6 Eco-Friendly Weekend Ideas To Welcome Fall and Beat the End of Summer Blues 

Eco-Friendly Fall Weekend trips

Good bye long days, warm weather, light clothes and the great outdoors. All around the Northern hemisphere schools are reopening, thus marking the unofficial end of the summer. This change of season can be saddening, if not traumatic (yes, we know a few beach animals!), for some, that’s why we put together a few ideas for short eco-friendly trips and activities to beat the end of summer blues. 

 Fruit Picking season 

Cranberry Harvest
Cranberry bog during harvest time

Sugars are always great mood boosters, and they can be healthy too if they are natural and one has to work to get them. During the months of September and October, apple picking is a major tradition across the US. From pick your own to full scale apple festivals, there are plenty of opportunities to celebrate this popular fruit in all its varieties. The AppleJack Festival is an excellent excuse to visit Nebraska City between September 15 and 17, 2017, but if that’s too far or your taste buds do not appreciate apples there are plenty of alternatives: from cranberry to pumpkins, chestnuts and mushrooms, this season has a lot to offer.  PickYourOwn.org, offers plenty of info on fruit and vegetable harvest and related events.  

Where to stay: Lied Lodge

Lied Lodge: green Hotel in Nebraska City
Ph: Lied Lodge

Originally designed by the Arbor Day Foundation to serve as a space for environmentalists to gather and discuss trees, conservation, and earth stewardship, today the Lied Lodge and Arbor Day farm offer their unique experience to the public, while maintaining the same sustainable business philosophy. The property grounds cover 260 acres and they feature vineyards with weekend wine tastings, woods trails with a spectacular 50-foot tall tree-house and a greenhouse where thousands of saplings are carefully tendered to be ready to ship out for Arbor Day.

Grape harvest festivals 

 

Grape Harvest
Ph: Photo by Thomas Schaefer on Unsplash

Pick, stomp, taste. The end of summer is THE season for wine-making and that’s why we are dedicating a separate section to it. Since the times of Bacchanalia, there are plenty of celebrations for this special harvest throughout the world. Wherever there are vineyards, there are events and festivals. Some vineyards let you pick and stomp the grapes like in old times, most wineries have special events besides the usual tour and tastings. In the US, two regions are particularly renowned for the vineyards: the Finger Lakes in New York and Napa Valley in California, check out those links for all the events and addresses: 

Remember moderation is the key to enjoyment! 

Where to stay: Skyler Hotel (Finger Lakes)

Skyler Hotel, LEED certified hotel in Syracuse (NY)
ph: Skyler Hotel

Syracuse’s first LEED Platinum the Skyler Hotel is a unique combination of industrial minimalism and soothing organic touches. Retro and metro mingle in their original guest rooms that are as eclectic as they are comfortable. From the moment you digitally check in, until you reluctantly say goodbye, you’ll know you’re somewhere specially designed to nurture your spirit while protecting the planet.

Where to stay: Riverpointe Napa Valley Resort

green hotel in Napa Valley: Riverpointe resort
ph: Riverpointe Napa Valley Resort

A small village of colorful, quaint and quiet cottages, the River Pointe Napa Valley Resort is the ideal base to make the most of the region. Located near downtown Napa and by the Silverado Trail, you can go town or country, the choice is yours. The amenities on the premises include swimming pool and hot tubs, bbq and picnic areas; while the area offers many attractions like the Old Faithful Geyser, biplane and balloon tours of Wine Country and the Castello di Amorosa, a full-scale replica of a medieval Italian castle.  

Balloon rides 

ph: Adirondack Balloon Festival

If the end of summer gets you down, a balloon ride can definitely bring up your spirit again. On the East Coast, the Adirondack Balloon Festival (Sept. 21-24) in Glen Falls (NY) will fly up to 100 balloons, including some special shapes to wow the crowds. The craft fair, the activities for kids, several musical performances and a special breakfast in the hangar will easily fill the weekend for the whole family!  

Where to stay: Gideon Putnam

Eco-friendly resort in saratoga Springs: Gideon Putnam
ph: Gideon Putnam

 

After the thrills of the balloon race there is nothing better than to relax in the hot spring waters of nearby Roosevelt Baths & Spa in Saratoga Springs. The guests of the elegant Gideon Putnam hotel can take advantage of several wellness packages at these historic baths that feature naturally effervescent mineral waters. To enjoy all the colors of fall, take a stroll in Saratoga Spa State Park which is just outside the hotel!  

