Brooklyn, NY (PRWEB) May 13, 2010
EscapeMaker.com, the guide to local weekend getaways within a day's drive or train ride of New York City, is partnering with the Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce, Amtrak, Enterprise, as well as 8 Saratoga Springs area hotels, motels and bed and breakfasts to offer "Green Getaways A-Z" overnight packages.
Since EscapeMaker.com launched in 2000, its primary mission has been to educate weary urbanites about local getaways from the city - with a special focus on car-free getaways accessible by mass-transit. Saratoga Springs, known for its spas, racing, parks, unique shops and restaurants, is their flagship "green destination" - defined as a collection of tourism-related businesses in one area focused on sustainable tourism, improving and greening their own operations and delivering an eco-friendly getaway experience for the visitor.
Our "Green Getaways A-Z" program has been a labor of love and a long-time in the making, says Caylin Sanders, President of EscapeMaker.com. "As far as I could tell, there were a lot of eco-escapes out there, but no one area that was promoting themselves as a 'green getaway.' 100% participation is unrealistic of course, but there had to be enough eco-minded lodgings, restaurants and attractions in one place that was also accessible by mass transit for the traveler who wanted a green experience from A-Z."
Three years ago, Sanders consulted with Strategic Sustainability Consulting of Washington D.C. to develop a green self-audit guide for lodgings. She then approached long-time colleagues Greg Dixon of the Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce and Bill Hollister and Debbie Sanderson of Amtrak Marketing about a partnership to promote Saratoga Springs as the first "Green Getaway from A-Z" using Amtrak as a mode of travel.
Dixon worked with area tourism businesses to gather research and work toward more sustainable practices. "It was slow to take shape," says Dixon, "but many of our hotels, innkeepers, attractions and restaurant owners have started making the improvements necessary to achieve their sustainability goals and get official green certifications. They see the future of tourism and are excited to be a part of it."
The "Green Getaways A-Z Saratoga package" includes:
- 2 night's accommodations and tax, some lodgings include breakfast
- Dinner for two at a participating "green" restaurant
- Admission to two area museums
- Admission to Saratoga Spa State Park or Moreau Lake State Park
Add-on components include:
- Transportation discounts on Amtrak, hybrid rental cars from Enterprise (14 days advance notice required) or a standard rental car that has a good MPG rating and local CDTA bus passes.
- Bike and Helmet rentals for two
- Additional attraction admissions
Packages start at $146 per person and are listed on EscapeMaker.com's website at http://www.escapemaker.com/greentravel
8 participating lodgings include: Hilton Garden Inn, Springwater Bed and Breakfast, The Saratoga Farmstead, Holiday Inn Saratoga Springs, The Robinhood Motel, The Saratoga Downtowner, the Hyatt Place - Saratoga/Malta and the Westchester House B&B.
In addition, Amtrak is extending their ILOVENY 20% off discount as a transportation add-on to anyone who books a package leaving from any New York destination or departing Penn Station. EscapeMaker.com is also offering a special link to their corporate Enterprise 5% discount to anyone who books a hybrid car.
The Saratoga lodgings, some of them already green-certified by New York State and national programs have also rated themselves 0-3 butterflies in EscapeMaker.com's Green Self-Audit Survey, which are guidelines developed in 9 areas from water to energy conservation to community outreach.
EscapeMaker does not enforce these guidelines and self-rating is purely on an honor system.
"Of course there are LEED certifications and national certification programs out there which we encourage people to apply for," says Sanders, "but we also wanted a way for lodgings and tourism businesses -- particularly smaller ones, to be able to show their existing green practices and communicate their long-term sustainability goals to guests. We've now opened up the survey to all Northeast and Mid-Atlantic lodgings and tourism businesses listing with us, so they too can participate."
In the next year EscapeMaker.com hopes to add more packages to its green travel section, as well as add more destinations to its roster like the Meadowlands of NJ and Wilmington, DE. Sanders comments "It's all about businesses coming together like they have done in Saratoga Springs to show visitors that traveling green is not only responsible, but also fun and affordable."
For more information on green packages, Saratoga Springs, and eco-friendly getaway ideas visit EscapeMaker.com's Green Travel section. http://www.escapemaker.com/greentravel