A slice of paradise isn’t too far away

The Nature Inn at Bald Eagle has been named USA Today’s Best Eco-Friendly Hotel, beating out contenders such as The Orchard Hotel in San Francisco and The Ritz Carlton in Charlotte, N.C.

The LEED Gold Certified hotel narrowly edged The Crash Pad in Chattanooga, Tenn., for the title, assistant innkeeper Cody Wolfe said. The day before the results were announced, The Nature Inn sat in second place.

“We’re just super excited,” Wolfe said. “All the hard work of trying to do everything with the environment in mind and it’s obviously not easy, from the chemicals we use to just everyday thought processes on everything we do in the hotel. So to finally be recognized for that nationally was pretty exciting.”

“Especially for such a small property, the other properties we were competing with were all over the country, places in Vegas, some massive properties as well, so that was pretty neat.”

Sustainability is not just a buzzword for the green retreat, but rather a raison d’être. From watering the plants to heating the building, just about everything in and around the hotel is reused, recycled or rejuvenated. Wolfe hopes that for visitors in particular, the latter is true.

With the distinction, his point may be proven: The competition was based on number of votes.

“I think it says folks are not always looking to vacation in these exotic areas,” he said. “You can vacation locally and still actually make more of a difference than going out to some of these larger properties. I think people like that fact that you can maybe go 30 minutes or two hours to a little lodge overlooking a lake and have just a great experience.”

Roger Van Scyoc: 814-231-4698, @rogervanscy