Experience Eco-Friendly Lodging in New York State

The rhythms of our cottage retreat, Thyme in the Country, revolve around green practices: recycling, using renewable resources as much as possible, minimizing our environmental impact in every decision we make, supporting and interacting with the local community in Hudson and surrounding towns, and sharing the knowledge and benefits of this lifestyle with our guests.

Our attempts to make our cottage get-away sustainable started gradually and we continue to adopt behaviors that reduce our carbon footprint. We are fortunate to live in scenic Columbia County, with a rich agricultural heritage at a time when interest in agritourism is rising. People are looking for simpler and more meaningful vacation experiences and earth-friendly accommodations. Even the economy of the city of Hudson, an antique destination, is largely based on recycling.

Living this “simple life” is not so simple, and sustainability takes sustained effort and will, but the benefits are great. Living “Eco”-nomically takes on new meaning: less consumption and more conscious contentment with what you have grows into clarity and self-control. The value of an hour’s work relative to the value of a dollar brings about respect for others – people, animals and the environment – and in turn, builds peace and love.

Minimizing our Impact

Water: We minimize water use in laundry and dishwashing with very efficient appliances, including the laundry washing machines available to our guest inside the cottages.  Rain barrels collect water for the gardens. Our driveway and parking area absorb excess water through a recycled polyethylene grid that decreases runoff and returns water back into the ecosystem. It also keeps the yard cool and green in the summer.

Electricity: Three solar panels supply 66% of our electricity. Our appliances are Energy Star-approved, and we use a root cellar to store much of our harvested and bulk foods. We use CFL light bulbs and turn them off when not in use. We use a clothesline instead of a clothes dryer.

Cleaning products: We use vinegar, baking soda and other non-chemical cleaners to clean the house, dishes and laundry. We use washable, reusable rags for cleaning.  Chemical-free cleaning helps eliminate built-up soap residue in our linens, environmental pollutants, and reduces petrochemical consumption. Fresh air is a key part of keeping things clean at Thyme in the Country. We open windows when we clean, to air out the house. We hang out the area rugs every week and vacuum with a HEPA-filtered vacuum. Curtains are washed seasonally, and floors are wiped by hand weekly. In this way, we reduce allergens, keep the indoor environment fresh and healthy and make Thyme in the Country the ideal get-away for anyone sensitive to the chemicals and fragrances in typical cleaning products.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Restore

We use recycled building products as much as possible. For example, the cabinets in our guest pantry were built of reclaimed lumber from an old silo.  When we traded a large closet for a new bathroom, we used as many recycled and reclaimed materials as possible. Shower walls and countertops are cut from an old schoolhouse chalkboard from nearby Greene County. All electrical fixtures, the sink, mirror, and window are reclaimed, and the shower pan is lined with recycled zinc. The lumber was milled from our property. The flooring is a linoleum-like material made from jute, wood pulp and linseed oil. Although our toilet is new, it is a dual-flush, water-saving toilet.

We try to keep the amount of garbage coming into our house to a minimum by growing and processing most of our food from our organic gardens or buying from local farmers. We compost all food scraps.  To make it easier for our guests to recycle, we have set up easy-to-use garbage separators in accessible locations.  We line our trash baskets with recycled tissue paper and eliminate disposable plastics wherever possible.

Our pool water is filtered through a washable paper filter and a salt-system chlorinator. We do not pour any liquid chlorine into the pool once it has been opened and cleaned in the spring.

Our toilet paper and tissues are made from 100% recycled paper.

How Our Gardens Fit into this Picture

Our five-acre property contributes in many ways toward providing a sustainable experience for our guests. We maintain an organic vegetable garden that overlooks our outdoor leisure areas. Guests are welcome to harvest organic produce from our garden to include in their meals.  Many diverse flower gardens surround our bed and breakfast containing native plants and attracting a diverse bird and insect community. We provide seating and hammocks so guests can relax and observe this natural habitat. Guests regularly wander in the vegetable garden observing the stages of growth.