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June 2008

Our Members Speak Out

The Woodstocker Inn, Woodstock, VT

Question for July/August: Little things often make a big difference. What are the small touches and special amenities at your inn that guests rave about?

Email your responses to
Sandy@BedandBreakfast.com. If we publish your comments, we’ll thank you with a $25 credit in our Featured Properties Auction program!

You were asked: What are your suggestions for the 10  things that make your inn green? Please add any other comments or suggestions for ways that green travel has a positive impact on your marketing and operations.

"One unique thing we started that may be considered green, are our "Work Week/ends." For a $25 registration fee, guests can stay "free" at the Elkhorn Inn, while helping us continue our never-ending restoration of our historic Inn. It's great fun for people who are into history, historic preservation, are thinking about buying an inn, or want to restore an historic property, "This Old House" & DIY wannabes, etc., and students can sometimes get credit for participating, as well. We modeled our program after a successful program at a Cape May, NJ, B&B, and our first "Work Weekend" was featured both on TV and in the press. We've had several groups come to help us, and more planned, and it's been a success. We set up such weeks throughout the year, especially during the slow times in the winter and very early spring.

"We also help to actively promote green events, such as the recent "Elkhorn Creek Clean-Up", sponsored by Trout Unlimited. Our "Trout Guys" are long-time Elkhorn Inn guests, and whenever they have an event, we not only put it on our website, but we post the info on the fishing internet chat rooms we belong to, email the press releases to our media contacts, etc. We are also posting the voluntary Catch-&-Release Fishing signs on our property to help preserve our great little trout stream – we have some of the biggest trout going in Elkhorn Creek: 24" - 32"! – and we want to keep it that way.

"Our Inn's main target markets are a fairly green bunch by definition: trout fishermen and women, rail fans, ATV fans and others coming for outdoor fun in the southern WV mountains, photographers, teachers, hunters, Cultural Heritage Tourism folks, leaf-peepers, golfers... These are all folks who truly care about the environment.

"We have a vegetable/herb/fruit garden, which we are always adding to, and if guests want to, they are welcome to work in the garden or pick strawberries or veggies when they're ripe... And nothing compares to pesto made fresh from our own basil, or garden-fresh tomatoes in a salad!
We have our bird feeders, butterfly bushes, and such, to bring in the birds and butterflies that we and our guests enjoy. And even though there is no official recycling in McDowell Co., we recycle and reuse what we can, make compost, and use our paper refuse in the fireplace.

"We have, however, stayed with our mini Inn-logo toiletries in our guest rooms, although several B&Bs we know have switched to bulk toiletries to be greener. Our guests love the signature toiletries and often take them home, along with our logo... and that's important." -- Elisse Goldstein-Clark, Elkhorn Inn & Theatre, Landgraff, WV

"Here are our top 10 plus one things to make our inn green.

  1. Recycle all paper, bottles, cans etc and leave the recycling containers outside the check-in entrance. Pretty they’re not, but socially aware folks will notice them and use them.

  2. Use organic cleaning products. In some place you have to use bleach, but keep its use to a minimum. Soap is a natural disinfectant. For more impassioned information, contact Larry Pleasant, owner of Vermont Organics. What he doesn’t know about soap is not worth knowing! Use ecologically sensitive washing powder, and let towels dry on a line if feasible. If a guest thinks the towels are hard, prick their conscience; the rough towel acts as a natural skin exfoliation item, and they’re not that rough!

  3. Use local foods, not necessarily organic but ones that have a low carbon footprint.

  4. Use recycled bath tissue. It is better at doing the job than cheap brands. Your guests will notice!

  5. Use energy efficient light bulbs.

  6. Get guests to think about walking from their car when unloading. Most cases have wheels.

  7. Plant a window box, tub, flower bed.

  8. Use linens made of organic cotton if replacing towels/sheets/towels.

  9. Use local/organic guest amenities. Cut a bar of soap rather than have a small one wrapped in paper. Put a house brick in your WC water tank (assuming it is a non-water efficient one). It means the tank fills up with less water, flushes with less water and you save money!

  10. Turn down thermostats when windows are open. Replace old worn out oil furnaces with 21st century propane; it burns cleaner and quieter and saves on the annual service.

  11. Most importantly, drive your own car less, and when you change it, get one that gets over 35 miles to the gallon. We predict gas will be at least $5 a gallon by the end of 2009. It’s $9.50 gallon in the UK now!"

-- Dora, David and Stanley, The Woodstocker Inn, Woodstock, VT


"With a name like Backyard Garden Oasis, one can assume that being green is something that we’ve been doing since our inception almost 11 years ago.

  1. All light bulbs that could be changed have been changed to energy efficient bulbs. Higher equivalent watts are necessary to get the same amount of light. These bulbs don’t work with dimmer switches.

  2. All internal lighting is on dimmer switches, which allow for lower wattage usage most of the time.

  3. Outdoor lighting is all on motion detectors, so lights are only on when they are needed. A side benefit is that there is little ambient light created, so the stars are bright and clear.

  4. Extra insulation was used during construction to reduce the need for heat or air conditioning.

  5. We switched to a time-of-use meter several years ago to reduce the cost of electricity.

  6. All food from the kitchen, leaves and grass clippings are used to make compost which is used to create a flourishing garden.

  7. Food from the garden is used at meals, resulting in fewer gas guzzling trips to the market.

  8. Only biodegradable cleaners are used.

  9. Linens are all cotton … polyester is made from oil!

  10. Timers are key to using water and pumps efficiently. These pumps are for the waterfall and for irrigation."

-- Greta Zeit, Backyard Garden Oasis B&B, Middletown, CA

"One of the green things we do is compost. With all the fruit salads we make here, the compost fills up pretty fast. I also put the dryer lint in the mix. We get wonderful mulch to mix in with our garden the next spring, and do the flowers and herbs ever GROW!" -- Dave & Sharon Dahle, Victorian House B&B, Smiths Grove, KY


  1. "We hang our laundry out to dry at least six months a year. The sheets smell better, and it’s healthier to have the microscopic skin particles that didn't drain with the water drift off in the breeze.

  2. Whatever we can’t hang outdoors, we drape over chairs and hang on hooks (when guests aren’t here). This keeps the house humidified in the winter and also cuts down on electricity.

  3. We use cage-free eggs. Why should we serve our guests food we wouldn’t eat ourselves?

  4. We use organic products as much as possible: fruits, breads, yoghurt, milk. That means hormone and additive free, too.

  5. We use no pesticides or herbicides on our property. Children can play and roll on the lawn without getting poisoned. We also have a great time and keep in shape pulling weeds.

  6. We compost everything except colored paper, meat, sweets and dairy products, and use the compost on the garden.

  7. We recycle. We use wood chips from the city’s recycling facility and other recycled products. We buy our furniture used, and these yard sale treasures adorn every room in the house, and our garden. Beautiful vintage linens adorn tables and beds.

  8. We cut our own flowers from the garden and flowering shrubs for the dining room, living rooms and guest rooms.

  9. When we buy early spring flowering bulbs like narcissus to perfume the air, or daffodils to usher in spring early, we replant in the garden to come up again next year.

  10. We don’t throw out our plants when they’re done flowering – our orchid is happily in its third year of growing and flowering, and our poinsettia is happy on the window sill."

-- Diana Henry, Lathrop House B&B, Springfield, MA

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