“Eco” doesn’t have to mean austere, said William Powers in The Washington Post. I realized this while gazing up at the high ceilings that “allowed sunlight to warm our bed” in Greensboro, N.C.’s Proximity Hotel. The 4-year-old Proximity was the first U.S. hotel to gain the highest rating from the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, making it a fitting launchpad for seeing a city that’s become a leader in green innovation. The Proximity provides bicycles for guests, and as we glided along the city’s “excellent bike paths,” we saw the beginning of what will be “the country’s first urban greenway loop.” We stopped to sample locally sourced food and to explore Elsewhere, a “living” museum where artists use “recycled material to create interactive sculpture.” I was only in Greensboro one night, to give a lecture about sustainability. As I packed the next day, I wished I had longer to explore the city’s 17-acre bog garden or the Greensboro Arboretum. Next time.
Canada’s ‘St. Andrews-by-the-sea’
“Spotting whales, porpoises, and bald eagles is certainly a good enough reason” to head to southern New Brunswick, said Stephen Jermanok in The Boston Globe. But there are other reasons to visit Canada’s southeastern corner, too. During a recent stay in the old resort town of St. Andrews, we were able to drive across the ocean floor at low tide to Ministers Island and tour the opulent former home of a railway magnate. In the small town itself, we visited a country manor with manicured grounds and “roses that smell so sweet it almost immobilizes you.” Next door, in Kingsbrae Garden, we found a “joyous mix of beauty and whimsy geared to all ages,” including a garden where we could “smell the pineapple sage and touch the soft leaves of the lamb’s ears.” We dipped in and out of the town’s 19th-century homes, many of them now shops or galleries. There was time for a whale-watching trip, too. Afterward, on the wharf, we compared notes on our sightings over a piping-hot bowl of chowder.