a fresh squeeze, August 26, 2008
Escape Chicago on an Eco-Trip
Record high gas prices and concern about using fossil fuels need not confine you to Chicago all summer. Only 90 miles away (less than one tank of gas round-trip), it’s easy to spend an environmentally friendly Labor Day weekend on Lake Michigan in Sawyer, Michigan.
First, plan on booking a room at the area’s newest eco-friendly lodging spot, the Rabbit Run Inn, open since Memorial Day. Stay in one of four rooms that combine beautiful eco-friendly design, comfort and privacy, and share a large backyard with a gazebo and a frog pond with the owners, Rodney and Linda Jo Clough.
After seeing An Inconvenient Truth, they planned to renovate their own house and build the inn in the most eco-conscious way they could. “We decided to do geothermal heating and air-conditioning,” said Linda Jo.
They also incorporated tile floors, remnant counters, ceiling fans, environmentally-sensitive bath products and low-impact linens throughout the inn. Each room comes with a small refrigerator stocked with local cheese and fruit, and each guest is greeted with a bottle of wine from the nearby Tabor Hill Winery. In the morning, you can make your own coffee, espresso or tea in your room and enjoy fresh scones and muffins delivered to your door on your own private deck.
Bernadette Lynch, owner of the nearby Lark and Pear Coffee and Tea House makes the muffins and scones for the Rabbit Run Inn. She uses local fruit in her baked goods, brews free-trade coffee and emphasizes minimal packaging and recycling of the paper products she uses.
After breakfast, head to one of the nearby beaches, including the Warren Dunes State Park. Feel free to leave your car at the Inn. “We provide bicycles for our (adult) guests,” says Linda Jo.
A morning of swimming and playing in the sand is likely to make you hungry for lunch, so head to Luisa’s Café in nearby Harbert for a meal that features local produce. You can enjoy home-made soups, quiche and pizza from the wood-burning grill in the back.
If you plan a visit to Sawyer by mid-late August, head to The Blueberry Patch, and pick your own blueberries. The visitor’s stand will provide you with a bucket, and all you need to do is walk among the fragrant blueberry bushes, picking the ripe berries.
To complete your day in Sawyer, head down Sawyer Ave to the center of town. You can buy enough local produce at the expansive Sawyer Garden Center to fill you refrigerator at home for the next week. Peaches, melon, string beans and tomatoes are all available now.
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