Take a train ride 

Napa Valley Wine train
ph: Winetrain

The changing color of nature are the season’s hottest ticket and one of the most eco-friendly way to enjoy the show is from the train. In the last few years Amtrak has been deploying the vintage dome car on the Downeaster line between Boston and Brunswick, Maine. Thanks to its glass dome on the top of the car, passengers can ride and see in all directions around the train.  On the West Coast of the US it is possible to tour the Napa Valley vineyards by train. Guests will board the Wine Train’s beautifully renovated 1915 Pullman railcars and enjoy fine dining while transported to Napa’s top wineries for an evening of wine tasting, culinary delights and live musical entertainment.   

Immerse yourself in art 

Storm King Art Center
ph: Storm King Art Center

“Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life” said Picasso. Leave negative thoughts behind and let art transport you to new horizons of creativity and cultural discourse. One of the best places to visit in this season is the Storm King Art Center in the Hudson Valley. Every weekend this open-air art gallery offers yoga classes to start the day, beekeeper tours to learn about the art of honeymaking and events for the whole family. The Agrisculpture workshop is one of the most popular events. Led by Agrisculpture founder Amy Lewis Sweetman, participants use natural and recycled materials found on the grounds to create their own installation. This year the workshop will be inspired David Smith’s outdoor sculptures currently on display on the center’s grounds.    

Where to stay: Mohonk Mountain House

 

Mohonk Hotel
Ph. credit: Mohonk Hotel

Nestled in the Hudson Valley, only 90 miles north of New York City, this Victorian castle resort is surrounded by 40,000 acres of pristine forest and protected wildlife. To its guests, this eco-friendly National Historic Landmark resort offers farm-to-table cuisine, an award-winning spa and the oldest historic golf course in the US. Nature guided tours, kayaks, canoes, archery and tomahawk throwing are just some of the activities available on the premises. Numerous trails and climbing spots are accessible in the area. 

Paseo Project: party on the Plaza
ph: Paseo Project

 

Those on the opposite corner of the US, should head down to Taos, New Mexico, on September 23rd to catch the Paseo Project celebrations including installations and performance art. For the last 4 years, this project has brought together art and technology, international artists and STEAM youth programs to create immersive artistic experiences. 

 

Where to stay : Earthship Biotecture

 

Earthship rental
ph: Earthship Biotecture

For a radically sustainable hospitality experience, book a few nights at Earthship Biotecture center. These off-the-grid constructions are completely made of recycled materials, and boast to be “the ultimate in green buildings”.  You can experience living in a truly modern sustainable home, equipped with wifi , tv and all modern comforts, in Taos, New Mexico, on the original site where they were first developed by their inventor, the architect Michael Reynolds.

 

Antique hunting 

Antique hunting is a great fall weekend trip
Photo: Andrew Branch on Unsplash.com

Home decorating is always one of the best remedies against the blues, -especially in view of all the time to be spent indoor in the next months, and antique hunting is the fun and sustainable way to do it. Get out of the city and stop by the roadside country stores, browse their knick-knacks, find the perfect deal, take a break to re-energize by eating fresh food from the local farms. If driving around is not an option, head out for the big antiquing events that bring together hundreds of dealers. On the East coast Adamstown, Pennsylvania, boasts the title of Antiques Capital of the USA thanks to the weekend extravaganzas that bring together thousands of dealers three times a year. The Fall event takes place over the last weekend of September (9/28 to 10/1). 

Where to stay:  Artist’s Inn

The Rose Room at green hotel Artist's Inn
ph: Artist’s Inn

Get transported to another time, at the Artist’s Inn, located in the heart of Amish country. Lovingly restored by an artistic urban couple on the run from the city, this eco-friendly hotel offers several types of accommodations, from an entire cottage to a standard room, all decorated in romantic country style.  

 

On the Pacific Coast, the Ventura Flea Market and Swapmeet on September 24th is the perfect occasion to enjoy the oceanside location while hunting for that unique vintage piece of décor your home has been missing. 

Where to stay: … basically anywhere!

Sheraton, sustainable hotel in Ventura, California
Ph: Sheraton / Starwood

In Ventura there are really many choices to stay in a green hotel, for years the city has been actively promoting green initiatives in partnership with local hospitality venues. Top international chains such as Marriott, Sheraton and Crowne Plaza are all implementing sustainable practices at their hotels in Ventura.