-luxury hideaway benefits from a remote location with fresh mountain air, stunning vistas of green valleys studded with vineyards, pools filled with spring water and complete… silence.

The large spa follows a five pillar concept: The seclusion of the mountains, the use of pure Vigilius water, the professional spa team, the personal trainer team and the cuisine with fresh and healthy ingredients. The interaction of these five pillars is referred to as the “vigilius lifestyle” which helps guests achieve a healthy and holistic way of living.
For those in need of some legitimate serenity and detox, here this: the spa provides: 11 treatment rooms, a hot tub, an indoor pool, a sauna and a Turkish steam room. Large windows draw nature into the rooms and blur the boundaries between inside and outside, revealing unlimited views of the Dolomite Alps. The outside spa area features a sun terrace and the paradise garden, a small courtyard with 100-year-old larches.

Combining local and Asian spa traditions with premium products, there are over 40 treatments using products such as Sodashi, a range of all natural skincare products (and developers of a fabulous jet lag recovery gel). Massages and facials include unique treatments like a hay bath with local herbs and a polenta peeling with South Tyrolean apples, corn and honey. There are regular yoga workshops or lessons with the aforementioned personal trainer who carries out exercises outdoors. Of course!

The hotel is certainly a sight to see… created by focusing on the hotel’s relationship with the surrounding nature and landscape.

The principle of “organic architecture” is expressed in elements such as a grass-covered roof and the use of natural larch wood throughout. Outside, the hotel’s wooden and glass facades blend with the environment, while inside eco-friendly design prevails. The hotel has been awarded several prizes for sustainable tourism with an ecological based concept, including five green stars from Eco Hotels of the World in 2009. With 35 rooms and 6 suites the resort also features a library, piazza lounge and two restaurants with South Tyrolean and Italian contemporary cuisine.

Vigilius Mountain Resort is within driving distance of Milan, Venice, Munich, Zurich, Verona & Innsbruck and 20 minutes from Bolzano, Italy. There are 3 flights per day with ‘Air Alps’ via Rome to Bolzano and 3 flights per day via Munich to Bolzano.

So what do you say? Time for a little detox… at 4,000 feet?

Rates at around €245/night

www.designhotels.com/vigilius

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