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Eco-Conscious Travels In the Garden State

By M+E Staff

At home, it is easy to keep your carbon foot print a bit smaller, using energy efficient bulbs, separating your recycling, using reusable bags at the grocery store etc. However, on the go it gets a little harder to maintain that eco-friendly lifestyle. That is not the case in New Jersey; there are numerous ways to maintain a small carbon foot print while traveling.

Ecotourism: tourism to places having unspoiled natural resources, with minimal impact on the environment. Haven’t heard of it? New Jersey is working to maintain this status by taking a long, hard look our impact on the planet. An example of ecotourism is shown at the Lakota Wolf Preserve in Columbia. As a past winner of the Governor’s Tourism Award for Best Ecotourism site, the property offers the chance to observe four different packs of wolves in their natural habitat during guided wolf watches.

If you are looking for environmental comfort, try the Element Ewing-Hopewell. The Element hotel chain is an eco-friendly property pursuing certification as a high-performing building from the U.S. Green Building Council. The Element utilizes efforts to cut down on waste by using shampoo dispensers in showers to get rid of plastic bottles, as well as implementing recycling bins in each room. Crystal Spring Resort in Vernon offsets its greenhouse gases through My Climate, a nonprofit foundation for climate protection. The resort also waters its golf course using treated septic water.

Like to be organic but don’t know if there is an option for it? Don’t worry. Raise a guilt-free glass at Finesville’s Villa Milagro Vineyards. The land here is worked using organic and sustainable methods such as herbicide- and pesticide-free harvesting. The vineyard offers wine tastings, tours, cooking classes and events throughout the year for both experts and newcomers. Otherwise, you can support a local farm at A Toute Huere, where they use locally grown ingredients whenever possible on the weekly changing menu. This BYO bistro is located in Cranford and resides in a restored home in the Centennial Village. Toute Huere not only supports local farms but also composts all food scraps, as well as uses green technology throughout the restaurant.

Driving can be expensive while traveling due to the cost for renting a car, high gas prices, or paying for cabs. Why not try out the ever growing network of paved bike trails brought to you by Patriots’ Path? These paths are not exclusive to just biking, but also include hiking and equestrian trails as well. The paths begin in East Hanover and bring a leisure cyclist through several counties. Along the way, one can soak in the sites, which include the George Griswold Felinghuysen Arboretum in Morristown, Cooper Gristmill in Chester, as well as various parks and environmental high points. If biking catches your interest, HART Commuter Information Services is a great resource for biking information for Hunterdon County and surrounding areas.

Whether you are a foodie, looking to get away and relax, or wanting to see the great outdoors of the Garden State, there are ways to do it all while reducing your carbon footprint at the same time.