Most people would agree the single greatest thing about the Shenandoah Valley is its natural beauty. And keeping the Valley natural is a goal of the state’s Virginia Green program—designed to encourage green practices in the tourism industry.
Virginia Green is run as a partnership among the Department of Environmental Quality, the Virginia Tourism Corporation and the Virginia Restaurant, Lodging and Travel Association. Virginia Green partner businesses must certify that they have taken active steps to reduce environmental impacts. Recycling, energy and water conservation, smart thermostats, low-flow plumbing, eco-tours and other sustainable practices are typical examples.
Shadow Mountain Escape in Luray, for instance, has earned Virginia Green’s Cabin of the Year title twice. Shadow Mountain has its own on-site recycling center, allowing clean, effective organic trash management and recycling of glass, plastic, aluminum, cardboard and metals. It’s wildlife-proof, too, which is critical as Shadow Mountain’s property borders Shenandoah National Park.
Montfair Resort Farm in Crozet is another business that puts a high priority on green practices. Their cottages were built using green building materials, plus they use green cleaning supplies (no bleach in the laundry) and eco-friendly toiletries. Water and energy are saved with an optional linen service. Everything from their print brochure to the toilet paper is produced with recycled stock. Energy-efficient lights and low-flow faucets and toilets are employed as well.
At L’Auberge Provencale in White Post, Celeste Borel said, “We have always believed in supporting local farmers and growing our own produce, herbs, and fruit as to lessen the impact of shipping and also ensure the quality of our cuisine. We use all LED lighting in our rooms and recycle whatever is possible. We have an electric car station for our customers to charge their cars while they are here. It can be used for Tesla as well as other electric and hybrid vehicles. It is important to us to aid in a small way to cut down on the car emissions.
“As the beginning of the Potomac watershed,” Borel continued, “we have always been conscious of our role in maintaining the quality of our water and the amount we use. We have extensive testing every month of our water system, unlike the Airbnb crowd, which seems not to follow any rules. We monitor all water usage and report it to the State of Virginia.”
If you are looking for ways that you can help protect the environment, consider patronizing a business that has taken steps to becoming Virginia Green. Certified Virginia Green Lodging options in the Valley include the following. (A more complete list may be found at Virginia Green Lodging; and Virginia Green Restaurants are listed here.)
All Star Lodging Cabin Rentals, Luray
Applewood Inn and Llama Trekking, Lexington
Big Meadows Lodge, Shenandoah National Park
By the Side of the Road Inn and Cottages, Harrisonburg
Comfort Inn, Harrisonburg
Hampton Inn, Harrisonburg
Lewis Mountain Cabins, Luray
Massanutten Resort, MaGaheysville
Natural Bridge Historic Hotel and Conference Center, Natural Bridge
Peaks of Otter Lodge, Bedford
Piney Hill Bed and Breakfast, Luray
Skyland, Shenandoah National Park
South Court Inn, Luray
Steeles Tavern Manor and Alpine Hideaway Cottages, Steeles Tavern
Stonewall Jackson Hotel and Conference Center, Staunton
The Mimslyn Inn, Luray
The Village Inn, Harrisonburg
Events, attractions, and even conferences and meetings may also be designated Virginia Green. Learn more about the effort at Virginia.org/green.
Photo: Cave Ridge Vineyard courtesy Shenandoah County Tourism