When I visit a new city or a new town, I like to check out how eco-friendly it is. I get a kick out of acting like a “green” inspector and try to see what I’d consider ‘green’. It’s for fun but it’s also educational.
I had to drive down to Virginia Beach last weekend for a fencing tournament with Emily and I stayed at Fairfield Inn, on the beach. The traffic I ran into on the way down was worth the view from the room.
Virginia Beach boasts itself of its famous boardwalk made of concrete that stretches 3 miles. It is so pedestrian and bicyclist friendly that this feature alone gets five green hearts from me. You see the lane with a yellow line going down the middle? That is for bikers. You can rent bicycles for one person to six people everywhere. Yes, 6 people! I saw this huge rick shaw that can fit up to six people on that bike lane. The wider path is for walkers and runners. And intermittently, there are water stations for drinking and faucets for washing off sands from your toes. There are more than 40 oceanfront hotels with direct access to the boardwalk and the beach as well as many restaurants and eateries like Dairy Queen. The main road, Atlantic Ave. also has designated bike lanes and bus lanes. There are pedestrian crosswalks on every corner and the whole main drag was low key and walker friendly.
Unfortunately, the hotel itself was not ‘green’ as even the most minimal way a hotel can go “green” was not practiced – changing incandescent bulb to CFL! But it did leave it’s proverbial, “Help us to be eco-friendly by reusing your towels.” placards on the beds. Now, that’s a green-washing practice if I ever saw one. What they really mean is that they want to save money by not washing your towels every day. I agree that it’s a waste to wash towels and sheets every day when you don’t even do that at home. But for hotels to use that excuse as being eco-friendly when they don’t even use one CFL bulb in the whole place definitely does not have the environment in mind.
However, the Virginia Convention Center was definitely an eco-building. Next to the parking spots for the disabled, there were rows of parking spots for “hybrid cars” or “electric cars”, empowering those who drive them and making others know that those type of cars will get preferential treatments. Recycling bins for bottles and plastic were next to every garbage can – that’s rare for a convention center and I’ve been to many many convention centers. The bathroom fixtures were all automated and motion sensitive so as not to waste water, soap, and hand towels. There were framed signs on the bathroom walls to educate people about being “green” such as these.
This trip was special as it was just me and Emily traveling for her fencing. And she was sad to leave when we had to.
And I was too because I met Rikkianne, from Chakrapennywhistle, whom I’ve been leading Team EcoEtsy with, for the first time…and her cutie patootie pie daughter, Mia and geeky, smart husband Dave (a handsome librarian, really).
She gave me this beautiful pillow,
a wallet made out of money bag for Andrew (since he’ll be attending Boston College undergrad business school),
and this vintage tea towel/apron for Emily (since she loves to cook.) She thought of everything!
All handmade, silk screened with water based ink on either organic canvas or re-purposed money bag. I can’t wait until she opens her store. She promises she’ll open soon with a brand new line of eco-goodies.